Adoptive Breastfeeding: Some Tips to Know
A guest post by Lorene Foster, the babywearing mompreneur behind Frogmama
We’d like to share a little-known but very interesting piece of information: you might be able to breastfeed your adopted child. We think that’s pretty amazing.
- Here’s Lorene’s story:
I was nursing my biological son when we began our adoption journey. At the start of that journey, I’d thought about how amazing it would be to be able to breastfeed an adopted child for the bonding and overall health benefits. Months later, when my son (and nursling I’d been nursing at the start of this journey) was a little over 2 years old and just starting to wean, we found out we were matched with our daughter, who was due to be born within the month. I started pumping more and taking a variety of supplements in preparation for her arrival. We were very fortunate, not only in the timing of her arrival – in that it coincided with our son’s breastfeeding – but when our daughter was born, we were able to meet her at the hospital right away, as well. I was not allowed to breastfeed her until we were discharged, but as soon as we were at the hotel, I started her on my breast. She latched on without a problem. In order to boost my supply, I used a Lact-Aid nursing supplemental system. It was a huge help.
Now that she is older, I continue to breastfeed her during the day, using a bottle with a couple of supplemental ounces after each nursing session. Then we just breastfeeds all night. I feel like her breastfeeding has really helped with bonding for both of us.
Not only do I breastfeed her, but I also wear her in either my wrap or baby carrier. Babywearing has been very helpful for me in catching her nursing cues by having her close to me for extended periods of time throughout the day. When she was only two weeks old, we had to take a cross-country flight, and she was comfortable and close to me in a carrier the whole time; able to nurse on-demand and sleep when she needed to sleep. It made the journey so much easier for the whole family.
I still need to supplement some, so we use donated breastmilk. If you’re interested in the option of supplemental breastmilk for your own baby, a couple great milk sharing sites that work hard to connect donor milk with needy mothers, fathers and babies are: Eats on Feets and Human Milk for Human Babies. Both have Facebook sites as well. You can find them, in respective order, here and here.
If you’re interested in finding out more about breastfeeding an adopted child, or about relactating, KellyMom and Breastfeeding Basics are two good resources to start.
There is also a Facebook group called Adoptive Breastfeeding that has been a great support for us in the process as well. It’s a closed group, so you have to request to join.
Onya Baby notes: If you’re interested in breastfeeding you adopted child there are two ways you can go about achieving that goal. It can be done either through relactation, which is the process of rebuilding your milk supply once you have started nursing and then stopped for a period of weeks or months, or through induced lactation, which is the process of building a milk supply in a mother who has either never nursed a baby, or who has nursed years before. Both processes require a great deal of patience, dedication and hard work. But it can be done. Have a look at the resources provided above, and just do your best. It’s a beautiful gift to give your adoptive child, and really, any amount is something to be truly proud of, no matter how small or how large.
Frogmama is Lorene Foster, a babywearing, co-sleeping, hard-working, huge-hearted momma who owns and operates the online babywearing store and resource, Frogmama. She has a YouTube channel full of helpful baby carrier reviews and information.
How has adoption touched your life? Have you breastfed your adopted child?
Tell us about it in the comments below!