Breastfeeding: A Personal Choice in Adoption

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As an adoptive parent, did you know that this was even a option for you? How do you feel about the ability to nurture and nourish your child in an intimate way that allows for  continued bonding and attachment? Learning about this option, the joys and the challenges, can educate you as to whether this choice is one for you and your child.

Lets talk about facts.

– Is breastfeeding an adopted child even possible? Yes it is. Each year over one third of adopted infants are breastfed.

– What if I have never given birth before? Yes, you can still breastfeed your child.

– How is lactation induced? Various methods can be used to produce breast milk. These include massage, suckling manually or with a pump and utilization of medication, either holistic or prescribed.

– How long does it take for lactation to begin? It can take from one to seven weeks to produce milk , the peak being around 10 to 12 weeks.

– How much milk can I produce? Usually after 10 to 12 weeks of nursing, women were producing 50 to 75% of the milk needed for healthy nourishment of their babies.

– What equipment will I need? A good reputable pump, like Medela, and if required a Lact-aid, which is a bag that straps onto the mom with a small tube that allows her to supplement her breast milk when she is breastfeeding.

– What are the physical effects of breastfeeding? Some mothers experience an increase in appetite and a small weight gain which can be fluid built up by the release of oxytocin.Menses can also be interrupted, becoming irregular and very light.

– What are the benefits to my breastfeeding my adopted child? Many of the same positive results in any breast fed child: better nutrition, boosted immunization, increased bonding and attachment, and increased self worth/esteem for the adoptive mom.

– What support is there for us in this decision? Many online supports exist as well as local community groups. Le leche is a national breastfeeding advocacy and resource group that began in 1958.Talk to your personal physician as well as your child’s pediatrician to make connections. In making this decision, you will become your strongest ally and create your OWN support system.

The topic of breast feeding your adopted child evokes many emotions for all members of the triad.Talk to your birthmother about how she feels about your decision. Explain to her all of the benefits of breastfeeding and help her understand why you are choosing this option.There are situations where the birth mom has continued to pump for supplemental nutrition through a Lact-Aid in support of the adoptive mother. In building your relationship with the birth mother this can be an option that can empower her to heal in her loss. You know best your adoption triad and situation.

Last, do not be afraid. There is no right or wrong in your decision as long as you put the needs of your child first. Educating yourself to the possibility is just a beginning.
Inducing Lactation

This website assists with ways to induce lactation as well as other options available. Keep in mind there is more to breastfeeding then just breastmilk. Some mothers chose not to go the induced lactation route but just to feed their baby with a Supplemental Nursing System formula at the breast in order to have the bonding experience of feeding their baby at the breast.

Four Friends 

This site provides a supportive community where members  share their experiences/insights. People ARE seeing patterns emerging. This is facilitating  successful adoptive nursing experiences.This is a nice site for perspective adoptive mothers to visit.

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