It may surprise you to learn that breastfeeding is by no means off the table for intended parents using surrogacy to grow their families. In fact, many intended parents choose to breastfeed, either by themselves, or with the help of their surrogate.
The benefits of using breastmilk
The benefits of breastmilk, either by pump or by feeding at the breast, are numerous. Breastmilk provides essential nutrients to a baby in its first months of life. It also contains antibodies that can help a baby fight off viruses and bacteria. It also lowers a child’s risk of developing asthma or allergies. Plus, children who are breastfed for the first six months of life have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and stomach issues.
Nursing as an intended parent
Intended parents choosing to nurse on their own should begin breastfeeding preparations early. Working with a primary care physician and a board-certified lactation consultant, who is skilled in inducing lactation, can make the process of inducing much easier.
Knowing the questions to ask the doctors you work with can be crucial for your success in breastfeeding. Some questions to ask:
- Have you helped mothers who have not directly given birth to their child induce lactation?
- What’s your comfort level working with families who’ve used surrogacy as a way to grow?
- What is your rate of success for lactation induction?
Even in the case of lactation induction, an intended parent may choose to supplement their breastmilk with that of their gestational carrier’s. Read on to find out the benefits of asking a gestational surrogate to pump milk.
Breastfeeding with a gestational surrogate
Some gestational surrogates are happy to continue supporting intended parents by pumping milk for the child or children they carried. There are several benefits to this, but perhaps the biggest is that gestational carriers can begin pumping milk with much less effort than an intended parent trying to induce lactation. Both the colostrum and breastmilk that a surrogate produces are also tailored to the baby they carried.
Intended parents and surrogates should talk early about nursing desires, to help set expectations and subsequent preparations. Parents should expect to provide a hospital-grade breast pump, milk storage supplies, and shipping costs (if applicable) to the gestational surrogate. The surrogate’s milk will be frozen as it is produced, and subsequently shipped or delivered to the new parents.
Intended parents may want to ask several questions early on in the surrogacy process regarding using the breastmilk of a surrogate:
- Have you previously produced breastmilk for intended parents?
- Are you comfortable pumping milk for the newborn?
- Do you have a reliable way to ship or deliver the breastmilk?
First time surrogates may not be able to answer all of these questions, and so consulting a breast milk donation agency may also be helpful for you.
As with most parts of the surrogacy process, a key in being prepared for lactation is simply good communication between intended parents and surrogates. Love & Kindness Surrogacy is here to help. We’re experts in making this complex but wonderful journey as simple as possible. Schedule a consultation with us and begin your surrogacy journey today.