Adoption is a beautiful way to welcome children into your family, whether they’re babies or older children; children from abroad or closer to home; from foster care or through an agency. Adoption can vary so much, just like the shades of skin, ages, stages and personalities of the children you welcome home. Bryan and I adopted our two boys at birth, five weeks apart (have you read our story?). Malachi is Native American, African-American and Caucasian, and Isaiah is African-American. Most passerby see our double stroller and assume twins -- until they take a closer look! They often have the curiously awkward “How could this be?” question, and we smile and share the story of bringing our family together. Adoption means we didn’t fit the mold: we created a new one!
When it came to feeding our baby sons, we had to move quickly: Malachi was born only ten days after we got “the call.” We assumed formula was the only way forward until a friend told us we could bottle feed the boys using donated breast milk, or “milk sharing.” She also explained that I could induce lactation for my adopted baby. While I was intrigued, I was so stressed about our rapid timeline that we didn't pursue that option. I wish I could have talked to amazing women who had been successful. With some research, patience and determination, adoptive mothers can induce lactation to feed their babes au naturale. In fact, breastfeeding an adopted baby is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. It’s common for quantity to be lower, but a combination of breast and bottle feeding could be perfect for your new babe. And nothing beats that skin-to-skin contact, which of course you can achieve through breast or bottle feeding -- or both! We had a really sweet bonding experience through bottle feeding. Everyone's journey is different, but it's important to know you have choices when deciding how to feed your baby.
Check back November 15th and November 19th for these two incredible stories about our moms' success at inducing lactation to breastfeed their adopted babies. I learned so much from chatting with them and have been so excited to share their stories with you!