Breastfeeding is something I've been thinking a lot about and can't decide what to do. I thought I decided I would not do it, but now am starting to change my mind. Here are the thoughts swirling around.
1. I am of the mind that breastfeed is what newborns and new moms do. My older sister was only weaned because I came along and my mom breastfeed me until I was 18 months. This is despite the fact that all other people my age were apparently formula fed as babies. All babies I remember being around growing up were breastfed, at least for a while. In fact, I was so used to seeing people breastfeed, I was surprised when I became an adult and started paying attention to parent-type articles in the news that breastfeeding was controversial or something that people thought they had to convince someone to do. I mean, in my world everyone did it. Sure, maybe some people had a more difficult time than others and stopped earlier, but it was the default method of feeding newborns and young babies.
So, yes, I want to breastfeed. The thought of not being able to breastfeed reminds me of all the other things I am not able to do (have a baby with my genes, feel a baby move inside me, give birth, etc.). This is one more thing that separates me from all the other mothers out there. Learning that it may be possible to induce lactation and breastfeed an adopted infant makes me think this can be a way to get back all that I am missing.
2. Inducing lactation is unpredictable. Some people can do it with no problem. Some people never seem to get much milk. There are protocols out there that supposedly help to increase milk supply, but having battled infertility and hormonal treatments for several years now--and all the various herbs, supplements, medicines, protocols and everything that goes along with that--I am ready to be done with hormones and herbal supplements. Especially ones that can have side effects, unknown long-term repercussions, and are not approved for the use to which they are being put. I did that with fertility drugs and don't want to do that again.
3. I tend to get frustrated easily. Having a newborn is already a stressful time. Why do I want to add to that stress by trying something that might now work? Especially given how unpredictable it is?
4. Added to the frustration is the lack of control that is involved in adoption. When I read about general breastfeeding advice, everything says that if there is some reason the baby can't breastfeed right away or there is trouble in the beginning, the important thing is to not give the baby a bottle, but use another method of feeding. Or use special nipples. In general do whatever you can to avoid having the baby become familiar with bottle feeding and get the baby on your breast as quickly and often as possible. I tend to laugh at that when I think about how that advice interacts with adoption. I will likely have zero influence on anything that happens to the baby for the first few days. I don't know how this particular hospital thinks about adoption. Some are supportive, but some are not. Maybe if the nurse is supportive of adoption they might think about me. I am going to be spending those first few days stressing over whether the birthmother changes her mind, not what type of nipple the bottle has.
5. If this was a conversation I was having with a real person, rather than in my head, this is probably the point when someone would tell me that breastfeeding an adopted infant is totally do-able. These obstacles can be overcome. They would bring up all the success stories. I don't doubt the success stories. But I do find it odd that when reading advice about breastfeeding aimed toward adoptive parents, it has a tone that is positive and something that comes naturally and is totally possible no matter what. But breastfeeding advice aimed at pregnant women has the tone of the need to persevere and how to overcome all the difficulties you will encounter and how it is totally common to find it not easy to do at all. Do they not think that we read both of these sets of advice? I mean, if people who are pregnant and have bodies with all the right hormones and start nursing right away and have the ability to dictate to hospitals how a baby should be fed have so many difficulties, isn't it even more difficult with all the added obstacles of adoption?
5 months ago