Weird question - would you nurse a foster baby? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-10-2006, 03:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are thinking of becoming foster parents sometime in the next few years. I have decided that if we were to go ahead and do this, I would probably only take a baby. Partly because I don't want my own children to be terrorized by a child who has been neglected or abused and partly because I don't think I have the patience to deal with a child with behavioral problems, which is often the case with older foster children. I know one lady who is a foster parent and only takes babies and she has said that there are a lot of babies who do need foster parents. Also, our intent would be to foster this child as long as possible with the hope of adoption.
To make a long story short....if you fostered a baby, would you bf them, assuming you were still bf'ing your own child so you still have milk? I'm soooooo scared of formula! It seems so intimidating to me! And inconvienient! And expensive! Am I weird for considering this?
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Old 04-10-2006, 03:26 AM
 
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I dont think its weird and I would do it too
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Old 04-10-2006, 03:39 AM
 
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I would, but I don't know if you are "allowed." I know that people who foster kids around hee are not allowed to co-sleep.

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Old 04-10-2006, 11:20 AM
 
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Nice thought but it's not allowed. I think the reasoning is because of possible transmission of viruses. Breast milk is considered a "biological" fluid. I doubt the legal guardians would give permission for it. Fostering has different legal implications than adoption.

There's lots of rules about what you can and can't do with foster kids. Your local foster agency should have info sessions you can attend to learn more.
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Old 04-10-2006, 11:41 AM
 
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I would definitly nurse a fostered child, why would some of your children have that advantage and not others? You are still tehre mommy, and they deserve the best!!! You are the best you can feed them, I would definitly give it a go!!! Good luck!!
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Old 04-10-2006, 12:04 PM
 
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I personally would not to it. I'm not worried about what *I* would pass to the baby but potentially what the baby could pass to me!

Mary
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Old 04-10-2006, 03:18 PM
 
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Theoretically, I would do it for sure. I know it is probably not permitted - I would struggle with lying about it and still doing it (and making sure baby can take a bottle of formula "for show" if ever needed) vs giving formula. I honestly don't think I could give a human formula! I see little baby animals that are abandoned or whatnot and want to nurse them, too, for pete's sake!
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Old 04-10-2006, 03:23 PM
 
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I would love to, but it is usually not allowed.

Mom to Dakota (6), Coy, (4), Max, (4), Lily (4), and Auri (June 19th 2010)!
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Old 04-10-2006, 03:42 PM
 
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Perhaps you may want to look into fostering a little more closely. You are not allowed to BF as well as other guidelines. Its a take it or leave it thing, you can't choose everything and expect them to match you with your expectations. I would definetly call around and check into it before getting your heart set on it being a certain way.
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Old 04-10-2006, 04:31 PM
 
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IF you are already nursing your own child, why not pump for the foster baby?

ANother thing to consider is, if you DO BF this baby and then he/she ends up being placed with someone other than you...will being separted from you cause harm?
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Old 04-11-2006, 01:38 AM
 
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If it was allowed, I would definitely do it. What a wonderful way to bond with a babe, to make them feel safe and loved and cherished.
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Old 04-11-2006, 02:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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*Whew* I'm glad to see that others would do it too, if permitted. We still have to attend all the info sessions but are not quite ready to do that as we are expecting another babe of our own in a few months and are not sure if we are going to have more of our "own" children. I know there are lots of guidelines for fostering, but the health region that we live in is quite pro-AP (they push for EBF, responding to baby's cries immediately, babywearing, cosleeping, and teach those things in the baby courses you can take) so it may have an impact on what we can do....although I suppose the foster parent program is a federal program, so we'll see. I like the idea of pumping, because there are no guarantees on the length of time you will have a child, and I definately would not want the separation to cause the child harm.
I just wanted to see what other people's reactions were to my desire to BF someone else's child in my custody....I was worried that I was strange.
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Old 04-11-2006, 03:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikisager
I would definitly nurse a fostered child, why would some of your children have that advantage and not others? You are still tehre mommy, and they deserve the best!!! You are the best you can feed them, I would definitly give it a go!!! Good luck!!
Umm,actually,no. You're not their mommy. You are fostering them until their parents can get them back or they are "available" for adoption. As much as I am SO for breastfeeding,and I would even go so far as to give a friend,with consent,pumped milk,I think it is ethically wrong to nurse someone elses child,especially considering the circumstances,and the fact that their mother has no knowledge/consent to the fact.
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Old 04-11-2006, 04:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by L&IsMama
Umm,actually,no. You're not their mommy. You are fostering them until their parents can get them back or they are "available" for adoption. As much as I am SO for breastfeeding,and I would even go so far as to give a friend,with consent,pumped milk,I think it is ethically wrong to nurse someone elses child,especially considering the circumstances,and the fact that their mother has no knowledge/consent to the fact.
Well, of course a foster mom would not be their "mommy", but wouldn't the very best foster parent be a person who could truly want to nurture a foster child as if it were her own? I mean, look beyond what you consider ethical and just look at the relationship between two human beings? I don't understand why you consider it to be wrong to nurse someone else's child. It has been done for ages...and usually under adverse conditions (death or illness of birth mother, no "formula" available, etc). Women throughout time have nurtured others' children at their own breasts when bio mom couldn't. I think that is especially beautiful and so very caring. We're so afraid these days (as a society).....
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Old 04-11-2006, 09:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dove
Well, of course a foster mom would not be their "mommy", but wouldn't the very best foster parent be a person who could truly want to nurture a foster child as if it were her own? I mean, look beyond what you consider ethical and just look at the relationship between two human beings? I don't understand why you consider it to be wrong to nurse someone else's child. It has been done for ages...and usually under adverse conditions (death or illness of birth mother, no "formula" available, etc). Women throughout time have nurtured others' children at their own breasts when bio mom couldn't. I think that is especially beautiful and so very caring. We're so afraid these days (as a society).....
I think its wrong when the mother of the child has no say in the matter. In example,doing it behind their back,while you have her child in your care. If the mother consented,and it was in a different context,like not a fostering situation,then I say go for it.
There's just too many factors in a foster care situation that make me feel uneasy about it,but thats a whole other post.
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Old 04-11-2006, 10:40 AM
 
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I think it would be detrimental to the child if he/she goes back to his/her parents or has to go to another home. Imagine if your nursing 8 month old suddenly can't do it anymore. If it is allowed, I don't see the harm in pumping and feeding with a bottle, but as the previous posters alluded - with the mother's permission.
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:15 AM
 
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I have a dear friend who has two of her own children and is very AP - babywearing, co-sleeping, extended nursing...the whole thing.

She's fostering twin baby girls - they are about 7 months now. She is not allowed to even try to BF them (she had weaned her 3 year old only about a month before getting the girls and thought maybe she could relactate).

She's not supposed to co-sleep either. A lot of little *legal* things - be sure to check everything.

As for the expense, since she is their foster mom they still get free formula. If she decides to try to adopt, then it'll be her responsibility, but for now, it's all free. There are also tons of "gadgets" out there to make bottle feeding easier - formula containers for on the go. As a former bottle-feeder I was able to give her some tips on making bottle feeding a little easier.
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Old 04-11-2006, 11:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L&IsMama
I think its wrong when the mother of the child has no say in the matter. In example,doing it behind their back,while you have her child in your care. If the mother consented,and it was in a different context,like not a fostering situation,then I say go for it.
There's just too many factors in a foster care situation that make me feel uneasy about it,but thats a whole other post.
I wholeheartedly agree. Its hard to put yourself in the shoes of a mama who's children have been removed from the home however, since there's obviously going to be issues there. I definetly would NOT want my child to nurse from someone other than me....but like I said, its hard to imagine being in the position to have to worry about this because I had my kids taken away either....kwim?

I think its important to follow the rules of the system. If you can't abide by them, don't foster. Because BF is a bodily fluid, I believe this is crossing a boundary that is unacceptable.

That said, I think you are sweet for wanting to give a foster the best.
XOXO
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Old 04-11-2006, 03:12 PM
 
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Well, fwiw, I would prefer my child to be nourished at another's breast as opposed to being given formula. So maybe that is where the difference lies. (I GET the legalities, etc - I just think it is sweet to want to be so caring and nurturing toward a little one that is not even your own. My g-gma was a wet nurse - guess I have a bit of her in me!)
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Old 04-11-2006, 04:19 PM
 
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I am certified as a foster parent, and if the birth mom and law allowed it, I would love to breastfeed a foster baby. Unfortunately, the law doesn't.

We have been on foster hiatus since the birth of DD last summer but we just decided to become active again. I've also made the difficult decision to now limit the age range of children that I will accept, so it is likely that I will end up with a newborn soon and have to formula feed.

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Old 04-12-2006, 09:53 AM
 
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I foster newborns. I put them to breast. I also use formula. When I get a babe fom the hospital, I check the HIV and hep results of the birth mother. These babies are drug addicted babies and are not going back to the birth mother. I havent been able to establish a full supply. When I started nursing my first placement, my two and a half year old had just self weaned. So, I relactated with domperidone, herbs and pumping.

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Old 04-12-2006, 10:00 AM
 
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and I wouldn't tell anyone. It might matter how old your other children are too. I can see my kids being all impressed with the prospect & saying to the teacher "I got a new foster brother & he nurses just like baby Luke!" or "Did you know moms can nurse ANY baby? Even if it's not theirs!!!???!!!" and that could be a problem - haha
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Old 04-12-2006, 12:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by azedazobollis
I foster newborns. I put them to breast. I also use formula. When I get a babe fom the hospital, I check the HIV and hep results of the birth mother. These babies are drug addicted babies and are not going back to the birth mother. I havent been able to establish a full supply. When I started nursing my first placement, my two and a half year old had just self weaned. So, I relactated with domperidone, herbs and pumping.
I thought that wasn't allowed. And how does one know for a fact they won't be going back to their real mothers? I thought the mother had so many months she could get herself clean and do all she could to try at least to get her baby back?
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Old 04-12-2006, 12:16 PM
 
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I think its appalling that there are people who sign up and agree to protocal about fostering and then outright LIE about and go about making their own rules and trying to justify them. If you can't handle the rules that are placed then you shouldn't be fostering. These are not your children, you are not the one to be making decisions about what is best for them, yes you may have their best intentions in mind but it is not your call to make. I am at a loss for words.... I can't beleive there are people doing this...
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Old 04-12-2006, 12:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by L&IsMama
I thought that wasn't allowed. And how does one know for a fact they won't be going back to their real mothers? I thought the mother had so many months she could get herself clean and do all she could to try at least to get her baby back?
Yes, isn't the point of fostering to give the child a safe space until the family can perhaps be reunited?

I think it's wrong to use a vulnerable child to advance your own agenda or try to prove something.
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:07 PM
 
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Would the "system" pay for milk bank milk? I'm wondering...... Sigh. Even if there are rules dosent mean that EVERYONE follows them. What about taking them to church? I 've know plenty of people to take foster kids to church.

I would nurse a baby that I was fostering only with the hope of adoption ( only if it were pretty clear we were going to adop) because I wouldnt be that worried about lieing. I would bottlefeed also ( with BM or Formula) because when they check the baby they need to think its bottle feeding.

Is that wrong? Depends on WHO your hurting right?
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:42 PM
 
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Milk from a milk bank costs $3-$4 per ounce add on top of that shipping, so no they would not cover the cost of it. Your comment about feeding the baby with a bottle because when they check they need to think its bottle feeding is disturbing to me. A baby is placed in your care until something else becomes available even when there is a good chance you would be able to adopt the baby does not make you the mother from day one. I know quite a few people who were in the process of fostering/ adopting and at the very end it didn't work. Why would you want to be part of something that you honestly don't beleive in? By trying to trick them into thinking the baby is bottle fed is admitting to a degree that you know it wrong or that they wouldn't approve. I admit rules within the foster system are not perfect but it is not up to you to pick and choose which ones to follow.
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:54 PM
 
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I wouldn't and I think those who do it are behaving unethically.

Yes in many cultures ppl nurse each others' babies. My child has nursed from a good friend of mine.

But in a foster care situation, the context is different. The baby has been removed from the mama often for a temporary period. The mama does not consent, the law does not allow nursing, and the baby is vulnerable and without protection.

Besides the possibility of HIV transmission, there is the reality that the baby could be removed from the foster parent's care at any time. As somebody else mentioned, it is extremely unfair to expect a baby who has nursed from you to make an abrupt switch to bottle feeding at the same time as they are being yanked from their environment to another. It is disrespectful and a set up for the infant to create that situation.

I think foster parents need to respect babies, bio-parents and the foster care system within which they work. Nursing a foster baby without permission is not okay.
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thismama
I wouldn't and I think those who do it are behaving unethically. . . the baby could be removed from the foster parent's care at any time. ...it is extremely unfair to expect a baby who has nursed from you to make an abrupt switch to bottle feeding at the same time as they are being yanked from their environment to another. It is disrespectful and a set up for the infant to create that situation.

I think foster parents need to respect babies, bio-parents and the foster care system within which they work. Nursing a foster baby without permission is not okay.
yeah that

i think the sentiment is sweet but there are rules for reasons.

I certainly wouldn't want my child nursing from some stranger. that is a huge bond. if for some reason I lost my child to foster care (justifiably or not) I certainly wouldn't want them forming that kind of bond with thier foster parent. I wouldn't want them sleeping in someone elses bed either. That is for me and my family only. I don't want them to bond with a teporary caregiver.

it seems cruel to me to get a child hooked on breastfeeding and cosleeping (regardless of how good these things are) when you know it will suddenly be ripped out from under them. also if you have been denying that you have given a baby these things the hysteria caused by sudden weaning and loss of primary caregiver could lead to unessecary medical treatment (since they wouldn't expect oh well sudden change in diet and he has never slept in a crip before) or even resentful parents. the goal of a foster parent should be to make reuniting with parents, respecting thier wishes and transitioning into new homes an easy and smooth ones. a somewhat familiar place to sleep and a familiar food with familiar delivery will help with all of that. hopefully the place they are going will be as loving as attentitive as yours. but if it is not why make it harder.

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Old 04-12-2006, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Some of the posters are assuming that the laws about fostering are the same in the entire world. To say it is against the law is just YOUR assumption, because you don't know where everyone lives. You don't know which country I live in. In one country it may be against the foster system laws, in another maybe not. And to say it is wrong to do because it is behind the birth mother's back or whatever is not accurate either, because perhaps the birth mother consented to it, and perhaps that is the only criteria that needs to be met in a particular country. To assume that laws are all the same in hundreds of different countries or that it is being done in secret is ignorant.
I personally would not do it if it were against the laws of the foster system where I live, but if I were allowed to I think I have decided that I will try. And alot of things in this world are reviewed on a case by case basis.
But you have to work with a social worker to decide what is the best interest of the child, right? It's not entirely up to you until the adoption papers are signed.
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