Many adoptive mothers want to nurse their babies and thrilled to learn that this is a very real option. A woman does not have to give birth to produce milk. Let’s take a closer look at how this process works and why moms choose to do it.

Induced Lactation

The idea is to stimulate milk production. It generally begins with a schedule of massage and pumping the breast. A physician can also prescribe hormones to help trigger the body to lactate. Ideally, the adoptive mother starts the process before the baby arrives. The milk supply increases over time. Some adoptive mothers can breastfeed without supplementing with formula. However, many will need to use some formula to ensure the baby gets enough nutrition.

Supplemental Nursing Systems

Because adoptions are unpredictable, a baby may arrive before the new mom has had time to build her milk supply. Sometimes, induced lactation does not work. There are a variety of factors that can make it difficult or impossible for some women to lactate. In these situations, mothers can use a supplemental nursing system. These devices allow a mother to simulate breastfeeding so she and the baby experience the benefits of the physical act of breastfeeding. The mother fills the SNS with formula or previously pumped milk. Then, it attaches to the breast and allows the baby to nurse.

Benefits of Breastfeeding an Adopted Infant

There are many documented benefits of breastfeeding. The two most important are bonding and nourishment. For adoptive moms and babies, bonding is the most significant benefit. Breastfeeding requires closeness, which facilitates bonding.

What if I Can’t or Don’t Want to Breastfeed?

While experts believe there are health benefits to feeding a baby breast milk, it’s important to note that infant formula is good nutrition for a baby. Do not feel guilty or sad if you are unable or uninterested in breastfeeding. Some women will tell you breastfeeding is a “must.” The truth is it’s a personal choice, and only you can decide if it is something you want to pursue. Whether or not you breastfeed does not determine your quality as a mother.

Getting Professional Help

Adoptive moms interested in breastfeeding need to visit a doctor to determine the best way to induce lactation. Additionally, they should seek help from a lactation specialist. Breastfeeding comes with many challenges, which are compounded by the necessity to induce milk production. Moms must commit to the process to successfully breastfeed an adopted child. It is not easy for any woman, and especially so when you have additional challenges.

Breastfeeding adopted babies is becoming a common practice. If you are interested in breastfeeding your baby, take comfort in knowing it is a possibility. With the right instruction and effort, you can likely breastfeed your adopted infant.

Ready to Adopt

If you are interested in adopting a baby, contact our licensed adoption professionals at 727-202-8966.


Author: Destiny Adoption Services

Destiny Adoption Services is proud to support and guide birth parents and adoptive families on the journey of adoption. We’re a state licensed nonprofit adoption agency with four decades of adoption experience, and our professional team of experts includes moms, adoptive moms and birth mothers who provide compassion combined with trusted resources and skills.