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Decided Against Adoptive Breastfeeding - Too Much Change for Baby

Share Your Story: How I Decided to Breastfeed Adopted Baby - Why it Was Right for Me and My Baby

By EllaBee

A bit about myself and my family

I'm an adoptive mom with a 6yr old daughter

Why I decided to try adoptive breastfeeding

I didn't try adoptive breastfeeding for the reason that (1) I didn't know how to non-medically induce lactation at the time I was adopting my daughter, but mostly (2) I learned that inducing lactation does NOT produce colostrum (what is needed to boost immunity for the baby).

The decision making process

Another reason that I thought it might be difficult was not really the stress on myself, but on my child, who was 9 months old when she came home. She had only been fed by bottle all her life. So breastfeeding her would mean that not only was she having to get used to a new environment, new family, but then also a new way of being fed, a different type of milk, etc. I felt that the trip overseas, having to pump all the time only to possibly find she totally rejects the breast (for at least maybe a long time), adding stress to her and myself (because she's not getting enough milk, and it might have really freaked her out) made the idea not such a good one for the time. I do regret not trying harder though, because once babyhood is gone, you can't get that moment back.

Advice

  • Connect with La Leche League and get good advice/support about adoptive breastfeeding. It can be done but takes a lot of effort and thinking through the ramifications
  • The "cons" in the next section are - in my humble opinion - not enough to deter the process if you believe in it. Adoptive fathers, for example, are no different from bio fathers, in that men know they cannot breastfeed, and they have to find other ways of forming special bonds with their babies. Feelings and opinions of others - i.e., the birthmom, the others with their "ick" responses - are in my opinion not as important as your child's needs

Carrie Craft, About.com Adoption/Foster Care, says:

There is a lot to consider here. I think this adoptive mother made some excellent points in her reasons against adoptive breastfeeding, but again note that she wishes she would have given it a try. I wonder if she could have waited a few weeks before attempted to breastfeed?

Regarding the Cons - I get it. Fathers - whether adoptive or biological - have to come up with other ways to connect if mom is breastfeeding, however, adoption is more of a couple journey. Some men may really want to be a part of feeding their new child.

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