Adoption and Breast feeding

Mothers who choose the process of adoption and breast feeding often say that setting goals that they were likely to be able to reach influenced their feelings of success throughout the process.

Before setting out on this long and time consuming journey, it is important to set attainable goals. Induced lactation is a process that takes patience, dedication, and education.

Breast feeding is a reasonable option in the setting of adoption accompanying suitable medical treatment, preparation techniques, motivation, determination, and support.

According to the WHO - World Health Organization, abundant empirical research indicates that most women can experience re-lactation or induced lactation when adequately motivated and supported.

Success is not measured only by the production of an adequate supply of milk. Non-nutritive suckling at night and in the morning can be a pleasurable experience for both mother and baby and is said to increase emotional attachment. In a study of 240 adoptive breastfeeding mothers reported by KG Anerbach for the London National Childbirth Trust,

35% had never been pregnant and another 23% had never breast fed before. Over 80% of the babies were exclusively bottle fed before going to their adoptive home. Three quarters of the babies were willing to nurse by the end of the first week of trying. Most infants were under 2 months. More than three quarters of the mothers felt positive about their experience of induced lactation. The bonding experience of breast feeding was generally felt to be more important than milk production. Measured by requirement for supplementation, 63% needed no more than 480 ml of supplemental fluid a day. Fifty four per cent required supplements as long as the mother nursed. A quarter of mothers who had never been pregnant were able to eliminate supplements before weaning the baby off the breast.

Why would an adoptive mother choose breast feeding?

Like biological mothers, adoptive mothers know that breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition and has many additional physical and emotional benefits.

In third world developing countries where successful lactation without the use of unavailable supplementation is the only chance for the baby's survival, many successful situations of adoption and breast feeding have been documented.

Adopted infants in developing countries are usually breastfed.

In a modern and industrialized country, where baby formula can be found in any pharmacy, induced lactation may not be required for the baby to survive but may provide considerable advantages to both mother and baby.

Induced Lactation vs Re lactation

There are two types of mothers who choose adoption and breast feeding, those who have never been pregnant or lactated, who choose a process called induced lactation and those who have been pregnant and or lactated, who choose a process called relactation.

This article focuses on adoption and breast feeding for mothers who have never been pregnant or lactated. For more information about relactation please visit the future article to-be-titled: Relactation.

Induced Lactation

With the use of preparation, medications, artificial aids, proven techniques, and significant support, induced lactation can be achieved.

Most mothers who choose induced lactation are able to produce at least a little milk. It is possible for women who have never been pregnant or never lactated to successfully breastfeed.

Some adoptive mothers can produce a full supply relatively quickly, and some never produce milk at all. Adoptive mothers can try to induce lactation by many different methods and combinations. The more stimulation your breasts receive, either by pump or baby, the more likely you are of producing milk.

There is a wide variation in the amount of milk a mother who induces lactation is able to produce. The majority of adoptive mothers will not produce enough breast milk to exclusively breast feed without supplements. Start with goals of trying to provide some of your baby's nutrition yourself. Work on your set goal while enjoying physical and emotional bonding with your baby.

Increased contact with your baby as in skin-to-skin or kangaroo care and babywearing help you and your new baby form a special closeness.

Whether or not your baby exclusively breastfeeds, you still hold him at every feeding and achieve the same kind of bonding that all babies have with loving mothers and fathers.

Preparing Your Breasts

Preparation of the breasts should be started in advance by using a breast pump for regular stimulation of the breasts and nipples.

Mothers pump as often as the baby would feed - preferably between 8-16 times per 24 hours with a bilateral, electric, hospital-grade pump.

It can take anywhere from days to weeks for milk production to occur.


Read more about increasing milk supply and galactogogues.

In women who have never been pregnant or lactated, preparing for breastfeeding can include both taking lactation-inducing drugs called, galactogogues, and implementing other techniques.

Medical specialists may recommend methods including priming the breasts with the hormone, estrogen by injection, taking it orally or by suppository. Additionally, progesterone may be administered intramuscularly, orally, or by suppository.

Other forms of galactogogues, such as the herbal fenugreek, may be recommended.

Adoption and breast feeding with the help of Fenugreek.


Adoption and Breast feeding

When initial supplementation of breast milk is necessary, other options include formula feeds given immediately after suckling with a cup, spoon, finger-feeder, or with a special type of device that enables you to feed your baby while he is at your breast. This system is known as an SNS - supplemental nursing system.

SNS or Lact-Aid

This device is a line attached to a plastic container that hangs around your neck which supplies formula through a feeding tube placed beside the maternal nipple.

The infant learns to suckle at the breast while obtaining nutrition and does not become accustomed to a bottle. This way, the baby gets enough milk while stimulating your breasts to produce milk.

Supplementation is gradually reduced as maternal milk supply increases .

Consult a specialist for medical consultation regarding adoption and breast feeding.

Information on Surrogacy

Website detailing all aspects of commercial surrogacy, both traditional and gestational surrogates. Written by a 3x surrogate mother.

Click here to view references used in this article about adoption and breast feeding.