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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all--

I was just wondering if anyone has adopted an older baby and nursed? By older I mean older than eight months or so. We're thinking seriously about adoption from China. I am still nursing my bio daughter who is 2 (03/14) and she shows no signs of weaning at all. If we send in the application in the fall we figure we'll have new DD by the following fall. I'm hoping I won't have to pump for more than six months if DD decides to wean. So I'm not concerned with a milk supply but I am curious about how a baby who has been in an orphanage will take to such intimacy. Nursing is an enormaous part of my mothering and I really want to nurse the next child too. Has anyone had experience with this?

Lisa
Stayin' at home with Jane the Wonder Toddler
and loving Greg
 

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We brought our now 9.5 month old daughter home about 1 week before she was 8 months old. I have to say that I thought to myself more than once those first few weeks "thank goodness I didn't try nursing".

I say this because bottle feeding was the biggest challenge for us. I think she associated that time most with her foster mother (who was just wonderful with her). We had problems with bottle types (and I thought I was so smart leaving Avent bottles with her foster mama; she switched her to them just fine at 3 months and then DD refused to take them from us!). We had to try several different types of formula. She basically went on a complete bottle/formula strike for at least 1 week (might have been almost 2). It was really the only thing in her little life she felt she could control. She would eat solids and drink pediasure for us so she was getting nutrition, but I was so worried.

I could not imagine the feelings of rejection if I had been trying to breastfeed her during this time. I've never tried to offer her my breast even for comfort so I'm not sure what she would do. Mine aren't functional though
. She does think it's fun to play with them though. LOL

I made a conscious decision not to try to breastfeed based on my medical history and the age of our daughter. I honestly think that if we had brought home a newborn or if I was already nursing, I would have attempted it.

But, I'm not sure my strong-willed girly would have willingly nursed. Who knows.. maybe it would have been different enough that she would have.

Thanks to the most patient loving SAHD in the world, our daughter has been happily taking her formula in a different bottle for about 6 weeks now.


Holli
 

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I would like to thank Holli for her comments, and echo her experience. We have to do what is best for our children, and sometimes, it's not breastfeeding. (I hope on this particular board, I won't get flamed for that comment.) I think it's great that you have the wish in your heart to breast feed your adopted child, and if that works out for her and for you, wonderful! I know there are moms on this board who can share their great experiences with that.

However, I think it's also important to be open to the situation as it presents itself. Like Holli's daughter, my 5 1/2 month old daughter was also tremendously attached to her bottle. (I really cannot overstate this enough.) In addition, she would NOT let us hold her while she nursed and she drank her bottle in a very quick and tense way, gulping the milk. Gradually over time, she got so that we could hold and cuddle her more and more while she nursed. I had a lot of grief over not being able to breastfeed before we adopted her, but after she came home, I realized there were so many more ways to experience closeness and attachment with her, including, now, bottle nursing.

Best wishes to you on your adoption journey...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks you for your comments. I don't mean to sound unappreciative but I don't really understand why you're telling me about not breastfeeding. Did I miss something?
:

I have a milk supply and plan on keeping it up. To me bottles and breasts have nothing to do with each other so why would a baby's attchment to her bottle have anything to do with nursing? I am honestly confused, I don't mean to sound nasty if I do. I just want to know if anyone has attempted to nurse an older adopted infant and what that experience was like.

I don't think that nursing is the end all of mothering but it has been extremely important in my experience and I would like to share that with my next daughter. Thanks for any info....

Lisa
 

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Sorry if you were offended by my comments. I was simply explaining the temperment of an 8-month old who arrives in your life with her own understanding of how things work. I think I did mention that if I was already nursing, I probably would have tried it.

I just thought the insight of my experience of adopting a baby the age you are considering might be useful, especially since it was so recent. If not, my apologies.

Holli
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by janesmommy
Thanks you for your comments. I don't mean to sound unappreciative but I don't really understand why you're telling me about not breastfeeding. Did I miss something?
:

Lisa
Hi - I told you about *not* breastfeeding because I honestly don't think that, with my daughter, breastfeeding would have been possible, whether or not I had a milk supply, and I just wanted you to know my experience. I did not anticipate some of her grief and loss issues, and issues around her connection to her bottle, and her initial lack of trust of her new mothers.

Your daughter's experience could be quite different. I just think it's good to be prepared for a variety of possibilities, including that you will need to bottle nurse her. If you look in the list archives, there are lots of posts from adoptive moms who have had various experiences with breast feeding, including some positive ones with older infant adoptions.
 

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I read an article in Mothering Magazine (of all places!) a few years ago about an adoptive mom who successfully breastfed her daughter from China from about 9 months well into toddlerhood. You should try to look up the article. . . I'm not at home right now, but I will look when I get back and see if I still have that issue. It was probably about four years ago, maybe longer. Anyway, in China sometimes babies are breastfed by their birthmothers for a few weeks or longer before they are abandoned. So, that could be a huge benefit to you if you ended up adopting a baby who had had some breastfeeding experience already. Remember that it takes a long time for some *newborn* babies to learn to latch. . . an older baby has already learned to latch onto a bottle nipple, and it may take a really long time before they are able to learn how to latch onto a breast. Also, just as your breastfed daughter would have balked at the idea of taking a bottle at 8 or 9 months old, a bottle-fed baby may be just as resistant to the breast.

But it definitely is possible to breastfeed an older baby. You are lucky in that you are already making milk, so at the very least, you'd be able to provide expressed breastmilk to the baby via a bottle. Once you've been a breastfeeding mother, it is really hard to imagine mothering without breastfeeding. I'd even go so far as to say that when imagining it, I initially felt like it would be an inferior experience of mothering. But I have gotten to a point now (we're about to begin fostering newborn babies, whom I most likely will not be attempting to breastfeed) where I really feel okay about it, and I'm even excited to learn how to bottle nurse and how to attachment parent a baby without involving my breasts. I would still prefer to breastfeed any baby whom I adopted, but I think I'd have to be really open to the fact that breastfeeding the baby might not work out, and I'd have to be totally okay with that. You wouldn't want to set yourself up to be really stressed out and heartbroken about it just as your getting to know your new daughter. When pregnant moms tell me that they are planning to try to breastfeed, I always tell them, "don't plan to try, plan to do it!" But with breastfeeding an older adopted baby, I'd say it's probably wiser to "plan to try" since there is a much greater chance of it not working out, and you need to have alternative plans figured out as well (such as having formula and bottles at the ready, and being willing to take a break from trying if it's not going well).

Definitely do a search for that article I mentioned (I'm guessing it probably had something about adoption and breastfeeding in the title), and check out the four friends website and learn as much as you can about adoptive breastfeeding.

Good luck to you!

Lex
 

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Hi again,

I looked through my old MOTHERING issues and came across the article I mentioned in my previous post. It is in issue no. 104 (Jan/Feb 2001), and the article's title is: "A Special Gift: Breastfeeding an adopted baby." It is written by the mother, Julie Bouchet Horwitz (she and her daughter are pictured on the cover of the magazine).

Some of my memories were incorrect. . . the baby was actually only 4 months old when she was adopted. She took to the breast right away, but was not sucking correctly and the mom stopped producing milk for a little while. She used the SNS and believes that she was able to provide about 25% of her baby's milk, the rest came from formula and donated breast milk. She continued using the SNS for a couple of years because her daughter was very attached to it. But she did eventually wean her from it, and her daughter continued to comfort nurse without the SNS even though the mom wasn't making much milk at that point.

HTH!

Lex
 

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Me AGAIN, LOL. . .

I just remembered about ANOTHER article, featured in the OCtober/Novemeber 2004 issue of LEAVEN (La Leche League International Journal for Leaders), called "Adoptive Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy." It is really very informative. If you can find a copy of it, I'm sure you'd enjoy it. Here are a few of the points that I found most interesting:

- "Although it is rarely talked about, it is relatively common for adopted children, ranging in age from babies to school aged at placement, to indicate a desire to breastfeed from their new mothers."

- "If the child is under nine or 10 months of age and has been well cared for since birth (i.e., excellent foster care since birth), there is a good chance that the child will take to breastfeeding easily. However, if the child has not been in good care (i.e. institutional care, multiple placements, or hospitalization) or is older than none or 10 months at placement, there is less likelihood that the child will breastfeed immediately. . . It is also likely that breastfeeding will need to be introduced slowly to an adopted child. A child who is relatively young and has been in 'good' institutional care will likely take several weeks. Older children, and those whose care has been poor or who have experienced abuse, may need months, perhaps many months."

- "One strategy frequently used to help a baby who is still receiving bottles is to gradually make bottle feeding more like breastfeeding. This might include holding the child in the 'breastfeeding position' while they are being bottle-fed. . . using a slow-flow bottle teat (nipple), changing sides while bottle feeding, and bottle feeding with baby next to the mother's bare breasts. . . Many adoptive families have found that children from orphanages are ised to being bottle fed quickly from teats with very large holes. Bottle feeding for those babies has often been a case of getting the milk in without choking on the fast flow. Changing gradually from fast-flow to medium, and then to slow-flow teats will not only prepare the child for the slower flow of breastfeeding, but may also allow them to recapture what should be a natural pleasure for a baby in sucking for food."

- "Many mothers who work towards breastfeeing express concern that they may be selfish in trying to 'impose' breastfeeding on their children. They can be reassured that breastfeeding is a part of normal development and there is no harm in gently encouraging a child to breastfeed. Moreover, children who initially resist breastfeeding sometimes end up becoming enthusiastic breastfeeders who clearly benefit from it."

There's so much more, but I suppose I should stop there!

Also, the article provides the following links to online support groups:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/1ABSupportGroup/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ChinaA...Breastfeeding/

www.fourfriends.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php

ALSO, the information in the article comes from an ongoing study of older adoptive breastfeeding. Anyone who has attempted (successfully or not) to breastfeed a child four months old or older at the time of placement is encouraged to contact Karleen Gribble at [email protected]

HTH someone!
 

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He was basically only on the bottle with whole milk and a few tidbits here and there when I got him...He was starving basically..I was 19 and didn't know really much about breastfeeding although I had the "natural" instinct for it. I remember just lying skin to skin with him for the first night cause it seemed to really comfort him.About the 3rd night of it he was asleep beside me and latched on in his sleep..I was very surprised but I didn't disturb him..He stayed on for about 2 hours..He had never been breastfed before.And I sure didn't have any milk so I guess he was comfort nursing in his sleep..He was very clingy and needed alot of attention..So I held him alot..I wish I would have know about slings back then..Would have saved me some terrible arm aches. :LOL But the next day I offered my breast to him again even though I felt kind of foolish but hey the instinct was there..
: It felt right..He didn't latch on but kept wanting to look..but then would stop..I just encouraged him .That night after his bath I was in the rocker with him skin to skin again rocking him to sleep and he latched on again but this time he wasn't all the way sleeping so I stroked his cheek to wake him a bit.I wanted to see what he would do awake and he kept nursing..
After that he became a champion nurser..It took a bit of work to keep the latch right and I had to ask a friend of mine who had nursed her kids..My mom was not the one too ask let me tell you.But he truely liked to nurse..In fact he nursed every chance he got..And I just let him.I think it was a way for him to bond cause he needed that..He was left in the crib and playpen all the time by birthmom and she never held him either.

He nursed till he was four years old and told me that he didn't need it anymore cause he was going to big school.I never took anything to help make milk but I produced some...Not a whole lot but I honestly think my son cared less.He was just a natural with a super strong urge to suck..It was like his securtiy blanket...And I am happy I had that natural instinct...

I say give it a shot...You might be sursprised what will happen..Good luck....I dream of going to get my future daughter from china soon and I will definitly try to breastfeed her too if possible...Love Mylie xx
 
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