By Sallie Miller-House
Reprinted from Adoptnet Magazine, May/June 1991
My adopted son. Cory, is five months old today. We have a very special nursing relationship that brings incredible joy and love. He has never had a bottle or pacifier since he was placed into my loving arms, at 34 hours old. I focus on the nurturing, emotional and bonding aspects of our relationship. It is the most natural thing for me to put him to my breast. I love the incredible closeness in these precious, fleeting, infant moments. The milk I produce is a wonderful, secondary delight. I pumped for six weeks, with an electric breast pump before my baby’s arrival. That helped a lot in a psychological sense. I got used to being interrupted to “nurse” and was forced to slow down a lot. I was pleasantly surprised at milk droplets in five days, and I could feel the relaxing effects of prolactin production almost immediately. More milk did not appear until after Cory’s arrival, I use a nursing supplemental device, the Medela supplemental Nursing System (SNS). A five ounce plastic bottle is filled with formula and very thin tubes lead from the bottle to my nipples. Paper tape keeps them in place. As Cory suckles, my own milk production is stimulated. I notice a decline in my milk production a week before my period. Once my period starts, the milk production is back to normal. The personality traits that I have found to be helpful are positiveness, perseverance, creativity, flexibility and independence. As there are few role models to compare my situation with, my intuitiveness and awareness of my own and my baby’s needs has strengthened. I believe that an adoptive nursing situation can never exactly duplicate a biological nursing situation. To me, it is not second best—it is a true gift and a blessing. If I did not produce milk, I would still choose to nurse my adopted baby. I know that nursing is the right choice for me to feed/nurture my baby. Nursing produces irreplaceable heart memories as the hours flow, my baby peacefully at my breast. I am constructing a base for a precious human relationship that will sustain us our entire lives. Nursing my adopted baby is a delightful gift that unfolds day by day.
Sallie Miller-House is the birthmother of Bill (9-75) and adoptive mom of Cory (9-90) and Cara (4-93) and director of the adoption agency, Circle from the Heart, Inc. facilitating compassionate caring affordable accessible adoptions for people in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia.