Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Adoptive Breastfeeding

Oh adoptive breastfeeding. This is a topic I have wanted to write about for a LONG time, but there was always something else on my mind that took precedent. If you are in any way uncomfortable with the topic of breastfeeding, this is not the post for you. First of all, I know many of you are thinking "what? I didn't even know that was possible". Yes, it is possible to induce lactation without ever giving birth, however it is not easy. Long before we knew about the twins, I knew I wanted to breastfeed our adopted child. I joined a Facebook group and began learning about different ways to go about doing this. Some woman took meds, others just pumped and used herbs, some followed a "protocol" that has been written up for this purpose. Some woman induced before being matched with a baby, some started when matched and others waited until they had a baby in their home.

I fell into the third group even though I kind of wanted to fall into the second group, but didn't out of fear and being unsure if I wanted to take meds or not. At the end of the day I started taking meds and herbs and using a Lact-Aid, which is a supplemental nursing system that allows moms to nurse at the breast through a thin tube that runs along the breast and attaches to a bag full of milk. I was so excited to get started, but I had no idea how challenging this would prove to be. Asher had trouble with the Lact-Aid, so we relied on bottles initially for him. Lucas had no problem at all with the Lact-Aid, but for whatever reason, I found it more cumbersome to clean than bottles and often times in my exhaustion and haste, reached for whatever was quickest. I also didn't have a nursing cover and we were around people often enough that I was insecure and once again relied on a bottle. Lastly, if the babies were hungry at the same time and I was alone, I couldn't master nursing Lucas and bottle feeding Asher at the same time, since no baby should be fed laying on his back, but especially not babies with Down syndrome. I began producing drops of milk, but felt discouraged that I wasn't dedicated enough to use the Lact-Aid at nearly every feeding. 

Looking back the ways to remedy this would have been to get 5-6 Lact-Aid trainer systems so that I could prep them ahead of time and wash less frequently and it probably would have been beneficial to work on inducing ahead of time. 

All of that being said, we were incredibly blessed to have not only our boys' Momma Kate pump for us, but we have also had several other amazing women donate breastmilk so that we are still able to give our boys half formula and half breastmilk at every feeding! This may sound crazy to some, but for us, it has been an awesome gift, especially when Lucas couldn't tolerate any formula that we tried. 

In addition, while I may not have been able to give my boys much more than a few ounces of my own milk, I have been able to give them the gift of comfort nursing and that has meant almost as much to me as being able to breastfeed them, and for that, I am incredibly thankful. 

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