How To Breastfeed an Adopted Child

Preparing your body to breastfeed an adopted child can be challenging, but it is possible. Women who have already given birth or have previously breastfed may have an easier time than those who have not, but success can be found in either situation. Breastfeeding an adopted baby can help increase your feelings of attachment as well as supply the optimum nutrition that only breast milk provides.

The two issues you will face in trying to breastfeed an adopted baby are 1) getting your body to produce milk and 2) getting your baby to feed from your breast. Babies who are initially fed by the bottle may have a difficult time accepting milk from the breast. The sooner you are able to try breastfeeding after the baby is born, the better.

As soon as you learn you are able to adopt a baby you should begin preparing your body to breastfeed. Obtain a breast pump, preferably one with a double set up. Pumping both breasts at once will both take less time and result in better milk production. The suckling action that the pump creates will help to stimulate lactation and prepare your breasts for the real thing. Do not be discouraged if you are not able to produce very much milk - babies are always better able to drain a breast than any pump.

The drug Domperidone can help you produce a heavier flow of milk, though every drug comes with side effects. If you are interested, discuss the risks and benefits of taking this drug with your doctor. The herb milk thistle has also been used by nursing mothers to increase milk production.

Babies need a continuous flow of milk to continue feeding, especially if they have already fed from a bottle. The less interference from artificial nipples early on, the better your chances will be. If you will be at the hospital for the birth of your baby, speak to the nursing staff and communicate your desire to breastfeed. If you are not able to try breastfeeding right away they may be able to help by cup or finger feeding your baby.

Another option is to speak to the birth mother and see if she will consider breastfeeding for the first few days. That way the baby will receive the vital colostrum she has produced and avoid artificial feedings. Some social workers advise against this practice as it may result in a birth mother changing her mind about adoption and it is a risk you must consider carefully.

Latching on is a skill that takes time for both mother and baby to master, but it is necessary for promoting better milk production as well as for painless breastfeeding. Visit a lactation consultant for help if you are having trouble.


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