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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Breast feeding the Adopted child
My husband and I are adopting a child of a friend of ours in a few months and we were wanting to know if breastfeeding this child is an option for me. I have two natural children and successfully breastfed both of them.
Often times you are able to breastfeed an adopted infant. However, since your body has not had the nine months of hormonal and breast changes to accompany the pregnancy, you will need to work hard at establishing a milk supply.
It is important that you know your reason for breastfeeding. Are you breastfeeding for the emotional benefits or for the nutritional benefits? If you are breastfeeding for the emotional benefits to you and your baby, focus on these and look at the breast milk the baby receives as a bonus. If providing nutrition is the main goal it may be difficult to fully achieve this goal.
Regardless of your reasons for breastfeeding it requires time and commitment to breastfeeding. Since you are aware of when the baby will arrive you can begin to plan your strategies for starting milk production. You will need to stimulate your breast in order to produce milk. You should begin pumping your breast with an electric pump several times a day, gradually getting the pattern of the infant. It may take weeks or months for milk to come in. You can also discuss with your health care provider what you are doing, because some medications, in combination with frequent nursing or pumping can help to increase your milk supply.
Also, you should consult a Lactation Consultant who has experience in working with adoptive parents who want to breastfeed. Your children`s health care provider may be able to help you find a lactation consultant in your area, and then you interview them regarding their experience with breastfeeding and adopted infant. Good luck with this endeavor.
Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati