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Thread: Relactating (for adoption) while pregnant

  1. #1

    Default Relactating (for adoption) while pregnant

    I have successfully breastfed my first two children (now 3.5 years and 21 months) until they were each 14 months old. Both were weaned with the intention of re-initiating ovulation for another desired pregnancy. I just found out I am 5 weeks pregnant with our third biological child (yay!). Thrown into the mix is our adoptive son, who is four months old and strictly formula-fed. I have not had the opportunity to attempt breastfeeding with our adoptive son until now (I partially do not regret this, because had I been breastfeeding him, I likely would not have been ovulating to achieve our current pregnancy). So, coincidentally, now that I have the opportunity to attempt breastfeeding with my adoptive son, I am also newly pregnant. FYI (not sure it's relevant): 1) my milk supply with first two children was abundant and pretty much invincible, 2) I've never had a miscarriage, however 3) my first was born at 34 weeks (premature) and I had prodromal labor with #2 from 31 weeks on (born at term).

    Should I be concerned about attempting relactation during pregnancy? Would I be at increased risk for miscarriage or preterm birth due to relactation? Thank you for your input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    New York

    Default Re: Relactating (for adoption) while pregnant

    congratulations! indeed it is so exciting to have your family grow by leaps and bounds.
    My household was also quite busy while we were in expansion mode.
    Your milk will arrive in full force once your baby is born.
    Your 4 month old baby is the one you are currently mothering.
    I understand and I can relate to your desire to nurse this son. You might be feeling changes and tingling in your breasts as your body readies for the next arrival.
    Breastfeeding has been your choice for mothering your older biologic children and you don't want your son to miss out on the physical closeness of being breastfed.
    BUT but, how far can we push the envelop. What are the risks associated with lactation and pregnancy.
    You can be the wonderful giving mother you always aspired to be, but could you avoid the sorrow and pain if relactation meant your pregnancy ended?
    And even if you did re-lactate now, how would you feel if your son was resistant to nursing?
    Would you resent him if re-lactation tampered with your homeostasis and the pregnancy miss-carried?
    Your doctor would probably know the statistical risk of miss-carriage but we've heard anecdotal stories of mothers who nurse through out pregnancy.
    I did not become fertile until each child weaned. I believe that was natures way of sparing me the dangers of miss-carriage.
    your son will still be a baby when the new baby is born. You can let nurse him then.
    Started my family in 1986
    Finally done in 2001

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Relactating (for adoption) while pregnant

    Given that you've had one preterm birth and prodromal labor, and that relactation requires more stimulation of the breast and more oxytocin release than nursing an older baby, I personally would not attempt to relactate during pregnancy. I'm not sure hat I would even attempt to dry- nurse in your situation. It also might be a lot of work for nothing, since pregnancy hormones tend to make even invincible milk supplies go downhill.

    I know it's a long time to wait, but once your new baby is born you will have plenty of milk and there will be no risk to obtaining some for your adopted child. Once your newborn arrives, you can pump for your toddler, and it will still be good for him.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Default Re: Relactating (for adoption) while pregnant

    I would certainly talk to your doctor about it, first. I have known moms who have nursed right through a pregnancy, but didn't have a history of preterm labor. I probably wouldn't try to nurse full time or pump, but I wonder if you could at least nurse for comfort, a couple times a day, or something like that. He'd get some colostrum, and then know what to do when you give birth. I'm not saying you should, but I just wonder if it would be possible to do some amount of nursing, if your doctor says its OK. If not, there are ways of getting an older child to start nursing, for when you give birth, if you want to try to tandem nurse. I have tandem nursed two adopted babies at a time and found it was a great way to avoid having to worry about what the toddler was getting into while the new baby was nursing! With the last two, the toddler eventually gave up nursing, but still sat and cuddled whenever his sister was nursing, which was great, too.

    This is a link to some suggestions for teaching an older baby to nurse. There are some you can use to try to preserve breastfeeding behaviors, even without latching. Kids will get where they aren't comfortable faced right into your chest, if they haven't been held that way, and you have no hope of getting them to latch on if you can't get them up to your nipple. That was the hardest thing of all, when I was trying to get my first daughter, who was adopted at six months and had serious health and social issues, started nursing. I think my article, "Nursing Julia: My Supreme Challenge", is still posted with the mothers' articles on this site. Julia is 21 years old now, but I guess they feel her story was unique enough to leave up this long.

    Good luck to you, whatever you decide on!

    Darillyn Starr


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Re: Relactating (for adoption) while pregnant

    I doubt your doctor will know much, if anything, about relactating while pregnant But, like Mommal said, given your history of preterm labor, I don't think I would do it. However, when your baby is born, perhaps then you could try tandem nursing?
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Default Re: Relactating (for adoption) while pregnant

    Just realized that I forgot the link:


    Here is one to my article:

    https://www.llli.org/nb/nbsepoct93p135.html I've asked several times to have a word that the editor took out, put back in. I had said, referring to my first three boys, "They had not ALL gotten much milk.." meaning that my first two hadn't, but my third actually had gotten a significant amount of milk. When the "all" was taken out, I wasn't real happy, because I worked very hard for every ounce that I produced for my third baby!

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