In my last post, I discussed breastfeeding and listed some of the benefits of breastfeeding, but you may be wondering if you can breastfeed even though you are making an adoption plan.
The answer is yes! Some adoption agencies and other adoption professionals may tell you that you can not breastfeed, but you can. They may want you not to breastfeed for the simple reason that breastfeeding a baby gives you a chance to bond on such an intimate level that you might change your mind regarding making an adoption plan. They may tell you that it could make things harder on you, which it could, but it is your choice to make.
I’ve known of several birthmothers who just breastfed while in the hospital with their babies so that the babies got the colostrum. I also know one birthmother in a very open adoption who actually pumped milk for a few months for the baby. She froze the milk and then she would get together with the adoptive mother monthly to give her the frozen breast milk. Breast milk can be frozen in sterile, sealable bags or sterile sealed glass or plastic bottle for up to three months in the back of the freezer.
I didn’t breastfeed Charlie. Honestly, I didn’t know I could! I think I probably would have chosen to do it for those three days in the hospital for the simple fact that the colostrum is so beneficial for babies but also wonder if it would have made placing him for adoption more difficult than it already was.
One thing I have occasionally heard people say as a negative for breastfeeding when the mom is making an adoption plan is that breastfeeding will make your milk harder to dry up later. I asked my friend, Lee, who is a birthmother and a lactation consultant about this and she says,
“It’s really a personal decision for the birthmother. There is absolutely no physical reason not to breastfeed except that, with each feed milk production is stimulated which means that drying her up may take a little longer and be more uncomfortable than if she did not feed at all.”
So you do have to take that into consideration.
Lee also shared a little bit of advice on what to do if you are having a hard time getting your milk to dry up once you are done breastfeeding or if you haven’t breastfed at all.
“If you want to dry up your milk, I suggest that you go ask at your local pharmacy for some tablets to do it as step number one. In the meantime, step number two is to hand express/massage your breasts just until you feel comfortable. Over time, your milk will spontaneously go. Don’t express on a regular basis as this’ll just stimulate your body to produce more milk. Do not let yourself get too full/uncomfortable/painful as this can lead to a mastitis (breast infection).
The best way to express is to stand in a warm/hot shower and massage your breasts and let the milk flow out freely. Do this until the feeling of fullness is relieved.
If you get some of the tablets I mentioned and hand massage a couple of times a day (2-3), you should be about 90% dry within 48 – 72 hours.”
Ultimately, breastfeeding is a personal decision, one that only you can make.
Breastfeeding Your Baby: The Benefits