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Can I Breastfeed if I Adopt?

Updated on September 30, 2014
Breastfeeding an adopted child is not easy, but can be done.
Breastfeeding an adopted child is not easy, but can be done. | Source

Tips for Breastfeeding an Adopted Baby

Are you in the process of adopting a baby? Are you wondering if you can breastfeed your adopted child? Are you researching adoption and curious about adoptive breastfeeding? Y

es, most adoptive mothers can breastfeed their babies. In fact, in February of 2005 the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended pediatricians support adoptive breastfeeding. It can be a challenging process, and is not for everyone, but it is possible. If you are considering breastfeeding an adopted child, these tips might help you.

Contact a Lactation Consultant

Your best resource would be to contact a breastfeeding consultant. They have received special training, and many have experience with adoptive breastfeeding. Visit the International Lactation Consultant Association website here to search a directory.

Not all lactation consultants are listed, however. If you can't find one listed there, call your local hospital and ask for the lactation consultants. You might also ask for referrals at a medical supply store in your area that provides breastfeeding supplies. If you live in a large city, google your city's name and "breastfeeding store" to find one close to you.

The lactation consultant will start you on a program to help your body to produce breast milk. This will include pumping, taking Fenugreek and other herbs, and possibly medication. You might have to see your OBGYN for more a prescription. In addition, the lactation consultant can help you with latching issues, breastfeeding problems and much more.

La Leche support and encourages adoptive moms.
La Leche support and encourages adoptive moms. | Source

Visit a La Leche League Meeting

While I have not breastfed an adopted child, I have met a mother who did through a local La Leche group. If you can handle being around pregnant bellies, visit a meeting or two before the adoption. You will find support, advice and referrals. If you do choose to breastfeed your baby, consider joining LLI and paying for a membership for continued support. You might even meet another mom who has adopted and is breastfeeding.

You will also have an opportunity to attend a La Leche League convention. At the conference, you can attend helpful classes on breastfeeding and possibly converse with other moms who have experience in adoptive breastfeeding.

Research products that assist with adoptive breastfeeding.

You will probably need to supplement with formula. However, you can still feed your baby at your breast using a special device such as a Lact-Aid (click here to visit the website) or a Supplemental Nursing System, produced by Medela. Your lactation consultant will provide advice, however, it is great to start researching the products now.

I personally spoke with the inventor of the Lact-Aid several years ago before she passed away. She herself breastfed her adopted babies.

Online message boards can provide you with advice and tips for adoptive breastfeeding.  You will also connect with other moms who have been in your situation.
Online message boards can provide you with advice and tips for adoptive breastfeeding. You will also connect with other moms who have been in your situation. | Source

Find online support.

You can connect with hundreds of other mothers in your situation online. There are support forums available. One to try is the Adoptive Breastfeeding Resource here. It is not an active board, but there are plenty of tips available. Also the forum has a section here for adoptive breastfeeding. You are also welcome to ask for advice on general breastfeeding forums. Visit the La Leche league message boards here.

Read books about adoptive breastfeeding.

La Leche League International has published Breastfeeding an Adopted Baby and Relactation. You can find it on and other sites.

Another book to try is Breastfeeding the Adopted Baby by Debra Stewart Peterson. These books will provide tips and assistance for producing milk, getting your baby to latch and more. These are just five tips for help with breastfeeding an adoptive child.

Hundreds of mothers around the world have successfully nursed their adopted babies. Some mothers have even nursed a baby that was adopted after the age of one. Breastfeeding an adopted child is a great choice. But, remember, formula is okay too. You also have the option of purchasing breast milk from a milk bank. Ask your pediatrician for advice.

Choose the best decision for you and your family.

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