Adoptive Breastfeeding – Is it for me?
Breastfeeding is a very important aspect of the bonding between new mothers and their infants. Because this process is primarily dependent on pregnancy and the hormones that prepare a woman to breastfeed, adoptive mothers often feel as if they’re missing out on the opportunity to share with and provide something very special for their newborn. What you may not know is that as an adoptive mother you have the option to breastfeed — there are many methods available to help you breastfeed your baby, both naturally or with the assistance of hormones.
If you prefer the natural route, it is possible to induce lactation (whether or not you’ve been pregnant before) by using a breast pump every 2-3 hours before or after your baby arrives. La Leche League International recommends both the Medela Supplemental Nursing System and the Lact-Aid Nurser Training System, which allow you to feed your baby while they are at your breast. These are wonderful options, because the bond created by breastfeeding is about more than the act of producing milk. It is built through the closeness of the mother and child while the child is feeding and the emotional responses generated while the mother actually holds her child during this time.
Kellymom is a wonderful website that discusses adoptive breastfeeding, the different effects induced lactation can have on a woman, and options to induce lactation outside of medical hormones. Herbs such as Fenugreek, Red Raspberry Leaf, Chasteberry, Fennel and Mother’s Milk Tea all provide different benefits for helping to improve and enhance the breastfeeding experience. Although in some cases there is less medical research for natural enhancers, they are generally regarded as safe and less invasive in terms of the hormonal effects they may have on your body.
Adoption.com has information on hormone therapy to enhance lactation, and the dangers of some of the most commonly used treatments. Although hormones are becoming ever more common to aid women with pregnancy, breastfeeding, mood, reproductive issues, etc., we would never advise the use of a hormone without a consultation with a gynecologist or obstetrician. Feminine hormones have a tendency to affect depression and emotion — it’s important to be aware of yourself, and the way your body functions. Never take medication without medical advice.
If you do choose to breastfeed your child, remember that the most important thing you can exercise is patience, understanding, and love for yourself. Ensure that you are taking into account everyone’s needs in this situation: your baby’s as well as yourself. If you find it difficult to breastfeed, don’t spend precious moments with your newborn trying to affect a process, especially when you can create the same moments of bonding without. Whether or not you choose or are able to breastfeed, keep your heart and mind on enjoying time with your baby! Breastfeeding is not supposed to be a trial. If it is turning into one then it’s not meant to be, and that’s absolutely okay. Enjoy being a new mommy! You have been gifted the experience of a lifetime — your first months bonding with your newborn are some of the most precious times of all.
For more information about adoptive breastfeeding, we recommend visiting the International Breastfeed Centre. They have wonderful resources on adoptive breastfeeding in locations all around the world, including a wealth of videos, books, and doctors you can consult if you’re interested in learning more about this process.
Question: It’s the New Year, and in addition to making resolutions for myself, I’d like to set some goals that my entire family can aspire towards for 2012. Any recommendations?
Answer: What a wonderful question! As our children get older and careers get more intense, it gets increasingly difficult to find time to be with family. We understand the desire to make some resolutions to ensure that your family keeps their priorities straight and maintains family time — even when it seems too busy to manage.
Resolution #1: Family dinners — Too often, families don’t sit down together for dinner. While this may seem small, creating a daily ritual of shared meals does a lot for familial bonding and establishing traditions. It’s not just about eating together, it’s about creating a ritual during which the entire family is together at the same time, sharing their ideas for a meal, cooking together, and discussing the events of the day. This time is invaluable, and no matter how difficult it may seem to gather everyone together, you should continue to make it a priority.
Resolution #2: Mandatory “Power Down” Time — We all know it. Everyone is far too attached to their cell phones, their iPods, their iPads, their computers, their Droids. So much so that there’s an app for everything, and the vitality of human-to-human contact and doing things manually is now a lost art. Bottom line, families cannot survive without communication. As parents, you are responsible for maintaining interpersonal contact as the familial standard. By issuing a mandatory “power down” time of all electronic devices each day, you create an environment that better fosters discussion, honesty and verbal contact. All the right tools for keeping your family in tune with one another, and in touch with that’s going on in each other’s lives.
Resolution #3: Date Night! A happy family is grounded in happy parents, and so often relationships between partners gets lost in the shuffle of scheduling, being too tired to take personal time, being overworked, exhausted and unable to prioritize individual needs. You have to remember that the foundation of a family lies in the parents, and that if you and your spouse don’t have time to dedicate to one another, that loss takes away from what you’re happily and healthily able to provide for your children. To provide for others is to first provide for yourself — and that is the one thing we most often forget. Keep date nights regularly scheduled, and make sure that you have individual time as well. Everyone has needs, and you can’t take care of others unless you’re taking care of yourself.
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About Our Agency
Abby’s One True Gift Adoptions is a full service, licensed adoption agency founded by adoptive parents. After our personal adoption experiences, we wanted to utilize what we had learned by creating an agency that strives to provide the most positive adoption process possible.
Our staff is available to provide maximum support from beginning to end. Having been through the process ourselves, our goal is to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents alike, supporting the individuals involved from all aspects of the adoption process.
Happy birthday to all our January True Gifts!!!
A collection of great readings related to adoption.