I can still remember it like it was yesterday.We had just gotten our newest foster child straight from the hospital. He was tiny and beautiful, but also alcohol and cocaine addicted. He was either sleeping or screaming most of the time. The only way to keep him calm, when he was awake, was to swaddle his arms very tightly down by his side and pat on his bottom constantly. After a few weeks I could lay down with him during his fits and if he was swaddled with my lips on his forehead, lying still, he would calm down. My pediatrician had suggested skin to skin contact whenever our foster child was going through this. So one night I tried it and it worked; we fell asleep together. But to my amazement, I woke up to him nursing! It was the most peaceful I’d ever seen his face and it was a wonderful moment. I wondered about nursing him and found the ABRW through a search engine. I was so excited to read all the information on adoptive breastfeeding!
I had to take the baby to visits with his father and to the department for all kinds of things. I wasn’t too sure about the nursing thing so I didn’t do anything about it at first. When he was six months old his goal was changed from reunification with his birth father to termination of parental rights. The department called and asked if we would be interested in adopting him. We said yes, of course. It was the first time I realized how madly in love with him I was. I got out the Lact-Aid I had ordered (thanks to the information I found on the ABRW), put his formula in it and tried to nurse him. He took to it the first time! It was so exciting! I posted on the ABRW website. Everyone was so supportive and full of tips to help me get my own milk to come in. For three weeks we developed an amazing nursing relationship and I watched my stiff, tense little baby turn into a cuddly, relaxed little angel. It was the best bonding experience ever.
Then one morning a department investigator and a police officer were standing at my door. They said they had received a call on the abuse hotline! I asked what the charge was and they told me that it had been reported I was nursing my foster child and that I was “forming too close of a bond with the infant under the circumstances”! I was shocked. The PI wasn’t very concerned. Thankfully, they did not remove the baby from our home. The officer basically gave me a pat on the back and said, good for you, and left. Since they had never dealt with a situation like this before, I had to stop nursing him. I was broken hearted but terrified of losing him so I stopped. Everyone on the ABRW was so wonderful and supportive. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them.
Well, here we are seven months later and his birth dad has signed surrenders. We are only weeks away from birth mom being terminated by default. She’s seen him once since he was born and has never shown up for court dates. Thanks to two wonderful donors, he has been on breastmilk for the last few weeks and is beginning to show interest in nursing again. Once the termination is complete, I plan to put that wonderful milk in his Lact-Aid and re-establish our nursing relationship. All four of my biological childrennursed for 1-3 years and I hope he does the same. I would love to establish a milk supply of my own, but I will be completely thrilled if we do nothing but nurse with the Lact-Aid. I have seen the amazing benefits in him and cannot imagine ever feeling “unsuccessful”.
I am so grateful for Naomi, Darillyn, Nona, Cindy, and all of the other wonderful people on the ABRW who have given advice, support, and an ear as we’ve gone through this very emotional journey together. I know there are many other adoptive and biological moms out there who feel the same. Thank you all!”