Monday, August 18, 2008

Adoptive Nursing Journal

Please feel free to ask any questions or share your experiences.

6-26-09 I never did get that cycle I was expecting after stopping the BCP. I didn't think much of it since I was only on the pills for about two weeks, my cycles are irregular, and pumping has interfered with regular cycles before. Then we found out the due date was actually July 14th and not June 14th. Pumping had been very painful and I thought that maybe I had a yeast problem. Since, I had another month of waiting, I decided to cut out the foods that can contribute to a yeast problem; cheese, lots of fruits, dried fruits, sugar, potato chips, etc. I can't eat bread so I wasn't eating any yeast anyway.

Right away my stomach hurt and I was nauseous. It was annoying but I still thought it was part of the yeast die off. After a week and a half I began to wonder if I was pregnant. I hated to take another pregnancy test and see a negative result. I also thought that would mean we wouldn't be able to adopt the FL baby. But on Tuesday night I finally took a test and it was positive. We were blown away and still had a hard time believing it. We are even more excited that we still have to opportunity to adopt the FL baby.

My plans for nursing the Florida baby are a bit revised considering the circumstances. I'm going to try and nurse her just a few times a day with the Lact-Aid and let Mike feed her a bottle the rest of the times. I'm very sore but hope I can tolerate and enjoy it. It would be wonderful if I can nurse her without the supplementor in March after the new baby comes home. That would be amazing!

6-6-2009 A dear sweet adoptive nursing friend sent me the medicines I needed to start the drug protocol. I started with the birth control pills which are supposed to trick your body into thinking it's pregnant. The plan was to stop taking the pills after placement and start taking the domperidone to help build the milk supply. Then my friend told me I needed to take the domperidone with the BCP pills so I started them this week.

I ended up having the same trouble that I did with the Reglan. The domperidone's purpose is to speed up digestion for diabetic patients and alleviate nausea. However, for me, it was triggering low blood sugar type reactions, nausea and constant hunger. These are problems I already have to work very hard to manage and could not keep up with the drug. My friend said the BCP could me making me nauteous, but I was on the BCP for two weekes before starting the domperidone.

In addition, stopping the BCP would trigger withdrawl bleeding, i.e. a period. My periods tend to be extremely painful and the idea of dealing with that and a new baby and the travel was not appealing. So, I'm stopping all the drugs and just sticking with the herbs, fenugreek, nettles and blessed thistle. They never caused me any trouble and helped slightly with the supply.

I was producing about a teaspoon a day before starting the BCP. I expected a drop in supply because of the pills and I traveled two weekends which meant I missed out on pumping regularily. So, now I'm only get a few drops each time. It's such a slow process. At least I have the comfort of being able to offer donated milk and still enjoying the nursing relationship with the Lact-Aid.

5-16-2009 So, after only of month of being active with American Adoptions, we have been chosen by a birth mom in Florida who is due June 26. It is the just the encouragement I needed to keep pumping. There's really no time to start the drug protocols now and I don't want to be messing with my hormones during this potentially stressful time. Maybe I'll give it a try for the next adoption.

5-2-2009 I've been pumping every three hours and once during the night for 15-20 minutes. I've already experienced changes and fullness. I'm only getting a few drops at a time but I know that can take two months to just get 2-4 oz. oz. per day. My secret to getting up in the middle of the night without waking my spouse? Drinking a large glass of water before bed.

I had a dream the other night that I was holding a friend's newborn baby boy and it made my milk let down and leak through my shirt. I can't wait to be holding my own little baby.

4-16-2009 So, I've been debating with myself about how much time I would invest into adoptive nursing. I don't regret the time I spent with Amanda, but my supply was never very great and it was a lot of work. How much would I really be able to do with the next baby? Maybe just nursing for comfort, maybe just using the Lact-Aid with no preliminary pumping, maybe just being happy to have Milk Share so this baby could have breast milk. But then Sara left me a comment below about starting to prepare to nurse our next baby and it really inspired me to think about preparing again.

I just didn't think I'd have the time to invest in pumping to build up my supply. I already feel like my days are very full and wasn't sure where I would fit that in or what Amanda would do while I pumped. But now that we're active I thought I'd better start pumping just to get my self conditioned to nurse. Without any preliminary pumping it would be very difficult for a baby to get latched on. So I started last Saturday.

I was amazed to see drops of sticky milk already or still present even though I haven't nursed Amanda in two months and I haven't had much of a supply since I stopped pumping last fall. It took 14 days the first time to see milk after not nursing for 11 years. Then 7 days the second time after stopping pumping for six weeks. And now there was still milk present this third time of inducing lactation.

Amanda has been great. We pile on my bed with toys and books. She's fascinated with the pump and uses the shields as mega phones. I should have known it would be fine. The only time she gets into trouble is when my attention is diverted and I can't interact with her. As long as I can talk to her and make eye contact, she will stay close to me and engaged in whatever I'm doing. Hopefully, nursing the new baby will go just as well.

As I've begun this process and my body begins to respond, I am reminded of how helpful and meaningful providing milk for my baby is to me. It has really brought the reality of having another child in our home closer to my heart and it helps me to open a place in my day for this child. No matter how much milk I am able to provided, it is something very special I can do.

I am looking into the induction protocol that Sara mentioned. I'm not sure if I will try it because of the unpredictability of our match and travel dates. But like every thing in my life, I will just take things one day at a time.

2-3-2009 I nursed Amanda for the last time today. She had been nursing less and less over the last month. We nursed a bit more when she was sick because she wasn't drinking enough fluids, but things started really winding down after that. The less she nursed the more difficult it was to get her latched on as I was returning to my pre-nursing size.

1-13-09 Since Christmas, we've been only nursing twice a day with the Lact-Aid; once in the morning and once at night. I wonder about weaning her before another baby comes home, but that could be months yet, so why rush it. Besides, keeping Amanda nursing keeps me "in condition" to nurse the next baby. We both enjoy the quiet time to snuggle and connect. So, until further notice, we carry on.

10-31-08 "Is it worth it?" I have been asked that question regarding adoptive nursing. Absolutely! "Will I do it again with our next baby?" Probably not. It was great to devote more than a year because I waited so long for Amanda, but as we consider the next adoption, I know I won't have the time to try to induce lactation and pump to build up my supply. I will certainly let the baby nurse for comfort and I'll probably do a couple of feedings per day at the breast with the Lact-Aid.

I still believe breast milk is best and want to provide the best for my babies, which is why I am so thrilled to have found Milk Share. It's a great site that connects breastfeeding moms who want to donate their extra breast milk to babies who need it. The generosity of these women is amazing. It would take me 2 1/2 hours throughout the day to produce 6 oz. Some women can produce 10-20 oz. in 20 minutes.

Amanda is still nursing with the Lact-Aid. She's a busy girl and I love that quiet snuggle time with her three times a day.

9-25-08 After about two weeks, my milk production ended but Amanda is still nursing about three times a day with the Lact-Aid. I wonder if I had spent some time with a lactation consultant, would Amanda's nursing been more effective?

It's been fun nursing a toddler. The other day she raced me to the nursing chair. I've entertained thought of quitting because she caught another cold and was having difficulties breathing and nursing, but today was better.

8-22-08 After one year of pumping for Amanda, in addition to the five months of storing milk before we got the call, I have decided to stop. I am very tired and my back really hurts. I will be starting school with the boys soon and I could really use the extra 2 1/2 hours a day. I was only getting between 5-6 oz day. I will keep nursing Amanda for as long as she is willing. I'm sure my milk supply with drop but perhaps she will still be getting some of my milk.

8-17-08 Every month I wonder how long I will continue to nurse Amanda. If she was my biological child there is no doubt I would nurse well into her second year of life if possible. However, adoptive nursing is a bit more involved and expensive. Every time I have to reorder the nursing bags, I have to decide. I always get the bulk pack to avoid shipping charges which mean several more month of nursing. Plus, I have to decide how long I will keeping pumping in order to provider her with the measly 6 oz. per day of my fresh milk.

It was becoming very difficult to nurse her a few months ago, but my nursing friends assured me this was normal phase that happens when babies become more mobile, eating more solids and experience mom's alarmed reaction to being bitten. It was a nursing strike not weaning.

So, I began nursing her when she was tired and it was quiet in the house. I had always nursed Amanda upon waking, but now I nurse when she first wakes in the early morning and then before naps. That means she's nursing about four times a day.

As Amanda has become more mobile and active, I really cherish those quiet times during nursing. I know she's happy to nurse when she prepares herself by sucking her thumb while she's waiting for me to get ready. As for the pumping, fresh breast milk is still so much better than pasteurized cow's milk and it's important for me able to provide some of Amanda's nutrition. It's a part of my femininity that works and I'm not ready to give that up.

7-7-08 Amanda is nursing five or six times a day (She had been nursing less but it must have been a passing phase.)

6-9-08 She nurses about 4 times a day, loves to drink from a sippy cup and loves to eat.

5-15-08 Adoptive nursing, baby wearing, elimination communication, and cloth diapering have been practices that have helped with bonding, since the amount of time you spend with a person is directly related to the strength of your bond.

4-12-08 She still takes 6 oz. of formula or breast milk 5 times a day in the nurser. I'm able to pump about 6 oz. a day.

4-5-08 I finally talked to a new doctor about trying [Reglan] to help increase my milk supply. [Reglan] is used to stimulate peristalsis in diabetic patients. One of the side effects is fluid retention and milk production.

I was on 30-40 mg of [Reglan] for one week. I saw an increase in milk supply after the first day, but but only small gains as the week progressed. I have been able to pump twice as much as I had been pumping after each feeding. I was only getting 1/2 oz, but now I get a full ounce, sometimes 1 1/2 oz.

I have been setting my alarm to pump at night for two weeks. After starting the [Reglan], I didn't need the alarm any more, because I was waking up with a churning stomach. I also started taking a good multi-vitamin and fish oil again. When I quit taking the [Reglan], I began taking fenugreek and blessed thistle again. I had run out of the supplements and hadn't bought more because they are expensive. However, I feel so much better taking them than the medicine.

I may decided to try the medicine again, but our court date in on Wednesday and I'd like to be well rested and digesting normally. It's going to be exciting and nerve racking enough. Everything is fine, we have no concerns it's just a big deal and very formal.

Amanda still takes most of her feedings with the nurser. She had graduated to the 7 oz size. She takes 5 1/2-6 oz. of formula and pumped milk per feeding plus whatever she is getting from me when she nurses.

2-5-08 She's taking about six feedings a day of 4 1/2 oz.

2-1-08 The Happy Feet come while she's nursing. She is usually kicking her feet and rubbing them on the side of the nursing chair. She seems to want to be in constant motion. It might be my fault because when I was teaching her to nurse, I would jiggle her feet to keep her awake for the full feeding.

1-24-08 Nursing is going fine. Amanda nurses with the supplementor and won't nurse without it. She will cheerfully take a bottle on occasion. She will reach for it and hold it. I'm still pumping after she lays down for naps and before she wakes in the morning. I'm pumping close to six ounces a day. I happy to be providing her with some fresh milk every day.

12-14-07 I usually pump after she goes to bed and early in the morning to keep up my milk supply. The boys are really enjoying her attention and smiles. She adores them and follows their voices around the room. Evening feedings are quite a challenge, because she's trying to nurse and take part in the conversations.

11-6-07 I've been on a pumping marathon to try to increase my milk supply. Amanda's dainty little suckling just doesn't have the same effect as a double electric breast pump. Amanda nurses with the supplementor and then after I put her to bed, I go pump. I've started to see an improvement already so I'm going to just keep going. It is so time consuming, but I realize it is really important because she will only be little for a short season.

10-27-07 Then just yesterday, after a long day in the car, Amanda became inconsolable in her seat. I knew she was hungry and tired but she wouldn't take the bottle. Finally, we pulled over, I filled the supplementor, and took her out to nurse her. She nursed right away and fell asleep so we could make it the last half hour home.

10-25-07 Amanda traveled well, but it's been a tough week. Sunday was the last day of stored breast milk and she seems to be having a little difficulty with the change to more formula. The doctor said that it was to be expected. Yesterday we had our first visit from our social worker and a doctor visit. She's 10 lbs 10 oz and 22 inches long. The doctor says that she looks very healthy.

10-18-07 We're nursing great with the supplementor but I'm on my last few days of stored breast milk. She's only getting about 2-4 oz of fresh milk from me per day, so we'll be buying formula this weekend. I pray my supply continues to increase, but using formula makes for easier traveling.

10-9-07 The days we going fine, but Amanda was still waking up ever two hours at night until about midnight and then she'd sleep until 5 am, nurse lazily and go back to sleep until 7 am or 8 am. I kept scanning the books trying to figure out what I was supposed to do what was normal when would this get better. Finally, I put all the pieces together. A baby Amanda's age can go 6-8 hours at nights without a feeding. When she woke at night I could never really test if she was hungry or simply wanting comfort because once I defrosted the stored breast milk I made sure she drank it because it was too precious to go to waste if she feel asleep half way through a feeding.

10-1-07 I have very fond memories of nursing my boys and when Tony was a baby, I learned that adoptive mothers could also nurse their babies because it just took stimulation to produce breast milk.

I was concerned that Amanda would have difficulty nursing because she was three weeks old. After placement, back at the hotel, when Amanda began to fuss, I knew she wasn't hungry because she had a bottle at the agency, so I thought I'd give nursing a try. She immediately latched on and suckled a bit before falling asleep peacefully. I was so thrilled! That was the moment I really felt like she was ours; she was home.

When we had decided to adopt, I was delighted to know there was a possibility of nursing our adopted baby, too. I researched adoptive nursing and induced lactation on the Internet and bought a Medela Pump In Style electric breast pump. I was told that the more time I had to work on building my milk supply the better, so when we were called about a six week old baby in February I panicked. I hadn't started pumping yet. How important was breastfeeding to me? We decided we were still open to this little boy and sent off our profile.

While we waited to hear the outcome, I decided to start pumping. I thought it would be worse to be unprepared for a baby than to pump for several months without a lead. My friend had pumped for nine months for her cleft-palate baby so I knew I could go at least that long. I began pumping every three or four hours for about 10 minutes at a time. Sometimes at night if I happen to wake up.

It took 15 days before I saw one tiny drop. Drop by drop, day by day, duct by duct, I watched my supply begin to build. After about a month, I was saving about 2 oz. per day. After 2 months, I was saving around 4 oz in the Medela breast milk storage bags. I had been told I wouldn't be able to provide solely for the needs of my baby, but every drop I froze meant I would supplement with my own breast milk instead of formula once the baby came. In May and June, I was saving between 8-10 oz. per day.

In July, we connected with a birth mom who wasn't due until December and I knew I didn't want to pump for six more months, so I quit. That situation fell through, but we knew it was all in God's timing and I was comfortable with the stock of milk in my freezer.

When I got the call about Amanda, I was guarded so I didn't start pumping right away. But I started pumping a week and a half before we went to Texas. This time it only took seven days to produce a few drops of milk. I also ordered a Lact-Aid which is a supplemental nursing system that that allows formula or breast milk to go through a small tube into the baby's mouth while nursing.

That first night in the hotel when she woke up to be fed, I used the Lact-Aid and things went so well. Amanda nursed perfectly and then slept for three hours at a time. She even slept all the way from Abilene to Dallas and then nursed from the Lact-Aid in Subway. The second night was a little more challenging. We were having trouble with the flow and temperature so she would get frustrated. So, after a stressful night we put it away until we got back to MN. (The filling and cleaning procedures listed in the instructions were time consuming. I've been able to streamline the process and order more units.)

She would nurse while Mike was making the bottle and then nurse herself to sleep. I also tried to pump to help stimulate my supply. At home, she takes my stored breast milk in the Lact-Aid and things are going much better with that. I use bottles at night when she wakes up or when we go out. I'm still concerned about my supply because the stores in the freezer are being used up quickly, but I'm so glad she is getting the benefits of breast milk.

Nothing compares to the joy and comfort of nursing together.


Sara said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences with adoptive nursing. As a fellow adoptive nursing mom, I agree with you that the extra work is worth it! I breastfed our adopted daughter as well. I followed the accelerated protocol at and had a full supply of milk by the time we brought her home (I obviously had more lead time). I used domperidone and had a great experience with it. I wondered if you tried it. I have heard that reglan has more unpleasant side effects. There's a great adoptive breastfeeding support group on Yahoo "1ABSupportGroup" if you're not already a member. It's always good to have more experienced moms to encourage newcomers and since you'll be inducing lactation again soon, you may like the support as well. Best of luck to you in your adoption process!

Sara said...

You might consider just adding domperidone to your regimen. Having just come off of breastfeeding, you probably have little need for a hormone protocol anyway. Just a thought. It would really increase your production if that's important to you. Good luck with all your preparations and congrats on your match!