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How To Breastfeed An Adopted Child

By Edited Aug 24, 2016 2 1

Bonding Breastfeeding
Credit: www.babble.com

Bonding Through Breastfeeding

A very integral part of forming a bond between a mother and her baby is breastfeeding.  Designed by Mother Nature to not only offer the best available physical nourishment, but to create an extraordinary bond through maternal and infant interaction.

 To gain the strongest bond utilizing breastfeeding, babies should be breastfed without a schedule or any other types of restrictions.  This ensures that you and your baby will have close physical contact somewhere between 8 and 20 times per day depending on how your little one prefers to eat.

 Mothers who choose to breastfeed instead of bottle feed spend far more time with their babies on average.  In the first couple of weeks of an infant’s life, women who breastfeed hold their babies more often even than mothers who bottle feed when they aren’t nursing.  Babies who are breastfed are rocked more, spoken to more and are more likely to co-sleep with their mothers.  Please note, I am not condoning co-sleeping as several risks are posed to infants who share a bed with their parents, including SIDS.

 When a mom breastfeeds the time and close intimate contact she has with her infant creates a mother child relationship that allows a mother to read her baby’s emotions and needs very quickly as well as trusting her own motherly intuition.

Adoptive Breastfeeding Quilt
Credit: http://globalbreastfeedingquilt.net/


One thing that adoption and breastfeeding has in common is there are many myths that surround both.  The unfortunate result is the women who parent through adoption due to infertility are mislead to believe they cannot breastfeed.  And so, not only must women who cannot have biological children place the dream of pregnancy and delivery behind them, they believe they will never be able to experience the special and unique bonding between a mother and her child that breastfeeding offers.


Even if you have never had a pregnancy and adopting a baby, it is quite possible for you to breastfeed.


If an adoptive mother would like to breastfeed and experience the same bonding a biological mother and child share, even if her child is not a newborn, she can.  The only tools needed are knowing how and preparation.

Hormone Therapy
Credit: http://goodbyehairloss.blogspot.com/

How An Adoptive Mother Can Breastfeed Her Adopted Baby

Prolactin and Oxytocin are the two hormones that are responsible for lactation.  Prolactin makes milk and oxytocin releases the milk.  These hormones are in no way dependant upon a female’s ability to have natural children and therefore even a woman who has had a complete hysterectomy can nurse a child.

 During pregnancy, Mother Nature takes over and the milk is ready and waiting by the time her child is ready to be born.  In some instances, an adoptive mother will able to nurse easily by simply allowing her newborn or infant to suckle.  Many times, nature simply takes over and breastfeeding is quite easy and simple.

 Some women; however, choose to use the method of inducing lactation by nipple stimulation, breast massage and sucking.  Sucking can be done by either the baby or by an electric breast pump.  If using a breast pump, always chose a breast pump that is of hospital grade.

 Domperidone and herbal medications are used to induce lactation and increase a woman’s milk supply through hormone therapy.  

Hormone Therapy(44399)
Credit: www.swide.com

Can Adoptive Mothers Produce Enough Breast milk To Feed Her Baby?

All women who want to breastfeed their babies; both biological and adoptive mothers, worry that they won’t be able to produce enough breast milk to feed their child. 

 Many mothers, again, both adoptive and biological, are unable to produce enough breast milk to satisfy their babies hunger.  However, the most beneficial aspect of breastfeeding is the skin-to-skin intimacy that gives comfort, warmth and a bonding experience to both mother and child.

 When a mother is unable to produce an adequate supply of nourishment for her baby, it is almost certain that she can still breastfeed by using a lactation aid.  A Lactation aid is a device used to deliver a supplement that is delivered through a thin tube that runs down the breast and to the nipple.  The baby can then nurse normally and get the wonderful benefits of intimacy and plentiful nourishment.  The two most well-known commercial lactation aids are Lact-Aid and Medela SNS.

 Adoptive mothers may or may not have a need for a lactation aid.  Some mothers chose to use one from time to time while nursing.  Other mothers use them from day one and throughout the duration of nursing.

Credit: www.medscape.com

Tips For Successfully Breastfeeding Your Adopted Baby

  • If you are able to be there for your child’s birth, speak to the hospital’s lactation specialist prior to birth.  Let them know you intend to breastfeed.  They will be happy to help you prepare.
  • Make sure anyone caring for your child understands you do not want your baby fed by bottle.  While bottle feeding may not affect how a baby takes to breastfeeding, the use of artificial nipples most certainly will. 
  • If you are unable to breastfeed immediately, still allow the baby to latch on.  After all, proper latching on of the nipple will allow your baby to feed properly – getting more milk.
  • If you are unable to breastfeed immediately after birth, use other methods to feed your baby.  The lactation specialist should be able to help with suggestions.  Usually, finger feeding or cup feeding is implemented.
  • If for any reason you are unable to get your baby to latch onto your nipple properly, seek advice from the hospital’s lactation specialist.
  • A Lactation Aid may be required.  If this is the case, arrange for a hospital grade lactation aid.  If possible, have one ready before the baby is born.
  • Consider seeing a lactation specialist one to two months before your child is expected to be born.  Hormone therapy and other preparation can be done to help with milk supply.
  • Remember, you may be able to produce enough milk for your adopted child.  But don’t be discouraged if you can’t.  The most important aspect of breastfeeding is not the milk itself, but the bonding and intimacy between mother and child.


Apr 7, 2011 3:33pm
Very interesting article on nursing an adopted child. Thanks for sharing.
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