~ Inducing lactation
We are in the process of adopting and I want to nurse. I read
so many conflicting opinions on relactating. Most literature says
I will not get enough milk. Is re lactating possible to get a full supply
of milk in and what should I be doing?
It is possible to breastfeed an adopted baby, much to many people's
surprise. Inducing lactation, which is the process involved in
nursing an adopted baby, is more challenging than relactating.
Relactating involves rebuilding your milk supply once you have
started nursing and then stopped for a period of weeks or months.
Induced lactation is the process of building a milk supply in
a mother who has either never nursed a baby, or who has nursed
You will find
that there is a lot of contradictory information out there about
inducing lactation. I think that's because there are no exact
answers about a 'right' or 'wrong' way to do it. Relatively few
mothers have tried adoptive nursing (many people are surprised
to know it's even possible) although the numbers are increasing
as the many nutritional and emotional benefits of breastfeeding
become more well known. What works for one adoptive mother may
not work for another, so a lot of the research has been on a trial
and error basis. As far as I know, there are no exact statistics
on how many adoptive mothers are able to produce a full milk supply,
but based on my own experiences over the years, the numbers are
It is important
to have realistic expectations. An adoptive mother may or may
not ever produce a full milk supply. Most women will produce some
milk, some produce a full supply relatively quickly, and some
never produce milk at all. The majority of adoptive mothers will
not produce enough breastmilk to adequately nourish their baby
without supplements. How much you produce depends on many factors,
such as the baby (his age, sucking needs, previous feeding experience,
and temperament; how frequently and effectively you stimulate
your breasts (type of pump used, baby's willingness to suckle,
how often you are able to find time to pump/nurse, etc.); your
individual response to stimulation, since each mother's body chemistry
is unique; and how long you have been nursing or pumping (some
mother's supplies build slowly, then level off; some keep increasing
for many months or years).
involves so much more than just transferring milk from breast
to baby, many adoptive mothers find that the act of nursing, with
the physical and emotional closeness it brings, is just as important
as the amount of milk the baby actually receives. Even if you
produce only small amounts of breastmilk, your baby will get significant
benefits from both the milk itself and the security and warmth
of nursing at the breast.
There is also
a great website for adoptive nursing moms, and you might find
some answers there, as well as lots of support. The address is:
(ABRW stands for Adoptive Breastfeeding Resource Website).
to you on your new little miracle, and best of luck with breastfeeding.
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