There are many controversial topics within the adoption community. They can range from forcible placements to adoption triad members not keeping agreements throughout post-adoption relationships to dishonest adoption agencies and professionals. However, there is one topic that can incite all sides of the adoption triad: breastfeeding as an adoptive parent. Adoption and breastfeeding aren't usually grouped together outside of the adoption community. But within the adoption community, it can be a hot topic. One reason that others don't like the idea of an adoptive mother breastfeeding is because they feel it's unnatural and strange. Also, some believe that if a mother has to force lactation to occur, it shouldn't be acceptable.
If you're an adoptive parent considering breastfeeding or a biological mother looking to place, it's important to know each side of the issue. However, that's not the most important part. Even though others will be against the idea, you have the right to choose whether or not to breastfeed. However, if you're an adoptive parent and you choose to breastfeed, remember that it will take ample planning and preparation, as developing the ability to breastfeed doesn't happen overnight.
There are many ways to prepare your mind and your body to breastfeed. The first thing is to think positive thoughts. A positive, happy, hopeful attitude can make a world of difference. The next thing to do is to research the topic as much as you can. Talk to other adoptive mothers who have breastfed. Find out the pros, cons, how they prepared, and how it affected their lives. Talk to local lactation consultants for tips, techniques, and advice. They can give you the support and information you need to move forward with your decision to breastfeed your adopted child.
When it comes to preparing your body, you have many options. Many women find pumping to be an effective way to prepare. Pumping for the months and weeks before adoption finalization can encourage milk production and it can increase your skin's elasticity. Some women find pumping easier when they've breastfed before. However, it isn't impossible for those who've never breastfed. If you decide that pumping your breasts is that path you'll take, remember that you need to be consistent. Any deviation from your progress or goal may mean you have to start over. And starting over can be painful and time-consuming. Keep in mind that excess stress can inhibit milk production. So, in order to have the best results, keep stress to a minimum. Also, find ways to relieve stress, like exercising, knitting, watching a movie, or reading a book.
Because pumping can be painful, there are a few ways to lessen the pain or discomfort. First, make sure that your breast fits the breast pump as recommended on the label and packaging. Also, if your discomfort or pain persists, consider using some topical ointments that can help. Throughout this journey, it's important to keep in mind that there are several types of pumps from which to choose. Your basic options are hand-operated or electric. Both have unique benefits. Research each to find the one that works best for you.
In conjunction with breast stimulation through a pump, you could also take prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone that can help encourage milk production by stimulating the mammary glands. If these methods don't work, you can use a supplemental nursing system. This is where a bottle of milk is around your neck and the tubes can be attached to your breasts. Even though you're not producing the milk, it can benefit everyone. Your child is still being fed, and the closeness of the feedings can help create a strong bond.
Even though breastfeeding as a mom--whether adoptive or biological--may not be easy, it can be done. Be open to your breastfeeding options and you'll find the right method for your life. While the topic of adoptive breastfeeding is controversial, it's important to do what you feel is right. After all, s/he is your child, and you have the right as a parent to breastfeed. And that goes if you're the biological mother, too. Even if the adoptive mother doesn't want you to breastfeed, you still have that option until your parental rights have been terminated. Breastfeeding is a choice--it's your choice.