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An Adoptive Mother’s Decision To Breastfeed

baby photoLast October my family welcomed a very special addition to our family. After years of waiting, my sister and husband were finally able to adopt a beautiful baby son named Lucas – (yes, they also face infertility but our causes are unrelated). I was able to meet him when he was only a few weeks old and when it came time to feed him, I was surprised when my sister took him into the other room to breastfeed him. Yes, she who had not physically born this child was able to breastfeed! It is actually possible. I was so fascinated by this discovery and thought some of you would be interested too. I asked how she came to the decision, just how she was able to produce milk and if she believed it  was worth it and I’m sharing her story with you today.

I have always felt strongly about breastfeeding, I even wrote a paper about it in college before I was even married that helped me learn the benefits to both mothers and their children. I really wanted to nurse my children. When we found out that we would need to adopt, I shortly after learned that I could still breastfeed. When we found out about little Lucas coming in just three months, I did more research! I read books and looked up things online. I talked to my gynocologist and since she didn’t know too much about it (shows how little is known about it) we researched it together. As we read through things she gave me her professional opinion which gave me the reassurance that it would work out.

I started taking some Domperidone (or motillium), which is a medicine that helps you lactate, which I ordered from an international pharmacy.  I took 20mg, four times a day.  I also took fenugreek and blessed thistle which are herbs that are supposed to help with milk supply. I then bought a good pump and started pumping about two months before Lucas was born.  I pumped before work and every three hours or so after I got home for a total of about four times a day, with more on the weekends. This really changed my breasts (made them bigger) and got my nipples “toughened up.” After taking the medicine and pumping for a couple weeks, I saw some definite progress.  It started out with a little secretion at first and then developed into a few drops of milk and then into much more.  Right before Lucas was born I was pumping around one ounce per pumping session.

After we took Lucas home from the hospital I had my first experience nursing him.  It was a miracle. My husband definitely teared up. Lucas just latched on so perfectly and was a pro at it (I realize how lucky that makes us). I probably fumbled my way through it, but it was so perfect in every way. I continued taking the medicine and he was eating every 3 hours so there was no need to pump. I also used a nursing supplementer called the medela supplemental nursing system.  It is an external feeding device that has a tube that I tape to my nipple and that way he gets all he needs from my breast milk with the addition of formula.

My milk supply increased significantly in the months after he was born. I always needed to supplement, but my goal in breastfeeding was to be able to bond with my son, it wasn’t for him to only get breast milk. After he started sleeping through the night, I didn’t need to supplement him in the morning because I definitely had enough milk.

I still love breastfeeding him and I’m so happy that I made that decision. I don’t know when I will wean him, but we have a great nursing relationship right now and I am not sure when or how that will change as he continues to grow. My husband has always been supportive of it and so that helps. It really helped my bond with Lucas. I full heartily think that it is all worth it. It hasn’t always been easy and there was a time when I thought that he didn’t want it or when I didn’t know if he was getting enough, but it has been overall one of the best decisions I’ve made.

Thank you to my dear sister for sharing her experience today.

photo of baby Lucas

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