Caution: Not for the faint of heart. Or men. Or DEA Officers.


I’ve been in a state of utter nursing panic.

…a panic which I absolutely promised myself that I would not allow myself to experience this time around.

I’d been doing so well… even when, at three months in, I knew I wasn’t making enough milk and started supplementing formula into Noah’s diet while I tried to increase my supply.

I was still fine when I realized that, just like last time, my milk supply was going to stand it’s ground and absolutely refuse to rise above it’s (ridiculously lazy) level, even though Noah was growing and needed more nourishment.

But then last week happened.

For no reason at all, my milk supply very suddenly cut in half. And, since it was already woefully sub-par, that meant it dropped to almost non-existent.

And I completely panicked.

I had coached myself all the way through pregnancy to be okay when nursing came to an end, but a this-is-my-last-child-and-nursing-is-a-special-bond brain cell snapped inside of me.

I began inhaling my Fenugreek Tablets and Mother’s Milk Tea at a rate that decimated Amazon’s inventory and made them wonder if I’d figured out a way to make Crystal Meth from lactation supplements, started pumping obsessively (even trying out The Dreaded Cluster Pumping technique, which is every bit as horrible as it sounds), and began to research every milk increasing substance, i.e. galactagogue*, known to woman.

*By the way, isn’t galactagogue an awesome word? “The Evil Emperor Galactagogue of the planet Thor has sucked all of the Milk out of the human race…”

Ahem. Anyway.

In all of my galactagogue research, one kept showing up everywhere more than the rest: a prescription, Domperidone.

It’s supposed to work better than the Reglan that I took with Ali, but thankfully without the side effect of depression.

The only problem… due to what looks like some political (i.e. bribery) issues, it’s not approved by the FDA to increase lactation – only to treat gastrointestinal problems.

So I called a lactation center to see if there were any other alternatives. She mentioned everything I’d already tried…and so I brought it up.

“What about Domperidone?”

“Well, I’m not allowed to mention it to you…but since you brought it up, it’s definitely the best thing out there.”

“But I can’t get it?”

“I hear there are some out-of-country pharmacies that you can mail-order it from… I would definitely check into that if I were you.”

Setting off into a mission that certainly felt like I was covertly ordering painkillers or knock-off Viagra, I started my research.

I found a breastfeeding site with a list of international pharmacies that would mail Domperidone to the states (which, by the way, IS legal if done correctly), but was a bit scared off when I read phrases like…

“call 866-xxx-xxxx and ask for Oscar or Gabriel”


“Fax orders, writing in block letters, for best results.”

“Best” results? I’d really prefer completely accurate results.

So I emailed a blog reader (whose identity I will keep confidential due to the classified level of this operation) that I knew had used Domperidone and asked her where the best source was.

New Zealand.

“It takes three weeks to arrive, but they come in blister packs of the manufacturer’s packaging, as opposed to another popular pharmacy in Thailand that sends loose pills in an unmarked baggie.”

Um, yeah. I’m pretty sure I don’t want a sandwich bag of Thailandic Loose Pills.

I got on the New Zealand website, did my research, and everything looked quite legit, within the context that I was considering ordering pharmaceuticals from the other side of the WORLD, of course. They were obviously being very careful to only sell their pills to countries who allowed it, and the US was one of them.

I was about to click through my transaction, when the nagging feeling of “Is this something I should ask my husband about before I do it?” came up for about the tenth time that day. And I figured, if I have to ask myself that question, then the answer is probably a yes.

So I called Chris (who was already painfully aware of my panicked lactational state), and in a ridiculous rush of justification, explained.

“So there’s this drug called Domperidone and it’s the best thing for lactation and even the lactation nurse said it was great but I can’t get it in the states but there’s this place in New Zealand that someone recommended to me and it’s legal and all the Mommies are doing it and I think it might really help… is it okay?”

And Chris said –


Oops. Sorry.

…but I promise, I have not, and will not ever, be calling Oscar or Gabriel.


An update on this issue can be found here.

30 thoughts on “Covert Lactational Medication Operations.

  1. I struggled with all 3 of mine and this happened at about 5 months with #3. The cluster pumping…oh, that makes me want to cry away my evenings just thinking about it (mooOoo). I’m intrigued about this alternate drug. I tried the reglan with zero results, but the mother’s milk tea and fenugreek did seem to help, but never to the level needed. I also like that you are willing to go all secret agent for your baby. :)

  2. Oh dear. This is sketchy indeed. There has got to be a better way. Please do not load your and your baby’s body up with what may or may not be pills to deworm your dog. If it’s for gastro stuff, are there tummy side effects? Oh dear, my natural granola mom side is overtaking me, I better go.

  3. That’s interesting. Usually we Canadians are the ones who can’t get out hands on American drugs… I had my son at 28 weeks and my lactation consultant immediately prescribed Domperidone when I met with her. Though even with it I never did make enough to feed my son. When he surpassed my supply, I pumped 6 times a day, enough for 2 bottles and supplemented formula. Until he was 9 months old. I still have nightmares about the pump (and yes, mine sang to me also)

  4. I have no opinion about the drug.
    I do however understand the angst that nursing can be.

    Why can’t we just make abundant fatty milk for our babies?!
    Doesn’t everyone say we’ll make what they need, when they need it?
    Apparently not true. Grrrr.

    Let me encourage you though to stick with that original resolve. The heartache we can let ourselves sink into is just not worth it. It makes everyone around us (and ourselves) miserable. You know any breastfeeding that sweet little boy has gotten is wonderful!

    1. So true. Our bodies are supposed to work, and I know mine’s not the only one that doesn’t, but every time I explain that mine doesn’t to a lactation consultant, she acts like I’m the first person on the planet that’s ever had that problem. It’s so puzzling.

  5. I am so, so sorry to hear about your problems nursing. I don’t know what I’d do in your shoes but I guess I’d have more options not requiring New Zealand! Especially because we have a compounding pharmacy down the street – could that be a local possibility for you?

    Have you read the Breastfeeding in the Land of Ghengis Khan article that was floating around a couple years ago? ( It’s about extended breastfeeding BUT the images from the article that stayed with me the longest are the grandmothers waving their breasts at the toddler and the mom who breastfed her kid for comfort despite having no more milk. I’ve since heard about a few of my friends who still offer the breast for comfort though they weaned early – in their case for convenience / that’s because that’s what’s normal around here.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that maybe it would help to think of breastfeeding in two parts – 1) the nutrition part and 2) everything else. You don’t have to stop breastfeeding Noah even if you are primarily bottlefeeding him, unless you want to. Even if you don’t have any milk. We only think that’s weird for cultural reasons ;)

    Another idea I had that maybe you already tried: I used a lactation device (basically tube taped to nipple, connected to bottle) with Elizabeth when she was very little and found it worked well. You don’t have the low hassle advantages of breastfeeding but that sort of hybrid option allows baby to keep stimulating some milk production which I’m told can be helpful.

    Also, if your milk dries up and that’s the end of breastfeeding for you for whatever reason, that does not suddenly make you a bad mom or a failure or defective or whatever you might be thinking. It’s clear that actually you’ve gone above and beyond trying to reach what might be an impossible target. Don’t beat yourself up. You are a great mom! So you aren’t lactating to the levels your youngest client would like. That’s why we have modern technology (formula)! (I do think that breastmilk from cows is creepy though)

  6. Arg – weaning early is normal around here. Breastfeeding with no milk is something that I had no idea anyone did until after I became one of those weird extended breastfeeding moms who feels she has to constantly explain away this abnormal behaviour, at which point other moms ‘fessed up that they breastfed post-weaning.

    Sorry for lack of coherence – I’m drowning in work atm and it’s making me a little rambly.

  7. Sorry to hear about the nursing struggles. I tried nursing Rachel, but I don’t have enough milk, so I feed her formula and pump what I can and give that to her. My supply is dwindling, but I consider it to be like medicine and know that she does receive some benefit from what I can give her. It’s tough though because the questions I get from the pediatrician make me feel like a horrible mother for giving her formula. They kept telling me that my body would produce what she needs and that she wouldn’t be hungry as long as I nursed her. I finally said, “All I know is that I had a fussy, hungry baby, and she was much happier when she was given formula.”

    1. I’m so sorry!! Pediatricians should affirm you lift you up, not make you feel horrible!! Maybe you should find a new Pediatrician? Yikes!
      And believe me, I tried everything known to man with Ali, and my milk supply NEVER went above an ounce an hour. My body refused to make “what she needed”. You’re not alone.

  8. Aw, you poor thing. The low milk supply thing has gotta suck big time. Good luck on getting it resolved whichever way seems to be the best (mostly legal) option for you!

    Formula, foreign country mail order lactation supplements, it’s all good as long as the baby gets fed ;-)

  9. Just wanted to say that I’m from New Zealand and that I’d have no concerns when buying from pharmacies here. Have you heard the statistic that NZ is the least corrupt country in the world? :-)
    I know of people here who’ve been prescribed Domperidone for lactational purposes. I hadn’t even heard it was supposed to be for anything else!

  10. I completely understand your frustration! I have three children and have had supply issues every time. Have you considered a Lact-aid System? It’s an at-the-breast nursing supplementer. I finally tried it with my third baby (now a year old) and it seemed to help a lot in the beginning when she was fussy and hungry but substituting bottles made my supply plummet. They are kind of a pain to clean and keep up with, but you don’t have to worry about questionable pharmaceuticals, or the DEA knocking on your door, lol! You can find them at Good luck!

  11. I stopped producing enough when Isaiah was 9 months (I pumped exclusively up until that point), but when the lactation consultant told me about domperidone, I freaked. I caved and did formula…convenient since I got pregnant with Evie a few weeks later! Good for you for pursuing it!
    Despite your frustration, I can’t stop laughing at this post. I keep picturing the Evil Emperor Galactagogue’s Meth Lab.

  12. My OB wrote me a prescription. I had to take it to a compounding pharmacy, and it was super-expensive, but very legit.

  13. I’m so sorry you are having this trouble! Nursing is such a stressful thing…even if you do produce enough milk. 90% of my frustrations with each of my babies were over nursing.

    We are going through yet another stressful nursing phase right now…weaning. Not so fun. It’s amazing how much emotion is tied into nursing. I wasn’t ready to quit, but T is really ready for me to, and now that I am starting to wean S is going through this really grumpy irritable phrase. Coincidence? I think not. She doesn’t want to take the time to nurse but she gets mad if we don’t. Ugh. Emotional rollar coaster.

    Sometimes I want to just be done with it, but then my emotional mommy/baby bonding stuff kicks in. Stressful. But definitely not as stressful as trying to decide whether or not to order drugs from another country. Haha:) Good luck with whatever you decide!

  14. I’m so sorry you’re having problems! I was always worried about my supply too. I was trying to pump “extra” milk after each feeding session and would get 1 oz if I was lucky. I had friends that would nurse, then pump and get 7 oz. I was so jealous.

    I got so frustrated because everything was “Breast is Best” and “Nursing is Natural.” But we do have options, and you are still a great mom to both your children, no matter how you feed them!

  15. I’m hoping as your s-i-l I can gain Level 3 security clearance, b/c my body seems to do that same thing at around 4 months. With Eli, I thought it was because I was too scheduled, so I went to more of a demand feeding model with Tessa. Yep, the same thing happened. If you indeed try the drug, I’ll be really curious to know if it worked. Fenugreek and all the other herbal supplements never made any difference for me.

  16. For some reason my body does react like every other persons body and all of the increase-milk-production-drugs have the opposite effect on me. I was so disappointed when I tried to use fenugreek, etc. to increase my supply and it only cut it in half…???? The frustration. I think my body is saying it’s done :(

  17. I hope that everything you’ve been doing since this post is helping to increase your supply!
    I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but I have the exact opposite problem, my freezer is almost totally full of “liquid gold” and when it does reach it’s capacity I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to pour it out, and I’m certainly not going to spend money on a deep freezer…hoping Levi suddenly has a surge in his appetite ;)

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