Breastfeeding is one of the most profound acts as a mother, as it creates an intimate connection between you and your child. Even if your child is born through a surrogate, you can still experience the bond and benefits of breastfeeding your newborn.
In this post, we’ll discuss the benefits of breastfeeding your surrogate born child, as well as the specific steps involved so you can start breastfeeding.
It’s healthy for you and your baby. Studies show that breastfeeding has been linked to a decrease in the risk for several illnesses, such as acute ear infection, diarrhea, asthma, diabetes, and more. That’s because breastmilk is a more natural source of nutrition for infants compared to formula. Breastfeeding can also lead to a decreased risk in breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
It creates a maternal bond to your child. Some women choose to breastfeed because of the sense of attachment and intimacy it nurtures between them and their child. The skin-to-skin contact establishes sensory information between you and your baby, assisting with the maintenance of the baby’s blood sugars, heart and breathing rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation. It can lead to a decreased risk of postpartum depression.
It’s environmentally friendly. Formula requires packaging that eventually ends up in a landfill. It is estimated that for every 100 million babies, 150 million containers of formula are consumed. Breast milk, on the other hand, is renewable and requires no fuel, paper, plastic, or carbon footprint to feed your baby.
It can save you money. Parents can save $1200 - $1500 in expenses switching from formula to breastfeeding in the first year alone. These costs are related to the price of the formula, insurance claims, and medical visits.
Of course, there’s a learning curve and commitment that comes with breastfeeding.
1. Talk to the doctors at the hospital. The first thing you’ll want to do is communicate your desire to breastfeed to the doctors at the hospital of delivery. This will prepare the delivery team to feed the baby by cup or finger feeding if you cannot nurse the baby immediately after the birth.
2. Take hormones to produce breast milk. About 3 or 4 months before the baby’s birth, you should begin taking Estrogen and Progesterone, two hormones that will help you produce breast milk. In some cases, birth control may also be acceptable. Take these hormones up until at least 6 weeks before the birth.
3. Replace hormones with supplements. Closer to the pregnancy, your doctor may recommend taking herbal supplements and medication that will continue the production of breast milk.
4. Buy a pump and start pumping. After taking supplements, you should purchase a breast pump. During the day, you should pump every two hours, and during the night, every 3 hours. For more information on best practices for operating a pump, read Ask Lenore's webpage on the topic.
5. Supplement your milk. Not all women will be able to produce the right amount of milk to sustain their child. Purchase a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS) to help your baby get the right amount of nutrition. Simply pour donated breast milk (or your own) into the container, and then tape the tubes to your chest. The SNS will use both the breast milk and the supplemental milk to ensure your child stays nourished.
Like surrogacy, there is often misunderstanding about breastfeeding despite the various benefits it can offer. With enough research, patience, and effort, breastfeeding can be a rewarding experience for both you and your child.
For more information on breastfeeding a surrogate born baby, visit Ask Lenore, which gives an in-depth, expert explanation of the breastfeeding process.
For more information on parenting, maternity and pregnancy, as well as all things surrogacy, visit ConceiveAbilities' blog today.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.