Breastfeeding your adopted child
Since induced lactation produces low volumes of milk at first, and no colostrum, how is the baby’s nutritional status guaranteed in the early days of the process? Many women use a feeding tube device. This is a bag or bottle which is worn suspended on the mother’s chest. These devices have thin, silicone feeding tubes which are taped to the nipple with hypoallergenic surgical tape. The baby sucks the breast, and milk flows through the tubes as through a straw, delivering donor milk or formula directly at the breast. This is one way to avoid conditioning a baby to expect the quicker flow and more formed nipple of bottle teats (thought to be the reason for the condition called “nipple confusion”).
Mothers who are attempting to induce lactation can get help and support from informed sources. Local La Leche League Leaders will be able to help women find information on the subject and may be able to connect an adopting mother with other women who have induced lactation. Lactation consultants provide equipment (feeding tube devices, electric breast pumps), networking with other similar clients, and expertise to help the adopting mother get started.
The lactation consultant may also be able to refer physicians in the community who are supportive of the process. Many U.S. doctors do not know that induced lactation is feasible. Ideally, adopting families interested in induced lactation will seek open dialog and information sharing with the baby’s doctor, both for growth-monitoring purposes and to help make this a learning experience for everyone!
Auerbach, K. and Avery, JL. “Induced Lactation: A study of adoptive nursing by 240 women,” American Journal of Diseases of Children, 1981, 135:240-243.
Jelliffe, D.B. and Jelliffe, E.F.P. “Non-Puerperal Induced Lactation,” Pediatrics, 1972, 50:170-171.
Sutherland, A. and Auerbach, K. “Relactation and Induced Lactation,” Lactation Consultant Series (Unit 1), 1985, La Leche League International.
Abstract of “Induced Lactation: A Study of 37 Non-Puerperal Mothers,” by K. Nemba
“Of a series of 37 non-puerperal women aged between 19 and 55 years who requested bottle-feeding, 27 were known to have completed a lactation induction programme and 24 (89 per cent) of these women were known to be successfully breast feeding well nourished children. All 11 women who had never previously lactated were successful. Of the three mothers in whom induction was unsuccessful, two obtained a bottle from other sources and both their children were malnourished.
This study indicates that given a high degree of motivation combined with medication, support, and encouragement, lactation induction is likely to be highly successful and may thus be an important factor in child survival.” Papua, New Guinea.
Copyright 1996. The American Surrogacy Center, Inc.(TASC), Marietta, GA
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