Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sucking

I can't remember if I've talked about it here, but we've decided that I'm going to try to breastfeed the baby. It's an amazing thing that I really want to do, really more for the bond than anything else. And if my body does produce a little milk, more power to it.

I haven't really told many people about it outside of a few family members and a select group of friends. I don't know how well it would be received by the "public" and I don't think I want or need to explain myself before hand.

If you've never heard of this don't worry, neither had I until the end of last year. For the life of me, I cannot remember where I heard about it, maybe online or something came up while I was doing adoption searches. But I'm really excited about it.

Any woman can lactate. You don't need to have ever been pregnant, you don't even have to have a uterus. It's all about the sucking. Here's a brief anatomy lesson.

When a mother gives birth the baby doesn't receive milk right away (most of you know this) and the baby gets colostrum and it takes a few days for the mothers' milk to come in. It's the sucking of the baby that signals the brain to release pitocin (and another hormone, but I can't remember right now) and that is what brings in the milk. That is the simple version, in theory it is a lot easier for a biological mother to create enough breast milk due to the extra hormones going on during pregnancy. But by no means does that mean an adoptive mom can't do it as well.

There are several different ways to go about inducing your milk supply. You can take birth control paired with a medication called Domperidone(not sure about the spelling, but it sounds like the champagne) to induce lactation. This requires a lot of medication and usually needs to be started about six months before baby arrives. This is expensive, and also, you can't get the medication in the U.S, you have to have a dr here write a prescription and send it to a Canadian pharmacy to ship to you. It's all very legal that way, just very expensive.

You can also do nothing, just wait until the baby arrives and use a supplementer (Medela SNS or a Lact-Aid). This gives the baby the nutrition he needs, either through formula or banked breastmilk, and stimulates the hormones needed to create milk.

Or you can pump ahead of time. This is what I am doing, as well as using a supplementer once the baby is here. I was given a Medela Harmony on Sunday by a fantastic woman in my bible study who got it for FREE and gave it to me for FREE. I love FREE. So I started pumping 5-10 minutes per side whenever I feel like it. Sunday I only pumped once because I didn't get it until late, yesterday I pumped once in the morning and twice when I got home. I didn't pump this morning because I was running late, but that's ok, I don't have to pump if I don't want to. And the nice thing about this is that if I only pump once a day during the week but have the time to pump 6 or 8 times during the weekend I can. And I may never be able to produce more than drops in the pump, it's all about the sucking and sending the message to the brain.

There are some draw backs to this method. If you pump and pump for a long time and then the adoption falls through, some woman can't handle that. It's an emotional process preparing your body to do something it should do on it's own, but can't. For some, for me, it's knowing that this is the ONE thing my body has a shot of doing when it comes to anything baby.

And pumping really isn't a great way to know what your supply is like. Some women don't get a lot of milk while pumping, but have a great supply while baby is nursing. More than likely I will never produce enough milk to be the only source of food for our baby, but if I can give him or her any breastmilk at all, it will be worth all the trouble.

Only one full day of pumping so far and I can already feel a difference in my breasts. Mr. Sparky thinks it's the funniest thing he's ever seen. But one up-side to the pumping? When I get home from work I sit on the couch and pump. Mr. Sparky and I can have some one-on-one time without distraction of getting dinner made, paying bills or anything else. It's just 20-30 minutes of us time. It's wonderful. And what child doesn't benefit from parents who have a strong relationship.

3 comments:

wanttobeamom said...

I hadn't heard of this before, but I say More Power to You!!! I think it's a great idea and a wonderful way for you to bond with the baby. I hope it goes well for you.

Mrs Marcos said...

I have heard of this...best wishes on it turning out for you and your future nursling :)

Yoka said...

Thanks for this post. I have thought about it as well, but probably will go with bottle feeding.