"My Proudest Accomplishment" A Story of adoptive breastfeeding.
When we first began the adoption process, breastfeeding was not even on my radar.
It wasn't until after we were matched that I started to look into the possibility of it. I was led to Teri Mitchell through the Le Leche online group. I met with Teri just to find out if breastfeeding could even be an option for me and
she quickly encouraged me that it was absolutely possible.
I decided to give it a shot knowing that I would never have any regrets.
I immediately began on the protocol that Teri recommended with the Domperidone and herbs. Our little girl was born a few weeks earlier than we'd expected so I had only been on the Domperidone for two weeks at that point. I remember the night she was born we were able to get a room in the neonatal unit and the lactation consultant on duty came in and after I explained my situation she hooked me up to a breast pump for the first time.
After a few minutes I began to see some white foam on my nipples and I was a little freaked out and I asked what it was and she said "that's your milk!"
We were surprised to say the least. I was able to get little bits with each pumping those first three days in the hospital. I remember all the nurses would come in and say how impressed they were. I'm not sure if any of them even knew it was possible themselves!
I started using an SNS in the hospital to supplement with formula but to begin the actual breastfeeding. She actually took to it quite naturally. It was such a surreal feeling to sit there in the hospital room breastfeeding our baby that I had not given birth to.
When we went home on day four I started using the Lactaid Teri had recommended and I liked it so much better than the SNS. I put myself on a very strict schedule of the Domperidone, herbs (blessed thistle & fenugreek), using the Lactaid while supplementing for every feed and then pumping in between each feed. I started to get small amounts during pumps, a few ounces each time. I would then use those to supplement with and gradually needed less and less formula. I think it was somewhere around six or seven weeks that I had built up a full supply and no longer needed formula.
What an exciting day that was!
I continued with this protocol for a few months and then gradually dropped both herbs.
Somewhere around 5 or 6 months I experimented with lowering my Domperidone dosage and nothing changed. So I got it down to a lower dose I was happy with.
At seven months old I stopped pumping, first because I had too much milk in our freezer that she couldn't possibly drink quickly enough, but also because we moved overseas.
[note from Teri: This is when she donated over 300 ounces to another mother!!]
I had reached my goal.
At twelve months I stopped the Domperidone not knowing what would happen but satisfied that I had reached my goal. And to my surprise my body took over and continued to produce milk as if nothing had changed. Of course by this point she was eating solid foods and my milk was supplementary, but we both took comfort and joy in it so I continued.
At Christmas time, when she was 16 months old, she got sick for the very first time (which I wholeheartedly believe her healthy immune system was a result of the breastmilk) and wouldn't eat solids for a week or so. I was able to breastfeed her solidly enough to sustain her during that time and was once again so thankful.
After that bout of illness I started a very gradual weaning process of dropping one of her usual feeds every couple of weeks. By month 18 we were down to about three times a day and the next month two. At 20 months I only nursed her once at evening time. At 21.5 months we stopped completely and she really didn't even fuss much. I was preparing myself for some serious meltdowns because the other times that's what happened. But not this time, I know that means that she was ready. And I was good with that.
Not to say it was all rainbows and sunshine, as I did battle many bouts of clogged ducts, which was not fun. Teri also diagnosed baby girl with a lip and tongue tie, which we had successfully revised.
I can honestly say that breastfeeding has been one of my proudest accomplishments in life and I would not trade it for the world.
Not only did I get to provide my baby girl with the nutrients and antibodies she needed, but we also had
but we also had the most precious bonding time ever
I have been truly blessed by this opportunity and success and I hope to encourage other adoptive moms out there with my story. It is possible and Teri helped make it happen. She is such a wealth of knowledge and was so encouraging throughout my journey and I am so grateful to have had her as my lactation consultant, she is truly gifted.
Thank you to this mother for sharing her story. Each of us have a unique lived experience, with varying struggles and successes. The journey to parenting through adoption has so many ups and downs.
Many congratulations to beautiful family!
If another adoptive mother would like to nurse her baby,
be encouraged that it's possible!