Are you an intended mother who would like to breastfeed your baby born via a surrogate pregnancy? Not only is it possible to do so, chances are you will even produce a significant amount of milk. With advancements in lactation support and techniques, intended parents now have the opportunity to nourish their babies through breastfeeding, even if they did not undergo the natural process of pregnancy. Many intended mothers, in particular, are embracing this option with open arms, considering it a meaningful way to forge a bond with their child and partake in the nurturing journey of parenthood. It’s a great decision because breast milk is considered by many experts to be the best option for your baby, and the benefits of breastfeeding extend well beyond basic nutrition. In addition to containing all the vitamins and nutrients your baby needs in the first six months of life, breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect your baby from a long list of illnesses.
Breastfeeding a surrogate baby is different, however, than breastfeeding a baby with whom you have been pregnant for many months. With some tenacity and perseverance, you and your baby will enjoy the wonderful health benefits, not to forget the emotional bond, that breastfeeding provides.
Breastfeeding and breast milk
Breastfeeding a baby born from a gestational surrogate presents you with two main problems. The first is producing breast milk and the other is getting your baby to breastfeed once you do. For the former issue, it’s best that you are reasonable with your expectations because the majority of intended mothers will not be able to produce all of the milk a baby needs, and thus you will have to supplement the remainder. As mentioned above, however, breastfeeding is more than providing nutrition, and many mothers will find enjoyment in the special bond that forms between you and your baby.
Producing breast milk
Again, please understand that it is likely that you won’t produce a full supply of breast milk for your baby, so it is important to contact the breastfeeding clinic and start your milk supply as soon as the baby’s birth is imminent. Do not be discouraged if your attempt at pumping milk is unsuccessful before the baby is born because a pump is never as good as a baby who is suckling. The purpose of pumping before birth is to draw milk out of your breast so that you will produce yet more milk, not just to put it on reserve. Here are some medications that can actually help prepare your breasts to make milk:
Progesterone and Oestrogen hormones.
If you start at least three or four months in advance, treatment with a combination of oestrogen and progesterone will help prepare your breasts to produce milk. Another way is to use oestrogen patches directly on the breast in addition to oral progesterone.
The starting dose is 30 mg three times a day, but some doctors go higher. The domperidone is continued when the hormones are stopped. Usually it is necessary to continue it for several months after you start breastfeeding.
While medications might be a common solution to initiate lactation, it’s essential to recognize that this isn’t the only barrier that can impede milk production. Underlying medical conditions can also play a role, either hindering the production of milk or causing an overabundance that strains the body’s capacity. The encouraging aspect is that medical professionals possess the knowledge to navigate these challenges and induce lactation successfully, provided there’s a steadfast commitment on the part of the intended mother. This dedication to following the right protocols can pave the way for a fulfilling breastfeeding experience, fostering a precious connection between mother and child.
You can rent an electric pump with a double setup to pump both breasts at the same time. This takes half the time and also results in better milk production. It is recommended that you pump as often as possible. If twice a day is possible at first, pump twice a day. If you can pump once a day during the week, but 6 times during the weekend, that is also fine.
Getting the baby to take the breast
The sooner you can get the baby to the breast after he is born, the better, so forgo artificial nipples. Also, the more your baby avoids bottles before you start breastfeeding, the better; however, babies need flow from the breast in order to stay latched on and continue sucking.
So, what can you do to get your baby to take a breast?
You should speak with the staff at the hospital where the baby will be born as soon as possible, letting the head nurse and lactation consultant know you plan to breastfeed. They should be willing to accommodate you by having the baby fed by cup or finger feeding, if you cannot feed immediately after birth.
Try skin to skin contact, in which you are completely naked from the waist up and the baby’s naked except for the diaper. This method helps to establish the necessary exchange of sensory information between you and your baby, in addition to helping the baby stabilize several metabolic and physiological processes.
Latching on well is even more important when the mother does not have a full milk supply. A good latch means the baby will get more of your milk, usually through painless feedings, whether your milk supply is abundant or minimal.
If the baby does need to be supplemented, it should be done with a lactation aid while the baby is on your breast and breast feeding. Babies learn to breastfeed by breastfeeding, of course, not by finger, cup, or bottle feeding. Remember, you can use your previously expressed breast milk to supplement, and if you can manage to get it, stored breast milk can be an excellent supplement after your own milk. With a lactation aid used at the breast, the baby is still breastfeeding even while being supplemented.
If you are having trouble getting the baby to take the breast, come to the clinic as soon as possible for help. In fact you should be followed by a lactation consultant or someone experienced in helping mothers with breastfeeding.
For those who can’t undergo hormone therapy to induce lactation, there are other solutions such as arranging for the surrogate to pump breast milk for the child. This approach offers a viable alternative that fosters both nourishment and connection. While it is indeed the most straightforward path to ensuring the baby’s nutritional needs are met, it’s important to remember that it’s not the sole avenue available. Surrogacy contracts today extend beyond the mere physical aspect of pregnancy, encompassing a comprehensive spectrum of choices, including post-birth care.