Breastfeeding the Adopted Baby
The amount of milk an adoptive parent may produce varies widely. You may find that you are able to provide all of your baby's nutritional needs. For most parents it is more realistic to plan on supplying part of the nutrition your baby needs while supplementing breastfeeding with a bottle or lactation assistance device. These devices usually consist of a bag for milk or formula that you can hang around your neck. A thin tube extends to your nipple, allowing the baby to drink even when your supply is not sufficient for all of their needs. These can be obtained through the La Leche League and other sources.
Breastfeeding without giving birth is possible because the hormones necessary for producing milk can be produced through stimulating the breasts or taking medication or supplements. Using an electric breast pump several times a day before the baby arrives is the ideal. This stimulates your body to produce lactation hormones such as prolactin. However many adoptive parents don't know the exact date of arrival for their baby until the baby has already been born.
There are a number of great resources for adoption breastfeeding. The links on the right side of this article are a great place to start. You may also wish to contact your local La Leche League for great advice and support.
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