When you think about motherhood, you might consider breastfeeding. Everyone has heard that breast is best. Is breastfeeding possible if the baby you have is not biological yours? Can you breastfeed if you have never been pregnant?
The answer to the questions is yes. You can breastfeed your adoptive child, just like you would breastfeed a biological one. Breastfeeding an adoptive baby takes some planning before the baby arrives.
Before breastfeeding your adopted little one…
Before you go down the road of breastfeeding, you need to consider all possibilities. One possibility is that the adoption might fall through. Although disrupted adoptions are rare, they do happen. You could have gone through all the work to start the breastfeeding process, and then not get the baby.
Another thing to consider is the time commitment. Breastfeeding requires a lot of time. You will need to pump around every three hours before the baby arrives. When the baby arrives, you will need to nurse the baby on demand. Do you have the time to commit to breastfeeding?
The last thing to consider is that there is a chance that breastfeeding will not work. You might not produce enough milk for the baby. The baby might have difficulties latching. Bottle feed babies require more work to get the hang of breastfeeding. Even if it does work, there is a good chance you will have to supplement to give the baby all the nutrition that it needs.
There are benefits to breastfeeding your adopted baby!
Breastfeeding provides many health benefits to an infant. Health benefits include a reduced risk of infection, asthma, and obesity for the baby. It can also help reduce the risk of some breast cancers for the mother.
Breastfeeding also helps strengthen the bond between you and your child. Skin to skin contact with the infant helps stabilize sugar levels, temperature, and breathing. When a baby breastfeeds, it reduces their heart and metabolic rate, while also reducing the ability for the baby to feel pain. The social interaction between mother and baby also releases oxycodone, a stress-relieving hormone. The mother also receives this hormone when breastfeeding.
The bonding benefits of breastfeeding can be beneficial for adoptive babies who have not had the time to grow a strong bond. All adoptive babies experience a loss. Even newborn babies recognize their mothers and cry if they lose skin to skin contact. Breastfeeding can help create a new bond between mother and child. For some infants who have never had a primary caregiver, skin to skin contact can help build trust.
The “Newman – Goldfarb Protocol” can help with adopted breastfeeding.
If you have months to prepare, the Newman-Goldfarb or regular protocol is one way to start breastfeeding. To use this method, you need to start six months before the baby is to arrive.
In the first stage, you need to take an active birth control pill. Use a pill that contains an estrogen-progesterone combination. The birth control pill will trick your body into thinking its pregnant. Take domperidone four times a day. Take 10 mg the first week, and 20 mg of domperidone the week after.
Make sure to consult with a doctor before taking any medication. If you are over 35, there is a health risk associated with taking these hormones. A doctor can help you prepare to breastfeed your baby safely.
It is also important to note that domperidone is not FDA approved in the United States. It is still available in many herbal stores and pharmacies. Insurance might not cover domperidone.
You stop taking birth control six weeks before the baby comes home. Over the next two weeks, start pumping on a low or medium setting following the pump instructions. You should pump every three hours.
You should continue the domperidone until you receive the desired milk supply, or you have decided to wean the baby.
When the baby arrives, you should breastfeed it as soon as possible. A baby needs to breastfeed between 10 to 16 times per day.
…so can “The Accelerated Protocol”
The accelerated process is if you have four weeks or less before the baby arrives. You can also start the process if the baby has already arrived.
In the accelerated process, you start off taking the birth control Yasmin or Microgestin. You also need to take 20 mg of domperidone four times a day.
Continue to take the birth control until you notice changes to the breast. Once the breast is full and heavy, you stop taking the birth control and start pumping.
If the baby has already arrived, then you can supplement it until your milk has come in. Many biological mothers will give the mother milk if asked. The mother also has colostrum, which your breastmilk will not contain. If the mother can not help you supplement your supply, many milk banks offer breastmilk. Formula feeding the baby is also an option. Breastfeed on demand, once your milk has come in.
Supplement your breast milk if you didn’t carry the baby.
Even if you do everything right, there is a good chance you will not make enough milk for your baby’s needs. The best way to supplement is to use a supplemental nursing system. The device includes tubes that tape to your chest. The baby can nurse and get your milk along with the supplemented formula or breast milk.
Even if you are not producing milk, you can use this system to build a bond with your infant. Infants also like to comfort suckle. Comfort suckling is what infants do when they use pacifiers. When infants are comfort suckling, they will not get mad if they do not get any milk. Comfort suckling can help produce a bond even if you have to formula feed them.
An adoptive mother can breastfeed her children. It just takes some time and preparation before the baby arrives. If breastfeeding does not work out for you, remember the most important thing is giving the baby proper nutrition. Breast or bottle, there are still ways to make the infant happy and build a good mother-infant bond.