Saturday, April 9, 2011

Controversy of breastfeeding your adopted child...

Yes! It is completely possible and many adoptive Mother's do it. Some with the help of drugs, herbs and a lot of pumping! You have a great chance of successfully breastfeeding your child if you have previously breastfed.

I thought I would share an excerpt of a great article I found on e magazine. The full article can be found here.

"Many people do not like the idea of a woman breastfeeding her adopted child. Some feel that it is unnatural because it isn't biologically that mother's child. Others believe that if lactation has to be forced, it isn't natural and shouldn't happen. If you decide that breastfeeding your adopted child is the best choice for both you and your child, just know that you may experience some negative reactions. It will help you be emotionally prepared."

I really enjoyed a forum member's comment...
"I would agree that a few (not many) people don't like the idea. I don't however, think that anyone needs to take it into consideration is deciding whether or not to breastfeed her baby. For one thing, whether or not someone out there might disapprove is generally not a good criterion for making personal decisions. Especially when it comes to something like adoption, which most people have little or no experience with (ditto, breastfeeding), we need to be able to stand on our own two feet and not depend on the approval of others.

A new adoptive mom who wants to breastfeed has just as much right to do so as anyone, and does not need to apologize or have anyone's permission. The more confidence she can have, and project to others, the better. For some moms, suggesting that there will be many people who disapprove is likely to hamper the development of that confidence and prevent her from succeeding or even from trying. Expectations of disapproval from others can become self-fulfilled prophecies, too.

The suggestion that it might be "unnatural" really touches a nerve, with me. To those who suggest that, I would ask, "Which is more natural; for a human baby to suckle the breast of a human woman, getting at least some amount of human milk, or for a human baby to suckle a rubber or plastic nipple, getting only something that was formulated in a laboratory, based on milk that comes from a cow or a plant?" If anyone actually says that the latter is more natural, I would have to question that person's sensibilities, if you know what I mean! (That's not to criticize bottle feeding or formula, just saying that it is farther from the "natural" situation of a baby being breastfed by the same mother who gave birth to him.)

I have to say, though, that in my considerable experience, most people who are accepting of a bio mother breastfeeding accept breastfeeding by an adoptive mother, too. The biggest issue, and the only one where I think we need to consider what anyone else thinks, is about doing it in public; not whether we do it, but how we do it. We have every right to nurse our babies in any place where we have a right to be at all. We can be considerate of the comfort levels of others by learning to nurse in public without attracting undo attention to ourselves. A mom who does so has every right to expect consideration in return.

There are a few people in our lives (relatives, physicians, social workers) to whom it may be advantageous to share something about how we are able to breastfeed babies we did not give birth to. It's very satisfying when we can show others that we are raising happy, healthy, breastfed adopted babies! "

Very well said!!!

I have given this some thought and will continue to do so. However, I can't help but chuckle, thinking about the looks and comments I would receive. Breastfeeding an adopted baby might be controversial - but what about breastfeeding an adopted child that is a different race! I could just image the thoughts going through people's minds when they see me - white woman breastfeeding a black baby (or other race), sitting next to my white husband, with  2 white children running around! lol!


Jamie said...

I am currently breastfeeding my biological two (almost three) year-old and my adopted 4.5-year-old (adopted from Ethiopia) We adopted him seven months ago. His mother breastfed him up until the day he came to the orphanage so it was an easy transition.I was lucky to be producing milk from my biological son and his situation allowed for easy and accepted latching. It helped so much with attachment. I wish it was this easy for everyone.

What was hard for us was the general nonacceptance by almost everyone because it is such a foreign idea. it is so sad they don't see how much it is helping our child feel like he is part of the family and it is helping all of us bond. Plus, his immune system is getting a boost from the milk.

So glad you posted about this!


Jo said...

That's awesome Jamie! Unfortunately, you not only have to face society dissaproval from not only BF'ing your transracially adopted son, but an older child as well. What many people do not understand is that most adoptive children naturally regress when they come home. Bed wetting, bottle feeding etc. This helps with attachment and therapists recommend that this is nurtured. Looking at this realistically - bottle is not natural. Breastfeeding is! There is no doubt that this would be beneficial for you and your son! Good for you for trudging along and doing what you feel is right! I stopped BF'ing my son at 13 months (because of pressure) and I really regret it!
Thanks for stopping in!