Breastfeeding and Adoption

I am 41 years old. I have two children, ages eight and six, both of whom were breastfed. We are thinking of adopting an infant, and I would like to breastfeed him/her. How can this be accomplished?

-- Carmen Bruce

Question:

How exciting! There are some wonderful articles that you might like to read on LLL's Web site at http://www.lalecheleague.org/ about inducing lactation . Basically, it is a matter of providing stimulation to the breast, signaling the production of milk. This can be done by use of a hospital-grade breast pump, used at intervals that mimic a nursing baby's pattern--every three hours during the day and a couple of times during the night.

Once you have the baby, putting him/her to the breast will be the best stimulator of your milk. Many adoptive mothers find the supplemental nursing system (SNS) to be very helpful. This works by putting your expressed milk or formula into a bottle that hangs around your neck. Then tiny tubing is run from the bottle to your nipple, secured with tape. When the baby nurses, s/he gets the supplement as well as any milk you produce. Some mothers are able eventually to stop using the SNS.

Since you have lactated before, you should have a good chance of relactating. Contact your local La Leche League leader for more information. You can find one near you by searching our Web site or calling 1-800-LALECHE. Ask for the reprint "Nursing Your Adopted Baby," also available through the LLL catalogue. A book called Breastfeeding the Adopted Baby, by Debra Stewart Peterson, is also available through your local La Leche League group.

-- LLLezlie

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