Thinking of breastfeeding an adopted baby? YES, YOU CAN BREASTFEED!
Breastfeeding adopted children usually starts something like this: You have or are planning on adopting a baby. The one thing that keeps popping in your head is breastfeeding. Wanting to be the best mom that you can and do all that you can to help make sure that your new baby is well taken care of, it is only natural for you to want to try to breastfeed.
There is nothing quite like the bonding that happens between mom and a baby during breastfeeding. It is just a whole other world. As an adoptive mom, you may want to have that experience as well.
The best news I can give you is that you can breastfeed an adopted baby, and it is not as hard as you might think.
Adopotive Breastfeeding: What to Keep In Mind
First, you will need to keep in mind that there are differences between breastfeeding a baby that you gave birth to and a baby that your have adopted. There are two big issues that you face as an adoptive mother that wants to breastfeed, one is getting your baby to breastfeed and the other issue is getting your body to produce breast milk.
Second, you also need to realize that there is more to breastfeeding than just producing enough breast milk. Many moms are pleased to be able to breastfeed even without producing enough milk for their babies. Supplemental breastfeeding is not a bad thing. After all, the experience and the bonding are as important to your baby as the milk itself.
Getting Your Adopted Baby to Take Your Breast
Part of the problem that many moms face with breastfeeding an adopted baby is getting the baby to take the breast. If it is possible for you to be there for the birth, try breastfeeding right away. The sooner you are able to get your new baby to your breast the better it will be for the both of you.
Naturally keeping the baby latched on to the breast requires milk flow. Adoptive moms may not have enough flow right away. Suckling from the breast takes work, and if the flow is not what they are accustomed to (due to bottles in the hospital nursery) it can become frustrating for baby and mom.
Just remember to breathe and relax. You can do this! Breastfeeding takes patience. That is true regardless of whether you are adoptive breastfeeding or you are the birth mom!
Enlist some help!
So what do you do to save your sanity and calm the frustrations of your sweet baby? Talk to the hospital staff where you are bringing your baby home from. Make an appointment with the lactation specialists. Make sure that the head nurse and the specialist know your intent. If they know, they will do what they can to accommodate you.
You may also also want to try a Lact-aid supplemental nurser. These are helpful to train an adopted baby.
Producing Breast Milk for an Adopted Baby
The second issue when breastfeeding an adopted baby is producing the breast milk. If you really want to breastfeed your adoptive baby, as soon as it looks like you will be able to adopt–you need to get in contact with a good breastfeeding clinic so that you can start getting your milk ready. Although it is possible that you will never produce a full supply of milk, do not let this discourage your from breastfeeding. Adoptive breastfeeding is about the experience and the bonding…the milk is the added bonus.
In order to help with the production of the breast milk, you may need to go on a medication, hormone and herb regimen to help get the production going. Talk to a doctor who specializes in these issues. They will be happy to help you.
You will also have to start pumping your breast to get the production going and increased. If you are able to plan a few months in advance, the combination of medication, hormone regimen, and the pumping will simulate pregnancy enough that you will start to produce milk.
There are also good forum discussions on Adoption.com for those expecting to adopt soon.
Give Breastfeeding an Adopted Baby a Try
Adoption is a wonderful experience. Breastfeeding is a wonderful experience. Now you can have both. For more resources on breastfeeding an adopted child, a site called Ask Lenore is very helpful. It is written in part by a mother who breastfed an adopted baby.