Adoptive breastfeeding is not only possible, but includes many
advantages. If you are adopting a child that has been abused, or that has
been taken from temporary parents, breastfeeding can actually help the
adopted child heal; helping him/her feel content and enhancing the bonding
Some Moms that adopt a baby that is over six months
old, have found that adoptive breastfeeding really helps to get the baby
relaxed and feeling wanted and safe.
Some Moms might need to use an at-the-breast nursing supplementer for
some feedings. An SNS will ensure that Baby is receiving her breast milk, the
supplement and at the same time, Mom will be increasing her milk
Some Moms take up to 5 months before being able to produce a
full supply of breast milk, others never develop a full breast
milk supply, but every little bit counts.
breastfeeding and milk supply also depends on the occurrence of normal breastfeeding
problems, like bad latch, bad positioning and/or not feeding or pumping enough.
Adoptive nursing allows Mom the opportunity, to enjoy the physical closeness,
skin-to-skin contact and mother-infant connection; same as if it was her own biological child.
Making Adoptive Breastfeeding Possible
How does Relactation work?
When a baby sucks on a mother's breasts, it will trigger milk production, so that the mother does not depend on pregnancy to breastfeed.
When you stimulate the breast enough, your “milk hormones" (prolactin levels) will go up, and therefore stimulate milk production.
Stimulating lactation in mothers who have been pregnant previously, has been found to be easier. This is due to the fact, that their breasts have already gone through a growth process, in which the ducts and alveoli become lactation ready.
What if I don’t produce Enough Breast Milk?
It doesn't matter. You can supplement breast milk with formula, or just have Baby on the breast with only formula. With a supplemental feeding system, your baby will still be getting the benefits of bonding with you, and also will benefit from oral development, which occurs whilst breastfeeding.
What is a Supplemental Feeding Device? How Does it Work?
A nursing supplementer consists of a silicone tube, attached to a milk reservoir. The reservoir is filled with formula, or with breastmilk. The tube is taped to your breast, so that the tip of the tube comes out past your nipple. Baby then sucks on the tube, and receives the milk in the reservoir. This stimulates the breast, which causes you to produce more milk.
Using special drugs that increase supply (metoclopramide) Domperidone: This drug can help you produce more breastmilk. This medication can assist, in developing a more abundant milk supply, faster. Read more about Domperidone here.
Remember that a pump can never remove the same amount of milk as a baby. A pump does not stimulate your breasts like a baby. So always breastfeed baby and then afterwards you can pump, to remove more milk.
Always breastfeed skin to skin when possible. This will not only get your milk flowing, but will improve the bonding process. Kangaroo mother care is recommended.
Stay away from using a pacifier. Pacifier use, takes attention away from the breast.
If your baby is accustomed to drinking out of a bottle, he/she might not want to breastfeed.
Finger feeding is something that some adoptive Moms have found works, this is to prevent the frustration of breast refusal in the beginning. Baby will continue to consume breast milk, whilst slowly being weaned onto the breast.
Many mothers have successfully started breastfeeding their adopted babies at 6 months, so it is possible.
Breastfeeding the Adopted Baby whilst you are already breastfeeding another child.
Some mothers that are still breastfeeding their own babies, adopt
a child and wonder whether the milk will be substantial enough for a
Although you will not be producing colostrum for your adopted baby, breast milk is still superior to formula. Breast milk contains immune protection, growth factors, gut protection and is much easier for a baby to digest.
With adoptive nursing, it is especially important that you get as
much support as possible. Try talking to other adoptive breastfeeding
Another great alternative, for those moms who would like their
adopted baby to receive all the benefits of breast milk, but who just
don’t see chance to breastfeed themselves…they might want to consider a