Saturday, April 23, 2011

Boobies for Babies

I've been doing some research about breastfeeding, not only for my own child, but also for work (because that's what breastfeeding resource nurses do in their spare time). I learned that adoptive mothers can breastfeed.

Ok, cool!

So this applies to non-bio moms whose partners/wives are the birth parent too, right?

Of course!

There's a really neat off-beat Mama article about lesbian mommies co-feeding, called How 2 Lesbian Mamas Share Breastfeeding Duty, written by the wife of the blogger over at The Middle of Nowhere. I asked a question in the off-beat mama article, and the author's wife, Melissa, responded on her blog, so you can read my questions and her answers here.

It is possible for the human body to induce lactation, but up until now I had only ever found information for straight women or adoptive parents, of which we are neither. My concern is founded in ensuring that my wife and birth mother establish a full milk supply, as working in the NICU, it makes me INSANELY paranoid to interfere with anything involving the ritualist emptying of the boobs and the making of milk. I do not doubt that our child will figure out how to breastfeed from 2 different people (in fact, in past, babies would feed from several different people on a regular basis. Crying baby = whoever is closest).

It's also bloody hard work on my part, on top of being the very supportive and loving wife to my pregnant and probably moody wife. It involves remembering to take birth control for 5 months to trick my body into thinking it's sort of pregnant, plus taking another medication that tricks my mammary glands into growing. Thus, I will be in a state of suspended pregnancy. It's like having 2 pregnant women living at home. Maybe not so much fun?

Once the 5 month are over, I have to keep taking the Motilium and stop the birth control, and start pumping. Pumping every 3 hours, every day, for god only knows how long.

It means pumping at 0600, 0900, 1200, 1500, 1800, 2100, 2400, 0300. It's the same feeding schedule we have in the NICU for our babies who still need help in meeting their daily caloric needs. Three hours goes by FAST. There are many days when you realize that a whole afternoon has gone by.

I have terrible pictures in my head of sitting in the hideous pump room at work, surrounded by the mothers of babies I am caring for, and here I am attempting to induce lactation. I can see myself getting a milk supply, only to keep soaking through my nursing bra pads because I'm surrounded by crying babies (maybe a seasoned mamma can confirm if this happens *all* the time, or sometimes, or what?).

Realistically it's a ton of work, it's hard, and in the beginning can be quite uncomfortable. I may never get much of anything, despite all my hard work.

But, I will get to feed my baby, and I will (hopefully) be able to supply milk to other needy babies, since my child will not need it all, and there is only so much room in the freezer. J does not have to be attached to the baby for 6 months, as I can do some of the feeding.

It requires a commitment from J as well, as she has to pump if I'm feeding.

The fact that my body can do this though, is utterly amazing. I am in awe that my body can nourish a child without having grown one.

I have sworn up and down that our children will never consume formula, for many many reasons, and this is one way to keep that promise.

Now I must get ready to take care of babies who are not my own. I am sorry for the dry spell. Things should pick up a little bit since the wedding is over and the real stress has begun!


  1. About the leaking... Definitely varies from person to person. Liesbeth has never leaked. I used to leak buckets, but it wasn't usually triggered by crying babies, even my own. Mostly I just leaked on one side as I was feeding on the other. Also, that was back when I had a massive milk supply in the first few months. :) Thanks for linking to us!

  2. Woo, thanks for this!! :) I asked some of my co-workers who came back to work still nursing (mat leave is 1 year), and they said that their milk control was pretty good by that point, so there was no leaking.

  3. You found in our sidebar that we did this right? Gail re-lactated for our second, and yes, we were very careful about protecting my supply, and yes, it was an insane amount of work and involved a lot of pumping for everyone. There were also payoffs. If you haven't already, check our sidebar for extensive links to pretty much every detail of our experience and feel free to e-mail with questions.