While I knew some mothers breastfeed adoptive children, I'd always assumed that it was because they still had milk from nursing a biological child. I had no idea that after a woman's milk dried up she could start producing milk again months, perhaps even years later, without another pregnancy. But some can, and it's amazing.
The process is known as relactating, and in a video on CafeMom Studios, mom Teglene shares her story of breastfeeding her adoptive daughter. I'm honestly in awe.
After giving birth to two sons, doctors suggested that she not have any more children because her pregnancies had been problematic. She and her husband knew they wanted more children, so they started the adoption process.
When they got their daughter, there was no question that Teglene would breastfeed her. "She’s my daughter and I breastfeed my children," she said. "That’s what we do in this family and it’s worked out well for everyone."
She said relactation is not technically difficult, but it does take an enormous amount of time and dedication. She posts tips for relactating on her website, which include things like putting the baby to the breast frequently and regularly, even if no milk is produced. There are also suggestions for things like pumping, herbs, and an at-breast supplementer that can help.
One thing I question is how long after one stops breastfeeding can someone start again. Seeing as how Tegelene's sons are 10 and 12, and her daughter is 2, I would imagine that quite some time had gone by. She says even women who have never been pregnant or who have entered menopause can relactate. Amazing, and what a testament to just powerful our bodies are.
Here she describes the incredible journey.
Have you ever relactated in order to breastfeed your child? Did you know it was possible?
Image via CafeMom Studios