Saturday, October 05, 2013

Breastfeeding my adopted son

A huge dream of mine since my first son was born was to nurse without stress! Sam was born sick and immediately put into the NICU and so we didn't really get into the swing of nursing until he was 2 months old. It was HARD.

When we decided to adopt, I did a lot of research to find out what it would take to be able to nurse an adopted child. We were thrilled when we were matched with a birthmother that was due in 2 months, just enough time to prep for my milk supply.

I started by taking Fenugreek 3 times a day and drinking Mothers Milk Tea every morning. You can find both of these at GNC. I was also trying my best to drink a beer every day, a good stimulator for milk supply, but I am not of fan of any beer. Some GNC's carry a hops and barley pill, but I never started taking either of those.

After a week of Fenugreek and MMTea, I started to pump with a hospital grade Medela pump.

NOT FUN. But I kept reminding myself that it would be worth it.

I started pumping every 3 hours during the day. After about a week I was starting to get beads of colostrum, but never enough to freeze it.

After a month of Fenugreek, MMT and pumping colostrum, I started to get a clear fluid. At this point I also started Domperidone, a medication not FDA approved in the US, but I was able to bum it off a friend who has a prescription in Canada. Here are some websites where you can learn more about the drug and order a generic brand.

About 4 weeks before our adopted baby was born I was taking 3 Fenugreek and 5 Dom (50mg) 3 times a day. I was also pumping every 3 hours during the day, 2 times at night.

After a week I started producing milk!

The biggest difference with this route is that your milk doesn't really "come in" as it would after a birth. For me it came in slowly, gradually improving supply over the next few weeks. When my son was born on Wednesday, I was producing 1oz out of both breasts. That may not seem like a lot, but it is enough for a newborn and what an amazing experience it is to be able to nurse a baby that I didn't carry.  Totally worth the work! And lucky for me, Miles is a PRO at breastfeeding.

A quote I read when I was researching said to "expect to be able to nurse your adopted baby, not to breastfeed them." My baby is only 4 days old at this point, and although we have had to supplement a few feedings with formula, things are working out great. I am still on my pill regimen and I pump every time I feed him a bottle in hopes that my milk supply will improve as he grows.

What I have to remember, is that there is more to nursing than feeding and the bonding is so important.

UPDATE: At 4 weeks old I went ahead and pumped instead of feeding and found out that I was producing 4 oz of BM a feeding. This was on 60mg (3Xa day) and 3 Fenugreek (3X a day). Unfortunately this was the most I was able to produce and as Miles grew and became more needy, I started to have to supplement more. However, I am still so proud to say that things worked out so well for us and I feel so strong for getting through the worst of it all to be able to have this experience.

Well, back to the newbie! He's quite demanding.


keririckard said...

That is so freaking awesome. Way to go and thanks for posting!

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