Are you adopting or thinking of adopting? Sad that you will not be able to have a nursing relationship with your child? This post is for you! My friend Amber (Let It Be Glory) is back this week to share a little more with us. Today she is sharing about induced lactation, something I had never heard of before I met her. 🙂
After nursing my first child for 14 months and absolutely loving it, I knew that I was hooked on breastfeeding and wanted to nurse ALL my future children. However, when we decided to adopt our second child, you can imagine my sadness when I thought I would not be able to breastfeed him or her. Then I learned about induced lactation! I learned that I could induce lactation and cause my body to produce breast milk just as if I had given birth!
I knew it was going to be a lot of work to induce lactation and that there was also the risk that I wouldn’t produce very much milk or that the baby we adopted would be too old to nurse by the time we were able to bring him or her home. But, I knew that I had to give it a try.
My Favorite Advantages of Breastfeeding
1. You always have your baby’s food on hand!
Forget worrying about how many bottles you have to pack when you go out or how you are going to keep them cold/ warm them up! Breast milk is always on hand and always the perfect temperature! This is an especially great advantage when you are out and about or in the middle of the night! It’s alot easier to wake up and not have to worry about warming up baby’s bottle while you’re half asleep!
2. It’s Cheaper!
The cost of formula for 12 months is approximately $1000 – $1500 depending on where you live. But, no matter where you live, breast milk is FREE!
3. It Burns Calories!
Lots of calories are burned while breastfeeding. It takes approximately 20 calories to produce an ounce of milk. Also, the uterus of a breastfeeding mother shrinks to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly while breastfeeding, which means you get into your pre-pregnancy clothes more quickly!
4. It’s Better for Baby!
Breastfed babies tend to have less incidence of or less pronounced symptoms of ear infections, respiratory illness, allergies, diarrhea, and vomiting and experience better overall health. IQ levels are also an average of 8 points higher in children who were breastfed.
5. It’s the Perfect Food!
Breast milk is constantly changing in its composition to meet the changing needs of the baby. It has the exact combination of protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and sugars needed for the human infant at various stages of his growth. And it’s all provided in a form more easily digested than infant formula. Breast milk also contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria.
6. It’s Healthy for Mom!
Breastfeeding appears to reduce the mother’s risk of developing osteoporosis in later years. Although mothers experience bone-mineral loss during breastfeeding, their mineral density is replenished and even increased after lactation. Diabetic women improve their health by breastfeeding. Not only do nursing infants have increased protection from juvenile diabetes, the amount of insulin that the mother requires postpartum goes down.Women who lactate for a total of two or more years reduce their chances of developing breast cancer by 24 percent and have been shown to be less likely to develop uterine, endometrial or ovarian cancer.
The benefits of breastfeeding outweighed the risk and work involved in inducing lactation and in February 2012 I began the process of building a milk supply which involved being on a combination of a birth control pill and a drug called domperidone for 5 months. In July of 2012 I began pumping every two hours during the day and twice at night. I did this for three months straight before we were finally able to bring our daughter home. When she came home in October of 2012 at 6 months old I was producing 35 ounces a day!! Despite being bottle fed for the first six months of her life I was able to train her to breastfeed after just a few weeks home!! She became an exclusively breastfed baby and we enjoyed our breastfeeding relationship until she was 16 months old. You can read the whole story with more details here.
The above benefits of breastfeeding are what initially motivated me to try induced lactation, but once we brought our daughter home I realized there is a whole other set of benefits to nursing an adopted child. Not only was the nutrition content of breast milk especially beneficial to her after being fed cows milk with sugar for her first months of life, but there was also an emotional healing that took place with our nursing relationship. Nursing helped my daughter learn to trust and love me after being abandoned by others in the past. It also helped me to bond with my daughter more quickly.
With baby #3 due this Spring, I can’t wait to once again begin breastfeeding! Thankfully, this time I don’t have to induce lactation to do so. It was worth it but a lot of work! =)
To me breastfeeding brings with it sweet sweet memories of nursing my two babies. I LOVED breastfeeding and wish that every woman could have as great an experience as I have had! But whether you bottle feed or breast feed, whether you gave breastfeeding a shot or never tried at all, whether you weaned your baby at one month or at three years, I hope more than anything that you are enjoying your children and treasuring every sweet memory you make with them! They grow up fast!
Thanks, Amber for sharing your story of induced lactation and breastfeeding your adopted baby with us! You can read about adoption, induced lactation, and surrogate pregnancy on Amber’s blog.