Second Time Around
Two and a half years later, J came along. I was more confident. I knew infants can’t be allergic to their mother’s milk. I knew I wanted to breastfeed. And I knew that if anyone came anywhere near my baby with a n*pple in any form besides the ones on my chest, I was going to have someone’s job. J and I were a happily nursing pair for six months, until I began to feel pressured to use my education, and look for a job.
I forcibly weaned her much, much too quickly. It was awful. And for a job that I was at less than three months before coming back home to raise my kids full time. She never really took to a bottle. She used them but not happily/not while I held her, and went to a cup fairly soon after. I always wanted to relactate and nurse her again, but I didn’t know how and so I never took the steps to try it. The internet was barely even in existence in 1994, and I certainly never thought I could go there to find out how to relactate. Not doing that was always a regret for me. We were a breastfeeding team for 6-1/2 months.
A little side note here: If you’re like me, and you stopped breastfeeding early and wish you could start again, please take heart. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! Read on.
When J was 6, we got licensed for foster care. We planned to adopt, and I scoured the internet to find out how I could possibly breastfeed a baby without giving birth. Supply was never an issue for me before, and neither were positioning, nursing in public, you name it… I could do it all. And I was determined. I didn’t know when we would get an “adoptable” baby, but I did know that when we did, I wanted to be ready.
We did get to keep and adopt our very first foster baby. We got him (D1) at birth, but he also had weekly visits with his biological parents until they relinquished their rights to us when he was 9 months old. That was NOT the ideal situation in which to begin breastfeeding, so we didn’t do it with him. I really wanted to, but “getting caught” was a risk we weren’t willing to take. We didn’t want to lose him over it. I researched, prayed and waited.
We fostered a number of babies and toddlers after we finalized D1’s adoption. When D1 was 21 months old, we got D2. He was also newborn, and when our worker at HomeFinders called me and told me “Dawn, I have your baby”, he really was.
His birth parents had relinquished him at the hospital. He had legal ties to them because it wasn’t final yet, but there was no relationship. No visits. No nothing. And I was ready for him!
I had researched until my eyes bugged out of my head. The Internet is a wonderful thing! I don’t even remember how I found The Adoptive Breastfeeding Resources Website, but I am so glad that I did. There, I connected with other prospective and adoptive moms who, like me, wanted to breastfeed our adopted babies, as well as many who were already doing it.
Some of us had prior biological children or pregnancies (which does make a difference in your ability!), others had none. (Click the graphic to go there.)
Some of the things that I learned at the ABRW were GOLDEN:
- That breast milk is a happy bonus in adoptive nursing
- That given patience, any baby will nurse
- That given support, any mother can breastfeed
- That a successful nursing relationship doesn’t have to have a drop of breast milk in it
- That no matter how small the amount, any breast milk you can provide your baby is worth it. Any amount. Even a teaspoon. Or 1ml.
- That given enough time, most women ARE able to bring in some milk eventually