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Breast feeding your adopted newborn?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi moms, I just posted over in Breastfeeding Challenges, but also want to ask other adoptive mothers. Has anyone succeeded at Breastfeeding your adopted baby? My baby is 17 days old and has been with me since she was 3 hours old. She wont latch on me so I'm pumping and taking herbal supplements, and five days ago I started making some colostrum which was thrilling. I don't know whether my milk will come in or not (I am 35 and have never been pregnant). But it's exciting to try. And I'm just curious to know if anyone else, especially women who have never had their own babies, have had any luck with breastfeeding their adopted child.
post #2 of 14

Best of luck!  I am currently nursing our son whom we adopted (he's 10 days old), but I was already lactating from a previous biological child.  I don't have any advice, just encouragement!  It is a wonderful thing you are doing!
 

post #3 of 14

I've never been pregnant, and I was able to induce lactation for my adopted daughter.  Domperidone and lots of pumping made the milk.  Herbs did nothing for me.  After a few months, I was able to go off the domperidone and keep my milk supply up until my daughter weaned a few years later.  There is a lot of info if you do a forum search on "induced lactation" or "breastfeeding adopted baby".

 

Good luck.

post #4 of 14

I think so much just depends on your body and your specific hormonal issues.  I've induced lactation with all three of my children (all adopted as newborns and came to us straight from the hospital).  I never produced more than a few ounces of milk.  I've tried pumping, herbs, and with our last baby I got professional lactation help and was on domperidone, but it didn't make a significant difference.  I've finally come to the conclusion that my particular body just isn't meant to do this. 

 

I used both the lact-aid and SNS supplementers with all my kids, my milk production was so little that none of them would ever nurse without the tube there.  I nursed my first for about six months (he had undiagnosed reflux, I believe, and using the lact-aid was just not working for him).  My second I nursed for a year, and my third it was two months (dairy allergy, not worth the dietary changes for less than 5 oz of breastmilk a day).   Nursing with a supplementer was extremely stressful for me.  Even with my dd who I nursed for a year with the lact-aid, I'm to this day not sure it was really worth the stress and emotions it caused.

 

I would say if this is your first and you have minimal other commitments in your life other than breastfeeding and caring for your baby, you can have a really wonderful experience even if your milk production is very little.  When you have multiple children and lots going on in your life (for example, wih #3 I was also homeschooling), it may not be as feasible.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks ladies. My particular challenge is that, tho I'm an American, I live in kenya. So I don't think I can access domperidone here....frankly I was shocked when I found fenugreek.

I'm still making a small amount of colostrum, 8 days of pumping later, so that may be all I manage. Wch is okay too. I'm looking into buying breast milk if I can....again, not sure whether this sort of practice exists here. But I'm so glad Jemma gets some colostrum at the very least.

I think it's true that each body is different. It just remains to be seen what mine is capable of!
post #6 of 14

I think it varies hugely among women. Some can start up lactation without a pregnancy and some cannot. I would focus more on the experience of nursing - if your daughter enjoys suckling, it almost does not matter if she's getting calories from it or not. She is getting the emotional benefits. 

 

I would not buy third-party milk in Kenya. Formula is not perfect, but millions of babies have thrived on the stuff. Humans are adaptable creatures. 

post #7 of 14

I completely agree with this.  Adoptive nursing is hard because every mom is different and every baby is different.  Some babies latch and find immediate comfort.  Some find frustration.  My advice would be give it your best shot, but know that any attempt is worthy.  Don't feel like a failure for not making much milk or if your baby does not find comfort nursing.

 

And I have a biological child who needed formula.  He is an amazing 7 year old.  My adopted daughter found so much comfort in her bottle.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

if your daughter enjoys suckling, it almost does not matter if she's getting calories from it or not. She is getting the emotional benefits. 

 

 Formula is not perfect, but millions of babies have thrived on the stuff. Humans are adaptable creatures. 

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Jemma View Post

Thanks ladies. My particular challenge is that, tho I'm an American, I live in kenya. So I don't think I can access domperidone here....frankly I was shocked when I found fenugreek.
I'm still making a small amount of colostrum, 8 days of pumping later, so that may be all I manage. Wch is okay too. I'm looking into buying breast milk if I can....again, not sure whether this sort of practice exists here. But I'm so glad Jemma gets some colostrum at the very least.
I think it's true that each body is different. It just remains to be seen what mine is capable of!

I used to know a lady from a different African country.  I was surprised when she brought up adoptive breastfeeding to me like it was the most natural thing in the world.  She said that is was really common where she was from.  She said there is some tree root there that women take to make milk when they have to care for someone else's baby.  You might try talking to the locals to see if they can recommend something.

 

If you are interested in the domperidone, you can order it off the internet. They ship internationally.  http://www.inhousepharmacy.biz/

post #9 of 14

I nursed my dd from birth to 4 3/4 years old.  I used no medicine, nor did I pump after she was born (before every 2 hours for 11 weeks, yikes!!)  I produced milk, but I didn't worry about how much.  My dd was an awesome latcher and that's the part that I think you should concentrate on.  Do you have a lact aid or other supplemental feeding system?  Now that your baby has been getting milk on demand from a bottle, you'll have to have your supplemental feeder ready so there is no delay in getting milk.  Just keep trying.  Try when not too hungry.  People have gotten babies much older to latch on, so don't give up!!  Good luck.  It is so worth it!

post #10 of 14

Hi Mamma Jemma!  Congratulations!  I was determined to breast feed my adopted son when he was born.  I did all I could do - pumping for hours a day, supplements, etc. (no hormones - I have a history of cancer) and was amazed when my body worked perfectly, providing me with a milky substance (my doctor assures me it is similar to milk 10 days after birth as non-pregnant moms don't make collostrum(sp?).  We settled in for our first nursing snuggle (with a supplemental feeder as well) at 1 hour old.  I was in heaven.  The day after he was born I had spinal surgery and was gone from him for 12 hours (the hardest 12 hours of my life) and my spouse finger fed him the whole time I was gone.  We had latching problems - which ultimately ended the breast feeding because he lost too much weight in the two weeks after birth. But for us it was due to a medical issue - an oral abnormality which has since been corrected made it very difficult for him to latch.  He still nurses when he is scared or tired but for comfort, he is a boy that loves his bottle! LOL

 

My advice would be to see the lactation specialist at your doctors office or the hospital.  They should get you back on track.  It is worth it to try but in the end, do what is best for you and your precious little one.

post #11 of 14

Just a few words of support:

 

Go for it!

 

You are amazing!

 

 

If I adopt, I will try to do the same.

post #12 of 14
post #13 of 14

I was nursing my bio-son when we decided to adopt. For 11 months I pumped three times a day to keep my supply up. When our daughter was born I ended up needing to supplement so was able to use the frozen milk. (Sadly when she was 4 weeks we had a freezer accident and I lost 75% of my milk.) I still got her to 5 months with only my milk then used donor milk for supplementation until she was a year. She will be 4 in less than a month and continues to nurse. I stopped taking domperidone when she was 2.5. I'm not sure when I stopped lactating but we kept using a supplementor with cow's milk (until we realized it was giving her diarrhea.) I've recently stopped using milk in the SNS at bedtime since it is giving her pits in her teeth. She prefers the SNS but will dry nurse. I don't know if she'll ever stop nursing. 

 

After my bio-son was born I donated milk to an adopted baby. His mom wasn't able to put in the time to induce lactation but still nursed with a lactaid and donor milk for at least a year for him and his younger sister.

 

I find the nursing experience far more important than the pregnancy experience. Definitely you should do what you can to nurse your adopted baby. 

 

Is there anyone local who can help you with the latch issue?

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Wow everyone, huge thanks for all the comments! So helpful. She's 5 weeks today and I'm still pumping....still producing only a tiny amount....and she still won't insider nursing. It's discouraging, but I'm going to stick with it as long as I can and see if my supply will increase.

I did make contact with a lactation consultant who teaches supplemental nursing devices, so maybe she can help me.

In the meantime my baby is a fantastic eater on formula and she is thriving. So I'm trying to be chill about it. The only problem is her gassiness. I'm afraid she might b allergic to something in the formula. Sigh. It's just never straightforward I guess....
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