Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Adoptive breastfeeding

This is a topic I have been wanting to write about, and one which Im not shy about.. BREASTFEEDING!! 

Its such an important subject, yet so many people take it so very lightly. I hate it when people act like its no big deal if you dont/cant breast feed or the insinuation that formula is just as good as breast milk...BS!!! Formula is not and never will be as good as breast milk. Period. You cannot replicate nature. I realize it is an adequate substitute, but it is not the same, and definitely not as good for the baby. Why do you think so many babies have digestive problems? Its usually the formula. Its hard on their system. Im not coming down on the women who can't or choose not to breast feed, I feel like if they were better informed, they might not be in that place. Its up to Dr's and nurses to advocate this information since that's who, sadly, the majority of people listen and take advice from.... Anyway, thats my opinion on that.

 Im actually here to talk about my experience with adoptive breastfeeding. Yes, a woman can actually breast feed an adopted child. Its done everyday, all around the world. Unfortunately, not enough women even know about it, so it doesn't get attempted or looked into. Maybe Ill someday change that. I want more women to know the options. 

It goes like this.....when we got on the adoption list in March of 2010, I went to my sister- in- law who had just had a baby at home, and she invited me to the local LLL(breast feeding group) meeting. It was there that I talked with a few women about adoptive breastfeeding, and the want to also give my baby donated breast milk as a supplement, if I wasnt able to produce enough. My husband and I were pretty determined to find a way to not have to give our baby formula. They were all so supportive, and it was really nice to see there were other women who thought just like I did. I was excited and ready to take on this task.

 The next step was to see my OB. He wasnt very knowledgeable on the subject of adoptive breastfeeding, but I had already brought in information which consisted of a protocol advised by Lenore Goldfarb, PH.d, IBCLC, and Dr Jack Newman, a renowned breastfeeding expert. Their website,,  was introduced to me by one of the leaders at LLL. So, in March, I started on the birth control pill, which is supposed to mimick pregnancy. That went well with little to no side effects. When we got the call in July that there was a match with a birthmom in NY, I immediately stopped the birth control pill, and started my Domperidone and my herbs, as instructed in the protocol. I also started pumping. This was all to "trick" my body into thinking I gave birth and that I had a hungry baby wanting to be fed! 

At first, I didnt get anything out. Not even a drop. I was a little stressed, but all along I told myself not to have any expectations. After a few days of pumping, I started getting drops..then we got the call that the baby was going to be born!..We jumped on a plane to NYC, ready to meet our baby. Since I didnt have much time to pump (protocol calls for 1 month to build up milk supply), we took a cooler full of donated breast milk with us. Trying to educate ourselves on how to pack it, and finding a place to stay with a full size freezer is a whole other story in itself. Somehow, someway, everything totally fell into place.

I continued pumping every 3 hours, taking my domperidone, and herbs. We were unsure of how the hospital was going to go, we assumed the baby would get formula for a few days, and then hopefully be able to switch over to breastmilk. Well, Hallie's birthmom graciously decided to breastfeed her for the first 3 days of life, so it made the transition very smooth. She knew exactly what to do when I nursed her for the first time. (in the bathroom of the hospital lobby, while waiting on our car to arrive:) 

I quickly realized once we got her back to our rented NYC apt and settled, that she was not satisfied with what she was getting. So, we pulled out the good ol' SNS. Supplemental Nursing System. Its a device where you put the breast milk in a container, then you attach these 2 small tubes to the breast with a piece of soft tape, and the baby sucks. That way they are still nursing at the breast, but getting more than what the breast can provide. 

It worked great! Joe was such a good helper. He would get it set up every single time, warm the milk, and just do whatever he could...I would nurse Hallie Rose (we joked it was her appetizer), while he got the SNS all set up. We worked as a team. Hallie was doing great and so was I. Jalen was definitely exposed to alot of things(boobs) he had never seen or known about. He did great and has learned alot though.

 We continied with the SNS for each feeding, as I continued pumping milk. I was getting more and more everytime. After a few weeks, we introduced the bottle. We just couldnt go hardly anywhere if we didnt have something more convenient than the SNS. Hallie really took to the bottle, and at around 2 1/2 months of age, she would not nurse anymore:( She would scream if I even tried. She refused even with the SNS. So I let her lead the way, and we now give her breast milk throught the bottle. It is both donated and my own. I pump twice a day and get about 8 oz each time. Im still taking my domperidone and my herbs.  It feels really good to know I am giving my child a gift that she will benefit from for the rest of her life. 

I will continue to pump, and give her donated breast milk. We will probably continue the breast milk past 1 year, considering we have no intentions on giving her cow's milk. With all the antibiotics and hormones pumped into our cow's these days, I would feel horrible feeding that to her. I realize I can buy organic cow's milk, that is free of antibiotics and hormones, but it still doesnt change the fact that she is a human, not a baby cow.  So, I will do what logic and my heart tells me, and give her human milk for as long as we feel necessary. 



  1. This is so cool! Adoptive breastfeeding is a wonderful thing and how amazing that you were/are able to do it! =)

  2. Beautiful Post <3
    I have 3 girls (2 birth) and am a huge BFing advocate. I love the idea that I could breastfeed an adopted child as well!
    Also wanted to say hello, it is my first visit to your blog :)

  3. I love this! Those photos are just so awesome and beautiful. Much love to you and your family.

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  5. Hi. Sweet story. I'd like to put a link to this post on my blog post about adoption feeding options. Let me know if this is okay with you. Thanks.

  6. WTG momma! I also bf my sons through adoption. It's nice to "meet" another momma who's done the same :)

  7. Laura, sorry for the delayed response..that would be fine if you wanted to put a link to this post on your blog!! And Becky, thanks! Im very proud of what I have done, and so thankful that I acquired the knowledge to do so!!

  8. No worries, I'll add the link soon. Love!

  9. Wow! 8 oz. per pump! That is amazingly good output! WTG, mama! Kudos to you for doing the hard work of adoptive breastfeeding. That takes real dedication.

  10. This is so cool. My first time here as well, happy to find your blog. Amazing output, that is awesome you are able to produce so much.
    Pretty tattoos--we are a tattoo family as well, but hubby is the real enthusiast going for full coverage. :)

  11. Kick butt!! Fantastic job mama!!

  12. I admire you! what you are doing is wonderful!