Breastfeeding An Adopted Child–Did You Know That Was An Option?


When I was pregnant with Huck, I looked at breastfeeding with some trepidation. I mean, it’s not like you don’t hear stories about breastfeeding. It’s hard, it’s complicated, it comes with cracked nipples and engorged breasts and leaking all over places and heavy-duty bras of questionable fashion, and you never get to leave the house, not ever, and other women will think you are an idiot and/or a floozy if you do it in public. Breastfeeding! Soo fun! I figured I’d give it nine months and then pat myself on the back for a job well done and then switch to formula or whatever it is you do after you wean.

But once our first harrowing three months of nursing were behind me (those first three months, holy yikes), I fell unexpectedly in love with nursing. Where once my goal was nine months, now I’m hoping for 18. And I have to be honest with you, sometimes, in very, very silly moments, I allow myself to consider the possibility of . . . extended nursing? I mean, I wouldn’t really, but also, I sort of want to? Why isn’t “Wet Nurse” a respectable occupation anymore, anyway? What are the odds I could make a fortune off pumping for the black market, do you think? I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I’m mostly, 90% kidding.

So, you can imagine my excitement a few weeks back when I read a post in the Being Pregnant blog about a woman who was able to establish her own milk supply and breastfeed her adopted daughter thanks to some pills, some fenugreek, and a hospital-grade breast pump. ┬áDid you know that kind of thing was possible? I didn’t know that kind of thing was possible.

And then it opened up ALL SORTS OF QUESTIONS in my poor sleep-deprived brain!

More after the jump.

In the article, the author’s sister was able to establish her own milk supply by taking Domperidone, which induces lactation, plus fenugreek and blessed thistle (commonly used herbs to boost milk supply in lactating mothers), and then pumping like crazy. In time, she had enough supply to breastfeed her adopted infant (with supplementation).

Isn’t that amazing?

So, here are some questions I have:

1. What impact could this information have on breastfeeding mothers who had a tough time establishing supply and decided to use formula and then regretted it? Could they potentially reestablish their milk supply and give it another go, even after the initial lactation window has closed?

2. What could this mean for the profession of nannying? Would you ever hire a “wet nurse” nanny who could take over nighttime feedings? How much extra pay could a lactating nanny demand, do you think? And does that cross the line? How many lines does that cross? Like, a million? None? There are no lines?

3. While we’re on the subject, what are your thoughts on another woman breastfeeding your baby for you when you aren’t able to? Say, when you aren’t around, or if you were too sick? Does it make a difference if the breast milk is delivered via bottle rather than via another woman’s breast?

4. What about the breast milk industry? Do you suppose it could ever become common for a woman to have the option to supplement her own breastfeeding child with another woman’s breast milk bought at, say, a grocery store? How crazy would the FDA requirements for that be? (I know some people do this already (I believe I read that Neil Patrick Harris’s twins are breastfeed using breast milk from a “surrogate”–is that even the right word for it?) so humor me if that is a stupid question.)

5. Do you think some day breast milk will be available as easily and at equal cost to formula for those of us who aren’t able to breastfeed for whatever reason?

I am sure these questions aren’t nearly as interesting to you as they are to me, and possibly the answers already exist and I am just woefully uneducated, but, you know. What do you think?

Read the article: An Adoptive Mother’s Decision To Breastfeed (It’s a good one.)

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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