How to Properly Feed an Adopted Baby
Well actually, I never imagined being anywhere NEAR the road of natural health.
I am a Registered Nurse, better known as RN. Not only that, I grew up in a world and culture where mainstream medicine was duly adhered to.
No. Questions. Asked.
Having children and the subsequent millions of new decisions that lie before you….can really make you examine your understanding of important things.
After a process of grueling discussions, countless hours of reading and careful reconsideration my husband and I decided it was our role to take ownership of our children’s health. We did. And we haven’t looked back.
We honestly grew into this process in such a natural way, one change after the other, all for the purpose of supporting and strengthening our children’s bodies to function the way they were so beautifully designed.
THEN, a curve-ball came when we adopted our son at 2 weeks old.
I was a bit challenged without the ‘control’ of it being MY pregnancy and MY breastfeeding experience. However, we were determined to do whatever was possible to give this precious little boy the absolute best.
The PLAN: Attempt to breastfeed him with as much success as I could, and supplement with homemade formula.
Difficulty level: HARD. This undertaking was one of the most challenging, yet rewarding endeavors I have attempted for any of my children.
Feeding an Adopted Baby: Our Approach
- My 2 year old daughter was still nursing at least 4 times a day at the point that our adopted son came home. (We prayed that she would continue to nurse until we got ‘our baby’, as we did not know when our future child would come home to us). So I had all the duct work there and was still producing some milk, which seemed like a better place to start then ground zero.
- I had ordered and ready a “Lact-Aid Nursing Training System” (sources). This system is absolutely incredible and allows anyone with a no/low milk supply to feed your baby at the breast. The night he came home I used a syringe with a feeding tube at the breast, he latched like a pro the very first time! The next day I started using the Lact-Aid, which I continued to use everyday.
- I immediately began taking MotherLove “More Milk Plus” (sources), extra fenugreek supplements and fennel essential oil. I also read the book “Making More Milk“, an incredible book for trouble-shooting breast milk supply issues (including nursing an adopted baby).
- I tried many other things during this time. I made eating a nutrient-dense diet a priority for me during this time, as much as I was able. I tried drinking nonalcoholic beer, which I hate! (as the hops/barley can increase milk supply) and eating foods that increase lactation. I also got a prescription for a medication called domperidone for acid reflux, which I use to have, however I was using it for its side effect of increased milk production. I had varying success with those things, but discontinued the domperidone because of the side effect of breast tenderness.
My Conclusion on Breastfeeding an Adopted Baby
- For many unforeseen reasons at the time, my body was resistant to responding the way I was hoping it would when it came to quantity of milk produced. He was definitely getting breast milk from me each time we nursed, but the most I made at a time was about 2 ounces a feeding. I would advise a mom considering induced lactation to really examine her level of health and the nutrient-density of her current diet. It is my experience that induced lactation is VERY energy-demanding on the body, and I wouldn’t advise doing it without strong overall health and a very healthy diet, that won’t leave her, or her baby, depleted.
- I nursed my adopted son until he was almost 5 months old. This was the time when it had become very clear to me that to foster the best bonding between us I would need to stop breastfeeding. This was one of the hardest decisions for me to make, and yet I knew deep down that this was the best for both of us. I was becoming incredibly weary of the whole process, and my nursing sessions were characterized by anxiety, rather than love. I so badly wanted it for him, and yet my body so badly needed a serious rest from the demands of nursing a baby, which I had been doing for almost 3 years straight.
- Being able to give him all of those ounces of milk from me (and the dozen + women that donated breast milk!!) was SUCH a blessing to my mothers heart. I am forever grateful for that lifelong gift that will keep on giving. It was extremely challenging, and cost my body physical sacrifice, and yet I wouldn’t change a thing. That boy was worth every second.
“Homemade formula is by far the best alternative to mom’s milk and a far more natural option than store-bought, commercial formula. This kind of formula is what you can feed your baby and feel good about, rather than wonder what bad things are in the powdered stuff.” Katherine Erlich M.D., Super Nutrition for Babies
- The majority of my son’s intake was in the form of homemade formula. The night we found out this 2 week old baby boy would be ours the next day, we went busy to work preparing my house for him! This included whipping up a batch of homemade formula. I was prepared and had decided beforehand that I would nurse and supplement with this homemade raw milk formula recipe. I had all the ingredients on hand.
- I would fill the “Nursing Training System” bag full of homemade formula, then nurse him at my breast with this teeny-tiny feeding tube snuck in the corner of his mouth. Through this tube, he was fed warm homemade baby formula for every feeding. When we were out sometimes I would use the nursing system, and sometimes I would use a bottle.
- After the first couple of times making this recipe it would take me 10 minutes to throw it together from start to finish, being careful to follow the instructions exactly. Then I would put it in glass mason jars and stick it in the fridge. Depending on how old he was and how many ounces he was getting I would make a batch daily to every other day. It became part of our routine.
My Conclusions as an RN on the Benefits of Homemade Formula
- This homemade formula recipe was critical to my son’s health and development. Knowing that I could still offer the child that I adopted solid nutrition, fresh and made up completely of real-food ingredients, was such reassurance to this mama’s heart. The rare privilege of breastfeeding him, coupled with this nutrient-dense formula recipe gave him the best start possible.
- The time it took to make a batch of this every day or every other day was completely worth it. Actually, compared to all the other things I was doing for his nourishment, this was a rather simple routine.
Study after study proves the superiority of breast milk over formula. This reality will never change. Babies NEED breast milk, and mindful parents should do everything in their power to create success in the breastfeeding relationship. Even homemade raw cow’s milk formula pales in comparison to mom’s milk.
However, when attempts to breastfeed or increase breast milk are unsuccessful, or in other situations like adoption or very ill mothers, this homemade formula recipe is available as a far superior choice to commercial formula. It takes a little work to gather ingredients, but once you are ready, you will find this recipe user-friendly, and most importantly, highly nourishing to your precious baby.
Where to Source Homemade Formula Ingredients
If utilizing homemade formula is something you wish to pursue, click here for a single quality source for the homemade formula kit as piecing together the ingredients can be a challenge.
Lauren is a RN by profession and a researching mom by passion. She has brought her family from the SAD diet and ill health to a vibrantly healthy family using REAL FOOD.