Breastfeeding Your Adopted Baby

By Wafa Bennani, RN, PHN

Step I: Consider why you want to breastfeed:

1.) Do you want your adopted child to be Mahram to you and your children?

A. The Holy Quran clearly states:

“Let another woman suckle (the child) on the (mother’s) behalf” (65:6), “Forbidden to you are…your mothers that have suckled you and your foster-sisters” (23:4)

Hadith by Aisha (blessing of Allah upon her) : “Breastfeeding denies what is denied by birth.

B. Most scholars agree:

*Babies should have 3-5 satisfying feeds of approximately 50 ml

*Breastfeeding can take place directly or indirectly from the breast

*Breastfeeding should take place within the first 2 years of life

       C. According to the Hanafi school, the rulings that result from breastfeeding take place regardless
           of the amount of milk ingested, as long as this occurs within the appointed time period (2 years)


2.) Do you want to bond with your adopted child?

A. Skin to skin contact during breastfeeding is important to your baby’s development, organization of reflexes, stable temperature, and regulated heart rate. Some of the benefits for you include better oxytocin release which increases milk production and easier breastfeeding (Moore, Anderson & Bergman 2009).

B. Research has shown mothers’ positive mood immediately after breastfeeding and increase bonding with their baby facilitated by the  release of higher levels of oxytocin (Mezzacappa and Katkin 2002).

3.) Do you want to give your baby the healthiest food?

A. Breast milk is rich in antibodies which builds a stronger immune system for your baby to fight bacterias and viruses.

Step II: Decide what is the best method for you to induce milk production

1.) Learn how the body is stimulated to make milk 

A. During pregnancy progesterone, estrogen (via the placenta), and prolactin (via the pituitary) ready the breasts for breastfeeding.

B. Once the pregnancy is completed, progesterone and estrogen levels drop and prolactin levels increase resulting in milk production.

C. When nipples are stimulated with breastfeeding or pumping sends signal to the brain to pituitary gland to release oxytocin hormone to release milk.  

2.) Learn different methods to induce milk production

A. Just pumping by hand expression or pump/hand combination  is possible. However, it takes months of regular pumping around the clock). Take hormones and/or galactagogues daily to prepare your body for lactation. You must consult your doctor.

B. Goldfarb-Newman Protocolinvolves first taking birth control pills to simulate pregnancy hormone changes and then both expressing and taking medication that increases hormonal levels.  

C. Herbal remedies such as fenugreek are available over the counter. 

*For questions about the safety of medications and herbs while breastfeeding or inducing lactation, contact your doctor and the Infant Risk Center.

Step III: When should you start to prepare for breastfeeding?

1.) Learning about breastfeeding: Note: If you choose only the pumping method, we advise you start from the time you apply to New Star Kafala

2.) Starting hormone and/or herbal therapy, you need to talk to your doctor which should be around the time your home study is finalized.

3.) Inducing lactation by pumping following hormone therapy, should be around the time you receive your referral and planning your trip to obtain Kafala of your baby.

4.) Consider at-breast supplementerThe Lact-Aid Nursing Trainer and the Medela Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). Both products work by allowing your baby to get supplemental milk while breastfeeding