How Long Should You Supply Breast Milk to Intended Parents?

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How Long Should You Supply Breast Milk to Intended Parents?

As a surrogate, you may be wondering about providing breast milk postpartum for your intended parents and, specifically, how long to do so. This will be a shared decision between you and your intended parents to choose what is best for you. Ultimately, there is no one correct answer to this question; however, there are numerous factors to consider.

Learn how to suppress lactation after birth

Assessing Intended Parent Needs

The length of time in which you provide breast milk is a shared decision between the surrogate and the intended parents. It will depend on how long the intended parents want breast milk and how long you, as the surrogate, wants to pump. Together, you will decide what the optimal length of time you will provide breast milk. Because breast milk offers a host of health benefits, your intended parents may want it for as long as possible. Newborn babies will not require as much milk; however, as they grow, they will become hungrier and need a larger amount of milk. That being said, the more you pump, the more your body produces.

If you are not providing breast milk for your intended family, the intended mother can also breastfeed. Should they need breastfeeding support, they can utilize a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). Another option is formula feeding.

If your intended family does not choose to have you provide breast milk for their baby, you may choose to suppress lactation. You may also choose to continue your giving journey and donate your breast milk to a local milk bank.

Assessing Surrogate Needs

Additionally, you must also consider how long you, as a surrogate, would want to provide breast milk. You have your own unique milk supply you can offer to the baby, but pumping can be a time-consuming, physically challenging, and emotionally challenging process. You may even experience irritation and soreness through your pumping journey. Plus, if you are not local to your intended parents, you will need to evaluate how often you will need to ship breast milk to them. Here are some tips from HMBANA Board Member and lactation expert Lenna Gregory on How to Pump, Ship and Donate Your Breast Milk.

Understanding The Breast Milk Pumping Timeline

If you are still thinking about how long to provide breast milk, gaining a better understanding of the general pumping timeline can be helpful.

During Pregnancy & The First Days

Milk production begins as soon as the second trimester; your body starts producing colostrum, the first type of breast milk in preparation for providing nourishment after birth. After delivery, you will begin to pump breast milk, and you will be providing transitional milk for about a couple weeks, which is when mature milk typically comes in.
As far as baby feeds go, at first, feeding sessions will likely be every two to three hours, though these can start to spread out after the baby’s first week. Keep in mind that, during this time, babies will go through cluster feeding phases.

The First Month to 6 Months Old

Exclusive breast milk is recommended for the first six months of an infant’s life. Babies will go through growth spurts during this time and may continue to cluster feed. After this time period, they can continue to have breast milk with the introduction of solid foods through their first year or so

So, When Is The Right Time?

Deciding on the length of time you will provide breast milk is a personal decision. When it comes to their little one, no matter if they are with breast milk, formula, or both, as the saying goes, “fed is best”. Have additional questions about breastfeeding and breast milk? We offer more blog content on these topics, and we also recommend speaking with a trusted healthcare professional.