This is the second installment of an article about breastfeeding adopted children. Click here to read the first.
Well, I had invested too much time pumping to quit at that point. And soon I became convinced that it was starting to pay off -- at least a little. My breasts were feeling slightly fuller. And by the time we went to go get four-month-old Joshua in mid-July, I was able to squeeze out a dozen or so drops of milk a day by hand. On the way to Korea, I reminded myself over and over that breastfeeding was only part of being a mommy, and not an essential part at that.
Meeting Joshua for the first time was more like giving birth than I expected. Between jet lag and the fierce Korean humidity, I was tired, sweaty, and ever so eager to see and touch my child. (No revealing hospital gown necessary this time, though!)
It seemed to take forever for his foster mom to put him in my arms, although it really was about 10 seconds. He was gorgeous, and I drank in the sight and feel of him. Later his foster mom took him back and fed him a bottle. When she turned his body in towards her and cradled him tummy to tummy in the perfect nursing position, I was thrilled. That part, at least, would not be new to him.
We didn't get to keep him with us until we were ready to fly back home the next day. On the plane, not wanting to rush him, I gave him a bottle. It was obvious he was a very sucky baby. He nuzzled at the back of my hand. I planned to wait a couple days after getting home to try to nurse him, but I was so eager that within an hour or so of walking in the door, I was in the bedroom trying. No dice. He wailed and stiffened in frustration -- and who could blame him -- he didn't know I was his mommy!
All the next day I bottle-fed him in the nursing position. He was content, but I found it so awkward! I'd never realized that bottle-feeding takes both hands! The next day I began to gradually get him used to the breast. My first step was to thread the tiny tube of the nursing supplementer through a bottle nipple. Then I placed the bottle nipple (without the collar) over my breast. This way Joshua got used to being against my skin, while still sucking on his familiar bottle nipple. His formula now flowed from the supplementer rather than the bottle, and to all outward appearances, he was breastfeeding.
He accepted this step quite easily. The next day I tried a nipple shield over my breast, with the Lactaid threaded through the shield. He hated it -- too unfamiliar. So we went back to the bottle nipple threaded with the supplementer, which calmed him right down.