World Breastfeeding Week is an annual celebration to encourage, empower and support parents and their breastfeeding goals. For this year’s World Breastfeeding Week, we’d like to share a little bit about breastfeeding in adoption. In this article, we’ll be covering some advantages and possible challenges for hopeful adoptive moms and pregnant women considering adoption thinking about this important decision.
What Adoptive Moms Should Know
Breasting feeding for adoptive moms is more than possible. For new moms that are considering this option, the first step should always be to talk to your doctor about all of your options. If breastfeeding your baby is something that you’re ready to try, your doctor can prescribe the birth control that will work best with your body, and then they’ll help walk you through the next steps to induce lactation. Breastfeeding and sharing skin‐to‐skin contact with your baby will also help the two of you bond — making it an incredibly rewarding experience. For many adoptive moms, any challenges that they may face are still worth it.
Challenges of Breastfeeding for Adoptive Mothers
Breastfeeding can be done as an adoptive mom — but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be hard. You may not be able to make enough on your own, so you will likely need to supplement your breastmilk. You will also need to prepare for lactation months in advance, making this endeavor a significant time commitment. You may also face the same breastfeeding challenges biological mothers face: It could also be hard for your baby to latch on at first, and it may even be painful, so you may have to find different ways of encouraging them in order to breastfeed successfully.
One important thing to mention to adoptive mothers is that prospective birth mothers may also want to nurse the baby during the hospital stay. If the prospective birth mother decides that she wants to breastfeed her baby before placement, you should do everything you can to support her decision. You may be anxious about it — some adoptive parents worry that this bonding experience will make placement more difficult for the prospective birth mother — but her choice to nurse does not necessarily mean that she’s not choosing adoption for her baby. Making sure that she’s comfortable and has everything she needs to nurse will mean the world to her, if she decides that’s what she wants to do. This is the beginning of a lifelong relationship between the two of you, so remember to make her feel just as important as you would want to feel.
Can and Should Potential Birth Mothers Breastfeed?
If you’re an expectant mother reading this, you might be wondering about what your options are for breastfeeding at the hospital. The first thing you should know is that you have every right to choose to nurse as a part of your adoption hospital plan. One of the biggest reasons why some birth mothers choose to breastfeed during their adoption is because of the health benefits for their baby. The first few times you breastfeed, your body will produce a liquid called colostrum. It has just about everything your baby’s body needs to grow and thrive, and some studies have even stated that it can help fight infections and illness in newborns. Breastfeeding your baby, even for a little bit, may help give them a healthy start to life.
Even though breastfeeding is often recommended because of the health benefits, there are some things you should know when you’re placing your baby for adoption. Even though breastfeeding has significant nutritional benefits for your baby, most expectant mothers that are choosing adoption decide not to breastfeed because of how difficult it is emotionally. Nursing releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps play a role in attachment and bonding with your baby. This is why you might have also heard it referred to as the “cuddle hormone.” If you choose to nurse your baby, you may have a harder time separating from them when it’s time for placement. If you choose not to breastfeed at the hospital, remember to be assertive about your decision, as you may experience some pushback from hospital staff who aren’t aware of your adoption plan. No matter what your decision is, your adoption specialist will be behind you all the way.
Breastfeeding and Your Adoption
No matter what, it’s your choice to decide if breastfeeding is right for you. You can always talk to your doctor and your adoption specialist for more information on all of your options, and remember that we are always available at 1-800-ADOPTION. Whether you are a birth mother or adoptive parent, the most important thing to do is what’s right for you and your baby.