Adopting after biological kids and AP... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 07-05-2007, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are in the "researching all the various options of adoptions" stage right now. I was wondering if anyone has adopted after extended nursing and co-sleeping with their biological children? I am leaning towards adopting from China and I get worried that I won't know how to parent because I won't be nursing and the baby may not want to co-sleep which are two things that really helped/and are helping me parent my children. I am sure I would figure it out and would be fine but it almost makes me want to consider domestic adoption only because then I would, hopefully, be able to nurse right away etc. I guess this is just one of my fears. I know many of you couldn't nurse and are great parents but it just worries me. Any have any advice?

Also what exactly do you mean by bottle nurse?

Thanks so much for all your replies. Your advice and discussions have been invaluable to me as I start this journey.

Homeschooling Momma to DD 8 years old, DS 7 years old, DS born 03/11 by adoptionheart-1.gif , waiting for DD born 07/10 and two furry labs. Wife to my wonderful husband of 12 years.
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#2 of 14 Old 07-05-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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I was really concerned about this too!

We adopted a newborn domestically but it didn't work out to bf.

As much as parenting my older kids was so heavily about bfing, co-sleeping etc. it really hasn't been an issue. It's worked out well with her. I do hold her to give her the bottles. She's definitely very well attached.

Honestly though...I did have to find different ways to soothe other than just bfing. And I know this will cause some issues on here but I really do feel that...in some ways I think it's made me a better parent. Some things I've been able to be more relaxed about. I'm able to run out for a short time and not be panicked about how I can't go anywhere because what if she needed to nurse?! (I realize many other moms are not freaked about about this and pump/leave a bottle of bmilk or whatever. My kids never took bottles and I just was always a mess if I had to leave for even a short time thinking that it would be a huge disaster - major stress for me!)

To me...bottle nursing means that you always hold the baby to give the bottle. They face in towards you.

With co-sleeping. Even with my bio kids - some where more snuggly than others.
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#3 of 14 Old 07-05-2007, 07:26 PM
 
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My dd was adopted from China at 12 months.

At first, things are so crazy. She did seem to reject being held or soothed at bedtime and we used a crib. I'd always fetch her in the middle of the night anytime she stirred and that probably helped her transition. Now she is one snuggling, cuddling machine and an amazing cosleeper.

Sort of the same for bottle feeding. I just tried to always be in contact with her, snuggling her as she nursed. So that she incorporated the comfort of cuddling with me along with that of nursing. I didn't make an issue about it, in terms of fighting with her over who holds the bottle or making her lay in my arms if she didn't want to. Instead I just focused on making it a loving, warm, soft, interactive experience so that all of her associations with my involvement were positive. Usually I would lay her in bed and cuddle next to her, stroking, singing and so forth as she seemed open to it.

Something else that I thought helped us bond was that I constantly make up songs about us and sing them to dd - in the car, around the house, falling asleep, in the bathtub, just anytime. Stuff like:
Dd's my baby
and Dad's her dad
and Spot is her dog
She is our baby
our little baby
cutest girl in the world!

Just dumb stuff but always with the theme of how she's our daughter and we're a family and we love her. She got to where she'd sing them herself and as she got older, she makes up new ones that are directed at me: mama's my mama, and I love her, she is the greatest mom...:

Good luck on your decision to adopt. The wait for China is long now, projected at 2 years or more after your dossier is complete. That's unfortunately something that has to be considered.
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#4 of 14 Old 07-05-2007, 07:54 PM
 
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I'm pretty new around here, so hi! My husband and I have adopted two children, and have no biological children. I was unable to nurse my kids, but I did co-sleep with my daughter, who was only a day old when she came home. My son was nearly two, and it didn't work out to co-sleep with him. I have found a lot of other ways to bond with my kids, though. We are a very physical family, meaning we snuggle on the couch or in our big bed together a lot. The kids (now 3 and 7) pile into our bed on weekend mornings, and we all nap together. My husband and I will still pick up and snuggle our 7YO, and we still carry/sling the 3YO on occasion, so there's just a ton of close physical contact. When my son came home, I used to rock him in the rocking chair while feeding him caramel candy and looking lovingly into his eyes. That was a wonderful bonding time, even though he was finished bottle feeding at that point. We read together in bed every night, and always finish up with singing and a million kisses. My kids are both very comfortable using my body for comfort and shelter, even though I'm not nursing them. They both climb me, hang on me, hide behind me, and snuggle up to me, both in public and at home.

As far as comforting them, as the PP said, I have figured out other ways to do that without bfing. I pick them up, snuggle them, hold them like a baby, nuzzle their necks, rub their heads and backs, tickle them gently, and give a million kisses. There's also a constant dialog: "I'm your baby and you're my mommy." And I say "Yes, you're my sweet sweet baby, and I'm your mommy forever and ever."
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#5 of 14 Old 07-05-2007, 08:05 PM
 
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We are still nursing Brandon (kind of. My milk supply is shot and we're actually moving towards weaning) and we still co-sleep. Brandon is 4 months from being 4 years old. We just adopted Jocelyn from Vietnam (5 months old yesterday). She wanted to nurse for all of a week during the transition to our care, and then she wanted nothing to do with it. However, she *loves* co-sleeping because she slept with 5 other babies at the orphanage. We also babywear and follow all of the other AP things (except we bottlenurse now).

So, AP wasn't a problem with her...and actually, I think it helped her bond to us faster than she otherwise would have...

~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#6 of 14 Old 07-05-2007, 09:42 PM
 
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My oldest (bio) nursed until he was 4y 8m, and it was a stretch to find new ways to comfort a non-nursed child. It was very easy to just pop in a nipple whenever my oldest fell or was upset or whatever. But comforting without nursing was something we learned to do, just as I learned to comfort my oldest by nursing IFYWIM. Bottle-nursing is, IMO, creating the effect of nursing as much as possible while bottlefeeding. For us, this meant holding him in a nursing position, holding the bottle for him (if he reached for it, we had him hold our hand or fingers instead) as I think that an important part of the nursing experience is that the baby depends on you to provide nourishment for him instead of him providing it for himself, not letting them walk around with a bottle--I think that the enforced periods of calm that nursing provides are important as well, only one person providing the bottle (usually Mom), and allowing self weaning from a bottle and/or pacifier with extra tooth care to prevent cavities from formula. All of this has the caveat, of course, of following your babies cues. If they are used to having it done a certain way, such as holding their own bottle, you have to go slow in making any changes. Also, it can be too intimate an experience for some babies right away, and you need to be respectful of that as well. They need to get to know you, so you can't force yourself--there is a balancing act between encouraging attachment and forcing youself on them. I thnk it is kind of like early dating--you need to let them know you are interested without coming on too strong Regarding cosleeping--it is actually often encouraged by the agencies to cosleep in international adoptions! In many other countries it is the norm, and the babies either sleep with a foster mother or with other babies, so I wouldn't worry too much about that one. In our case, our youngest did cosleep with his FM, and we coslept for the first month, but he really preferred his crib, so we followed his lead and let him sleep there. I think that because they slept on the floor, he had a lot more room than squished into bed with us, as his paperwork noted that he rolled around a lot in his sleep so none of us coslept well together. But especially that first couple of weeks, and naps where just one of us laid down with him so there was more room, it was a really good way to connect. We also did skin to skin contact to foster bonding, and I also was able to nurse him for 2 weeks, but unfortunately new teeth and a new nursing relationship don't go well together and we had to stop. But those 2 weeks made a big difference in our relationship. Sometimes he will still come up to me, 1 1/2 years later, and pat my breasts or lift my shirt and mouth me just like a bf toddler, so I know it had an impression on him. I also suspect that he was dry comfort nursed by his FM for a variety of reasons. IF you have any questions, feel free to ask me. Like you, I did wonder at the beginning of our adoption journey how I was going to parent with my biggest tool missing from my parenting toolbox. But you learn, and you adapt, and you become a better parent for it.
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#7 of 14 Old 07-05-2007, 10:34 PM
 
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ditto what others have said...don't shy away from ideas of breastfeeding or co-sleeping with intl' adoption. SWs seem to encourage AP practices, and many countries you might consider adopting from use a lot of AP practices (babywearing, co-sleeping, etc.)

We're adopting from Korea, and our SW told us in no uncertain terms that it would be best for our future daughter to have us wear her and co-sleep with her when she gets home. It's recommended both as a bonding measure (lots of contact, lots of infant-like care) and also as a comfort measure because it's what she'll be used to. She'll be in foster care in Korea while we wait for her, and that's usually the norm (co-sleep/babywearing).

As for bottle nursing or nursing, we'll she what she wants when she gets home. I'm keeping my milk supply going, so that if she wants to nurse she can, or if she wants to bottle nurse she can do so with breastmilk or a formula/breastmilk combination. I'm not setting my heart on anything, but I am determined to give her at least some breastmilk. We'll see how it goes!

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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#8 of 14 Old 07-05-2007, 10:42 PM
 
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Just wanted to throw in: for us bathing together every day has been a really great bonding ritual. It's a natural play environment and easy to get the skin on skin contact.
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#9 of 14 Old 07-06-2007, 01:11 PM
 
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We have 3 adopted children that were all placed with us as infants (6 weeks, 8 weeks, and 1 day). I actually talked to our SW about nursing my 2nd child and I did for 6 months exclusively with no bottles. We used the Lact-Aid system, but I won't lie, it was a real pain. Honestly, I never found anything magical about nursing, so after 6 months we went back to bottles. In fact, I was more frustrated and dreaded nursing so switching back to bottles actually helped our bonding!!!! With my 3rd child I did nurse her a few times with the LA, but again, there was no "special" bonding happening. My first child was exclusively bottle nursed and since she was my first she didn't even sit in a stroller until she was almost one! We wore her everywhere and DP and I would actually have debates over who got to wear her! LOL! She will be 3 in a few months and she still asks to be worn in the sling occassionally. It's GREAT snuggle time! Honestly, in my opinion, I bonded so deeply with my children and it had nothing to do with nursing. Babywearing, co-sleeping, bathing together, snuggling.....those are the things that created our bond. If I ever had a bio child (not sure I want to be pg now) I would definitely nurse that baby, but not because of any magical bonding that I would be expecting.

My first 2 children were Nuk (paci) addicts! My first had it for naps and car rides until she was 2, but I never let her walk around with it during the day. DD#3 wouldn't take it until she was about 4 months old, seemed to really need it to fall asleep, and now at 6 months wants nothing to do with it. All she wants is for me to hold her and comfort her until she falls asleep.

You could try inducing lactation if it's that important to you. The best place to go for advice and help is asklenore.com. Good luck!

An incredibly thankful SAH Mommy to 3 fiendishly enchanting girls 11/04,10/05, & 12/06. 
 
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#10 of 14 Old 07-06-2007, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! Thank you all for your thoughtful responses! I think that once it all happens we will figure it out. I just was having a very hard time imagining myself trying to comfort a 1 or 2 year old with out having my breast as an option.

blessed-I know that wait is long but that may be one of the reasons we do it. My children are still young and I think a little gap may be good, for me, but if we didn't then I would still be nursing and I wouldn't have to worry about getting my supply back to try and nurse my new baby...Hmm

So much to consider. Thank you so much for all the ideas. I definately plan to babywear, co-sleep, bath together, follow cues, etc. just as I do now!

Homeschooling Momma to DD 8 years old, DS 7 years old, DS born 03/11 by adoptionheart-1.gif , waiting for DD born 07/10 and two furry labs. Wife to my wonderful husband of 12 years.
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#11 of 14 Old 07-06-2007, 06:28 PM
 
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just think about how/if your dh had to comfort your 2 year old.

also, a 1 or 2 year old is certainly not too old to nurse.

oh, and i was still nursing when we adopted dd and i know it made my adoptive breastfeeding experience way easier than some!

Mama to Jet 6/05, Marvel 8/06 and Cash and Fox 2/09
Expecting Ada Marianne 11/14
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#12 of 14 Old 07-06-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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I remember when we were in the process of adopting dd, I was worried that she was in an orphanage somewhere CIO while we had been so AP with ds his whole life. I couldn't imagine what she would be like without that care. We were lucky that our daughter had actually been in foster care. But even if she had been in an orphanage in China, I believe now that the caregivers really do take great care of the babies. Our daughter has attached very well, partially because of her personality, but also because we carried her so much in the beginning and gave her lots of affection/kisses from the beginning. It also helps that she sees ds giving us hugs and showing attachment/gentleness, so she follows what he does. Does that make sense? The work you put in to your first will pay off with your future child as well.

There are lots of other AP ways to comfort besides nursing. We usually carry her around, hug her close, wipe away / kiss away any tears. You can sing, use a gentle voice, snuggle. Don't worry!
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#13 of 14 Old 07-16-2007, 05:08 PM
 
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I nursed my daughter for 9 mo. until she weaned herself, but I also had it easy because she was 3 days old when we got her. But on the tough side I hadn't nursed for 13 years so I had to induce. Yet, I didn't need a lact-aid or anything and had a good supply by the time we got her (2 weeks after signing )Go to fourfriends.com/abrw they have a lot of Mommies that started with older babes. BTW, we still co sleep at 28 mo.

Me namaste.gif, DH teapot2.GIFmarried 24 yrs.,DD #1 treehugger.gif(89), DD #2 blahblah.gif(91), DD #3 weadopted.gifafro.jpg(05), and DD #4 baby.gif (6/11/11)

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#14 of 14 Old 07-19-2007, 04:01 PM
 
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I have a friend that was in that exact position. She did say it took some time to find a new rhythm and way to do things. It did eventually work out though. She used the parts of AP that she could.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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