More adopted parents choosing to breastfeed babies

Posted at 6:23 PM, Oct 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-24 15:19:11-04

In Wisconsin, 80 percent of moms have breastfed their baby at some point, that's according to a report card published from the Centers for Disease Control.

However, for moms who adopt, the breastfeeding experience has not always been an option, but now -- that's changing. Some are choosing to induce lactation. 

Jolene Morris heard the sound of her breast pump for months. Only, she wasn’t pumping for a baby she already had, it was for one she wanted so badly. 

“I think my husband thought I was a little crazy at first because I think I pumped for a month before I got any milk,” said Jolene.

She and her husband tried to have children, but after three miscarriages, they moved on to adoption.

“I knew that if I would have given birth I would have wanted to breastfeed,” she explained. 

While moving through the adoption process, she began her own process of inducing lactation to produce her own breast milk.

“There was a medication protocol I followed. And I pumped and pumped and pumped,” said Jolene. 

Jolene is a registered nurse and knew the health benefits of breast milk, but she also knew she wanted that bonding experience with her future baby. 

Jolene said she did a lot of research before starting her journey. She spoke with her doctor, started medication and pumped every two to three hours.

“Stressful and crazy,” she describes it. 

And then, her baby Hadleigh came along. She is now a little over a year old.  

“Before Hadleigh was born I was able to freeze 350 oz.,” she said.

She didn't have enough milk to fully feed Hadleigh on her own, so she relied on donor breast milk as well. 

Sarah Hammer, a lactation consultant with Aurora Baycare Medical Center said the trend of inducing lactation has become more popular over the last 10 to 15 years with adopting moms, who never had the chance to go through a pregnancy or birth.

“When you don't go through all of that and you're adopting a baby, you want that to have that intimate connection in another way. For a lot of women, that's breastfeeding,” said Hammer. 

Hammer explained its important moms speak with their doctor if this is something they want to try. Because like any medication, there can be side effects. It's also varies person-to-person. 

“Be patient, and if it doesn't work out, not being hard on yourself knowing that feeding your baby is most important, however you do that,” said Hammer. 

For Jolene, her breastfeeding journey has ended with Hadleigh, but it hasn't stopped all together.

“She asked if we'd adopt Hudson too, and we were like, absolutely,” explained Jolene.

Hadleigh’s biological brother, Hudson, is now a part of the Morris family. 

“Now my heart is really full. I had no idea we'd go from longing to have a child to two kids in a year,” she said. 

Jolene’s two miracles in a little more than a year, who were breastfed, giving mom and baby a great bonding experience. 

For more information about breastfeeding in Northeast Wisconsin, click on the links below:

-Brown County WI Breastfeeding Coalition 

-La Leche League of Wisconsin

-Breastfeeding & Lactation Support