Bodily fluids have become a huge part of my life. Squeaks has produced her fair share. On occasion, you might hear me or Josh yell "WOW!!" from the other end of the house, signaling that we could use another pair of hands. But I must say, the particular bodily fluid that makes all these other ummmm....functions possible, has a special place in my heart. Breast milk. More specifically, the many donors; generous, strong, loving mothers, who have made it possible for our girl to be fed solely on breast milk since she's been home. That's right, we're a little over a week from Squeak's five month birthday, and she has not had a drop of formula since she's been in our arms. Yahooooo!!!
|I like breast milk much better going in than coming out.|
Our decision to feed Squeaks exclusively on breast milk is a personal one. There are emotional and logical reasons behind it. It was a simple choice for me. If I had physically carried and given birth to Squeaks, no one would question my desire to breast feed. With adoption I think it's a little different though. The question "Why don't you just give her formula?" has been asked of me multiple times. Before I get in to the response to that question though, I want to make some things clear. I in no way think mothers who give their babies formula are bad. I do not think formula is evil. If a mother chooses formula for her child, that is her right. Every situation is different. Formula absolutely has it's place in the world. In fact, there is a can or formula in my pantry right now, just in case of an emergency, and I am fully willing to use it should the need arise.
Based on my experiences, my personal opinion is that adoption is more difficult than pregnancy itself. You have to make a very conscious commitment to adopt. You work hard doing paperwork, studying, reading, praying, hoping, waiting. There's no due date and, while you don't experience the same physical upheavals (stretch marks, hemorrhoids, etc.), the emotional stress and excited/nervous anticipation is exhausting to say the least. And it could go on for years! After putting that much work into bringing your child home, wouldn't you want to give them the best of everything?! As stated before, formula is not evil, but it is not the best food for babies. Check the formula, some manufactures even say it on the can, breast milk is best.
Formula would definitely be the easier choice. To go to the store and pick up a can or bottle, come home, quickly mix it with water, and pop it in her mouth would be very convenient. Finding breast milk donors, woman willing to pump and freeze extra milk, while still breast feeding their own child, hasn't always been easy. There have been days when we're down to 10 ounces of milk in the fridge and I'm seconds from opening that can of formula, but God has always provided. One specific day comes to mind. I could tell we were going to be cutting it close, so I prayed about it before bed. The next morning I woke up, made the last bottle I could, and started making calls, and scouring the internet for breast milk donors. By the end of the day we had 40 ounces in the fridge and plans to pick up a 350 ounce donation later in the week. This was not the only day like this. Not only has feeding Squeaks with breast milk satisfied my mother's heart, but it has also grown my faith and refined my ability to trust God's provision. Win win!!
A few people have asked how we go about finding donors. Make friends! Milk donation has been a lot about relationships for us. Reach out to your current friends and family, and let them know this is a goal for you. It's not as awkward as you think. No need to walk up to random breast feeding moms and say "So....you gonna use all that?" Simply telling people you want to give the best to your child and are looking for milk donors is all it takes. I am in a particularly convenient situation in that one of my best friends is a labor and delivery nurse, lactation consultant, and a member of a local breastfeeding club (yes, those exist). Not only has she been instrumental in helping us find donors, but she also pumps for us weekly (her son is a month older than Squeaks) so that Squeaks can have fresh milk. However, if you don't know someone personally, there are other sources as well. Facebook is an awesome tool. Look for breastfeeding clubs in your area. Go to La Leche League meetings and make connections there. Post to sites like Human Milk For Human Babies or Eats On Feets. There are lots of options. It will take work. We have driven quite a distance to pick up milk donations, become experts on packing milk in dry ice, and have our defrosting routine perfected. Squeaks is beyond worth it though, and I'm pretty sure every mother, adoptive or biological, would feel the same way.
|Having her first bottle of breast milk. Enjoying a morning bottle.|