Breastfeeding Your Surrogate – Born Baby
A lot of intended mothers are happy and, at the same time, surprised to know that they can still breastfeed their Surrogate-born babies even though they have not carried a pregnancy.
Yes, it’s possible for non-pregnant women to experience breastfeeding and reap the health benefits – through induced lactation. In the post, we will talk about breastfeeding a baby born through surrogacy and provide a simple how-to guide to help you get started.Schedule A Consultation
How can I breastfeed my baby born through surrogacy?
If you would like to breastfeed your Surrogate-born baby, the first thing you have to do is speak with your doctor. It is crucial that intended mothers who desire to breastfeed work with their physician as they begin and complete medications to promote lactation.
Although breastfeeding a Surrogate-born baby is just like breastfeeding any other baby, it requires some advanced planning and preparation. Below is what the breastfeeding process is like for Intended Parents:
Start taking hormones
Your doctor may recommend hormones (contraceptive pills) months before the baby’s birth. These hormones make your body “believe” that you are carrying a pregnancy, which results in lactation (production of milk).
Swap the hormones for medications and supplements
Prior to the birth of the baby, your physician will ask you to stop the contraceptive pills and suggest medications and natural supplements that can aid milk production in the body.
After stopping the hormones and starting milk-producing medications, you will begin to pump, increasing the frequency and duration little by little until you finally start to produce milk. If you follow the protocols for inducing lactation and your doctor’s advice, your milk supply will increase while you prepare for your baby’s delivery.
Begin to breastfeed and supplement your milk
Although there are several ways to induce lactation in non-pregnant women, most women won’t produce adequate amounts of milk to meet the baby’s daily needs on their own. This is why many intended mothers turn to a supplemental nursing system (SNS) to make sure their newborns have enough milk to eat.
Simply pour supplemental milk (the Surrogate Mother’s milk, donated breastmilk, previously pumped milk, and baby formula) into the SNS container and attach the tubes to your chest. When breastfeeding your newborn using the SNS, the baby will be getting the milk you’re producing together with the SNS milk. This will make your baby to be used to breastfeeding and make sure he or she has enough to eat.
It’s crucial to note that every mom’s breastfeeding experience differs, and your success will depend on many factors. Whether the baby is born through surrogacy or not, breastfeeding is not for everyone, and that’s okay. There will be a learning curve, so it is important to exercise patience and speak with your physician or a lactation consultant for advice and support.
Using the Surrogate Mother’s breastmilk
Another option for Intended Parents who want to enjoy the benefits of breastfeeding is to use breastmilk from the Surrogate Mother.
A lot of Surrogates won’t mind providing breastmilk for up to 6 weeks after the baby’s birth. This breastmilk can then be used to feed the child with the supplemental nursing system (SNS) or a bottle, giving the newborn the chance to get the same benefits of taking breastmilk, whether or not the intended mother chooses to breastfeed.
It is not compulsory that Surrogates pump for the intended family. Those who decide to provide breastmilk spend a lot of energy and time pumping and sending the milk to the hopeful parents. If you and your spouse choose to undergo induced lactation, you will also experience how difficult pumping breastmilk can be. Also, if your Surrogate Mother agrees to provide breastmilk, she will have to pump every few hours, and that can be an inconvenience that requires a huge commitment.
This is why Surrogates should be compensated for their sacrifice and extended commitment to the Intended Parents. A lot of surrogacy agencies recommend paying Surrogates around $200-250 per week of pumping. This includes the costs of shipping and all of the supplies needed for the process.
If you intend to use your Surrogate Mother‘s breastmilk after the baby’s birth, it is important to address, negotiate, and include this in your surrogacy contract before the embryo transfer. Consult your surrogacy agency to help you find Surrogates who will agree to pump and work with your lawyer to create the terms of the contract.
How does your Surrogate Mother ship the breastmilk to you?
Getting the breastmilk to the intended family can be a bit overwhelming for a Surrogate. Here is a step-by-step guide your Surrogate can follow to ship breastmilk. She needs to make sure all of the supplies are ready for shipping!
- Put the pumped milk in the freezer in breastmilk storage bags. Storing the milk between cookie sheets allows it to freeze flat, and this makes it easier to pack. When packing the milk in the bags, make sure to leave little room for the breastmilk to expand while it freezes (around 6 ounces per bag).
- After the milk is frozen, place the bags of milk in one layer at the bottom of the cooler.
- Keep layering the bags of milk, making sure the cooler is as tightly packed as possible. Special note: the less empty space in the cooler, the colder the breastmilk will remain.
- Make sure to leave enough space in the cooler for the dry ice. A 22-quart cooler can store around 26 to 34 bags of breastmilk. After packing all the milk, cover it with a newspaper.
- Put dry ice in a bag and place it on the newspaper. Use another layer of paper to cover the dry ice. Be very careful with the ice. Ensure that it is always enclosed and not loose in the cooler.
- Put the whole cooler in a shopping box. A 16”x16”x15” box works great for a 22-quart cooler.
- Use tape to cover the box and write “frozen” or “perishable” on all four sides and on the top of the box. Contact the shipping facility before getting there to ship the package in order to know the guidelines for shipping packages containing dry ice.
- Ship the box using either FedEx or UPS. Ask your Surrogate mother to give you the shipping details. Ensure to have the box shipped using “priority overnight” so that you can get it the following afternoon.
Mailing early in the week, say Monday or Tuesday, ensures that your package gets delivered during the week, so you don’t need to bother about a weekend delivery.
Pros and cons of breastfeeding a Surrogate-born baby
Intended mothers and babies born through surrogacy enjoy the same benefits of breastfeeding as any other new mother and baby do. Plus, they encounter similar challenges in addition to unique challenges of inducing milk production and supplementing their milk supply.
Below are some pros and cons to bear in mind as you ponder whether or not to breastfeed your Surrogate-born baby:
- Breastfeeding your baby can offer many health benefits. A lot of nursing mothers say they choose to breastfeed because of the associated health benefits. According to studies, breastfeeding can lower the risk of several health problems for new babies, including asthma, ear infections, and childhood obesity. It can also be beneficial to the new mother, as research has been shown that breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
- It promotes bonding and attachment with the baby. The skin-to-skin contact of breastfeeding helps promote bonding and mental health for both new moms and their babies. This bonding experience can be extremely important to intended mothers who couldn’t carry their own pregnancy.
- It can be more convenient to breastfeed than to bottle-feed. Since new moms don’t need to worry about preparing bottles and packing formula each time they leave the house, breastfeeding may be an easier, more convenient option than bottle-feeding.
- Breastfeeding is a huge commitment that requires investing a lot of time and energy. Babies usually feed 10 to 12 times a day, which implies a lot of effort on the mother’s part. Intended moms even have to be more committed and watchful while pumping and using the SNS in preparation for their new bundles of joy.
- It may take some time to learn how to breastfeed properly. A lot of new moms and babies pass through a learning curve as they become accustomed to the challenges of breastfeeding. Nursing moms can also experience some side effects, and it may take a while to get the child to latch. Intended mothers may encounter extra challenges of learning to stimulate breastmilk production and using the supplemental nursing system (SNS) later on.
- Breastfeeding without pregnancy is not always convenient for intended mothers. A lot of new moms won’t produce adequate amounts of milk to feed their child without using the SNS, which can make breastfeeding more cumbersome and less convenient, particularly in public places.
These are just some advantages and disadvantages of breastfeeding a baby born through surrogacy. However, it is important to note that the challenges and joys of nursing a baby will differ based on each woman’s unique experience.
The most important thing you need to consider when pondering whether or not to breastfeed is your particular situation. Breastfeeding is a personal choice, and every new mom has the right to go for what they think is best for them and their baby.
Good resources for hopeful parents
Breastfeeding a baby born through surrogacy can be a very exciting and rewarding experience that promotes bonding and the newborn’s health. If you intend to breastfeed, speak with your physician and your surrogacy specialist early in the process. Your physician can help you get ready for induced lactation. The surrogacy expert can give you valuable information and help you look for a Surrogate mother who will pump for you.
You can visit the resources below for more information about breastfeeding a Surrogate-born baby and the guidance you need to begin the process:
- Ask Lenore: Dr. Lenore Goldfarb offers professional information about induced lactation and breastfeeding. Her site provides comprehensive resources specifically made for intended mothers who wish to breastfeed their Surrogate-born babies.
- La Leche League: LLL provides information, encourages, supports, and educates all mothers who want to breastfeed their babies.
- Breastfeeding Without Birthing: This website provides links to many resources, information, and an online community made specifically for adoptive and intended moms.
- Human Milk 4 Human Babies: This site connects women who are willing to donate excess breastmilk to intended mothers and other people who need it. New parents can easily find local breastmilk donors on their community network pages.
Do you want to know more about surrogacy or commence the process? Contact us now to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our experts.Schedule A Consultation