GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — According to the CDC, babies who are breastfed are less likely to develop asthma, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
It’s also a way for mothers to bond with their babies. Unfortunately, breastfeeding is not always possible or easy for mothers, especially those with an adopted child.
Jessica Donnahoo and her husband adopted her child Saylor 4 years ago. As a former nurse who struggled with infertility, breastfeeding was important to her.
“I just always had this incredible sense of joy when I would help a mama latch the baby on for the first time,” she says.
She knew it was possible to trick her body into producing milk and began a lengthy process of adoptive breastfeeding.
“The protocol we used is the Newman-Goldfarb method, and this is a physician who has come up with a format,” she says.
St. Francis Lactation Consultant Mandy Schaub guided her through the process, which for Donnahoo involved using prescribed hormones to mimic a pregnancy, taking natural supplements and using a hospital grade breast pump for stimulation.
“We try to mimic what would be happening if the baby was actually directly nursing, in terms of trying to help her make milk,” Schaub says.
According to Schaub, some of these same techniques can be used for any mother having breastfeeding issues.
“Stimulation with a pump can cause a rise in hormones that are used for milk-making,” she says. Schaub also has found that pumping months before the baby arrives often leads to higher milk volume for adoptive mothers.
“The mothering hormone oxytocin can be released naturally,” she adds. “So that’s one of the things that can be released just by holding a baby.”
Donnahoo says adoptive breastfeeding is not for everyone, and says low milk production can be discouraging if mothers’ reasons for breastfeeding are solely based on outcome.
She cautions adoptive mothers to weigh the pros and cons before going through the process and have realistic expectations for production.
“It’s a lot of dedication,” she says. “Every 2 to 3 hours I breastfed my son, pumped using a hands-free pump, and I supplemented with donor milk at the same time.”
In general the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed their infants for 6 months and continue breastfeeding while gradually introducing solid foods into the baby’s diet until he or she is 1 year old.
The World Health Organization also recommends breastfeeding exclusively for 6 months, but recommends continuing breastfeeding until the baby is 2 years old or beyond.
To make an appointment with a lactation consultant at the St. Francis Lactation Center, call 864-675-4215. The phone line is covered Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. You can also click here for more information.
To submit a question for our series, click here. You can also hear from experts at Bon Secours St. Francis on this topic and others every Saturday morning at 10am on 106.3 WORD radio.