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Adoption and Breastfeeding

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:05pm
August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Having neither ever breastfed nor been breastfed, I'm generally respectful of, but unimpressed by, the hyperbole about Mother's Milk. I don't dispute the benefits of nursing, but I don't buy into the propaganda that those benefits are only available through the bare breast.

Bonding and attachment - My bottle-fed daughter and I couldn't be any closer if we shared the same skin. Every feeding was intimate and breathtaking, with our eyes locked on each other and her tiny hand clutching my hair. Now and then her rosebud mouth would pause mid-suck to grin up at me, and I would think, "This may be the moment my heart finally bursts."

My son, currently on the bottle, is happy, confident, attached, easy-going, and delightful. His feedings take much longer than his sisters, because he grins and giggles so much he forgets to suck. Nice "problem" to have.

Immunity - My daughter has always been healthy as an ox. She has never had an ear infection, never had a serious illness, and has far fewer colds than most kids I know. Her immune system is strong, her hair and skin are vibrant, she has a fantastic appetite and boundless energy. My son is in excellent health, strong, and thriving.

Nutrition - Our pediatrician (and father of four) has no problem with the nutritional particulars of the formula we use. Good enough for me.

It's become rather fashionable for adoptive mothers (and, I'm sorry to say, some fathers) to breastfeed, and I just don't get it. Why pump and massage and pop pills... when it's most likely that even if you can produce some milk it won't be enough to meet the baby's needs? Do people really believe that bottle-feeding is significantly inferior for both baby and mother (father)?

Am I over-thinking if I suggest that if you're that driven to breastfeed maybe you're not as OK with adopting as you thought you were? Maybe you're feeding something inside you, rather than your baby.

I don't mean to sound insensitive. Gosh knows there's too much badgering on both sides of the breastfeeding issue, and I'm not looking to start any fights. Maybe I'm ignorant about it because as I said at the beginning of this post, I have zero personal experience with nursing.

Or maybe I just don't get it because I just don't get it. Hey, I think people drinking cow's milk is creepy, so I know I've got skews in my perspective.

What is your experience with this? I'd like to know what you think.

Sally Bacchetta - Freelance Writer
Freelance Writer
Parenting
Motherhood
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