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Adoptive Mothers Are Learning To Breastfeed

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When a close friend joined an adoption support group a few years back, she was floored to see one member – an adoptive mom – breastfeeding her little boy. It’s not exactly the first image that springs to mind when you think of adoption, but apparently “induced lactation” is a growing trend among new moms looking to reap the benefits of breastfeeding.

A recent article on msnbc.com profiles a series of women who breastfed their adopted kids. Anne Schaeffer, for example, did it not only for the health benefits but for the bonding factor, too. “It’s impossible for me to know what our bond would be like if I hadn’t done it, but I could not feel closer to my son,” said Schaeffer, whose son is now 11 months. “He’s got a really wonderful, very secure attachment to me. I don’t know how much (breastfeeding) played into it, but it sure didn’t hurt.”

Women like Schaeffer will often turn to a lactation consultant, who can coach adoptive moms through the process. It includes taking birth control pills for several months in order to “trick” the body into thinking it’s pregnant, along with domperidone, a gastrointestinal drug with a side of effect of milk secretion. (The drug isn’t FDA-approved, and so Schaeffer orders her from New Zealand.) Adoptive mothers will then come off the birth control pill as adoption day nears but continue domperidone to produce milk.

According to the article, few adoptive moms will produce enough milk to breastfeed exclusively – most supplement with formula – but they say it’s worth the effort because of the health benefits, along with the emotional ones, too.

Not surprisingly, readers have weighed in in the comments section with equal words of support and disgust. Some argue that induced lactation is not only unnecessary but also dangerous because of the drugs – which aren’t FDA-approved – being passed down through the mother’s milk. Others say it’s a beautiful thing that only serves to enhance the bonding process, so why not?

We’re curious to know what you think. Take our poll and share!

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(Photo: BananaStock)