Adoption and breastfeeding – touchy subject

03 Aug

Adoptive mother breastfeeding is a controversial subject both in adoptee circles and within wider adoption circles. When the topic is posed the response by adoptees is swift with most responses being a hard no. It’s a hard no for me too. This is my attempt at explaining this immediate and instinctual hard no from me, because I finally found the word that explained why.

You are usurping the biological mother’s role by trying to breast feed the baby you will adopt.

That’s it; that’s the reason why I instinctually feel revulsion at the thought, you are trying to usurp the babe’s mother in an area that is her sole domain. She earned that role by creating, carrying and birthing that baby. A baby that instinctively knows their mother at birth.

Right now, some reading may be reacting badly, but if you can’t sit in the in-between your child will live having two different families, how will you ever understand your child, whatever the heart subjects your child may need you to get.

You may also be ready to post that there’s always been wet-nurses; yes, there have been and they saved a lot of lives. But adoption is different; different dynamics are at play that adds a whole other layer to the topic that isn’t there when a mother is sick, can’t produce enough (or any) for her babe and another steps in. Adoption is a deliberate action of severing the mother and child unit, permanently; and the deliberate insertion of (usually) another mother to raise that child. An adoptee can see breastfeeding (or attempting to) as crossing boundaries between our two mother’s and their unique roles in our life. One mother brought us into this world and all things biological remain with her, our other mother is our social mother and raises us, teaches us, loves, cares for and guides us throughout life – the two have completely different roles.

What it comes down to for me: you are trying to take away, erase and pretend you are the biological mother. You aren’t the biological mother, you never will be. What you will be is the mom and that should be more than enough.

I get that sounds harsh, probably hurts too, and for that, I’m sorry. But if there’s anything I’ve learned through the years, it’s when time after time when a heart subject is brought up and many adoptees instinctually reject something, a line in the sand has been crossed and it’s worth listening to, even if you disagree, it makes no sense, or you do it anyway.



If comments get out of hand, I will close the comments – this is not a debate, nor a place to beat up on one another.




Posted by on August 3, 2019 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , ,

38 responses to “Adoption and breastfeeding – touchy subject

  1. Dannie

    August 3, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    I would have never considered it if I would have done newborn adoption but foster/adoption made it easy by having a hard no on that!


    • TAO

      August 3, 2019 at 6:03 pm

      Did my post make sense? It was so hard to explain.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Heather

        August 3, 2019 at 9:40 pm

        Yes. Completely makes sense.

        Liked by 5 people

  2. journeyformybaby

    August 3, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Wow, that’s a very interesting perspective and I must say, I never thought of it that way! I’d assumed if I ever adopted that I would want to breastfeed, mostly for the benefit to the baby of breastmilk. But this post really makes me think!! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. sheryl

    August 3, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    Very well said.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Heather

    August 3, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    Thank you for speaking on this topic.

    I was going to provide breastmilk for my son after he was adopted but that turned out to be another of the many things they lied to me about. It crushed my heart that it was more important to them to hurt me than it was to provide him with my milk. I’m grateful that I was able to feed him for a few days in the hospital and have that intimacy with him.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Nara

    August 4, 2019 at 1:55 am

    I’m adopted and I breastfeed my biological child but I find it absolutely abhorrent and akin to r*pe to do that to a child you have adopted. It’s an abuse of power and it’s biological privilege (and usually white privilege).

    I left my local La Leche League because they supported adoptive breastfeeding even after I told them that many adoptees find it abhorrent, triggering and disturbing. They’re more bothered about having the maximum people breastfeeding than any benefit to the child. (Which I think is minimal when it’s not their birth mother and often drug induced.)

    So gross and symptomatic of why I’ve stepped away from adoption circles. Who needs to be confronted with that kind of entitlement and erasure all the time?

    Liked by 4 people

  6. The Tree in the River

    August 4, 2019 at 5:37 pm

    This is an interesting perspective but all I’ll say that I find it a bit unfair to pose your view as fact using statement phrases as “You are usurping the biological mother’s role” and ” you are trying to take away, erase and pretend you are the biological mother”. It may be better to say that it can be seen or taken that way because I’m sure many adoptive mothers who chose to breastfeed did not see it this way nor did they intentionally intend to pretend they were the biological mother or erase them. To many, breastfeeding is what they believe is the greatest gift they could offer any child because of the many benefits that will effect them the rest of their lives. Some may say that adoptive kids already lost so much and if they could breastfeed them why prohibit it simply becasue of what others think she is doing?


    • TAO

      August 4, 2019 at 8:02 pm

      “This is my attempt at explaining this immediate and instinctual hard no from me, because I finally found the word that explained why.
      You are usurping the biological mother’s role by trying to breast feed the baby you will adopt.
      That’s it; that’s the reason why I instinctually feel revulsion at the thought, you are trying to usurp the babe’s mother in an area that is her sole domain. She earned that role by creating, carrying and birthing that baby. A baby that instinctively knows their mother at birth.”

      Try reading the whole in context…

      Liked by 3 people

      • Heather

        August 5, 2019 at 12:19 am

        Exactly TAO. Others can try to sugar coat their language so as to not hurt the adoptive mother’s feeling but that is exactly what is happening.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      August 6, 2019 at 7:38 am

      Exactly. They have already lost so much so why try and do the one thing that only their first mother is designed to do?

      Either they nurse because they’re already nursing a bio child… so why are they adopting a child?

      Or they induce lactation through drugs… in which case there’s no proven benefit and a whole load of dangers…

      Or in very rare cases they induce lactation through physical pumping only, in which case what is the benefit when they haven’t carried that child and started lactation hormonally?

      I don’t think the wording TAO used is unfair at all. We’ve had this discussion in adoptee circles and the vast majority of adoptees find it absolutely abhorrent.

      Would you go up to a random child and stick your breast in its mouth? Or would you consider that some form of assault? Because that’s exactly what adoptive breastfeeding is. It is not wet nursing in extreme circumstances, with the consent of the birth mother. Most birth mothers probably wouldn’t even consider adoptive mothers would breastfeed. A lot of birth mothers have said they would continue to provide milk… It is about an adoptive mother stamping ownership on the child.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The Tree in the River

        August 6, 2019 at 3:04 pm

        I’ve never heard this perspective before, I’m still thinking it over and considering all the points made. At this point I honestly don’t know if I agree or disagree. My point is merely on the language- up until a day ago I had NEVER considered this point of view because I had never had the opportunity to read someone explaining this concept. I have thought about breastfeeding in some way if I ever adopted a child and what I’m saying is that the thought of trying to take the place of the bio mom nor the thought of it being on the same plane as rape EVER entered my mind. Im saying that if I had adopted a child and breastfed them these thoughts would have never entered my mind and heart- that’s why I’m just suggesting a change from the wording of statement to suggestion. If I had never thought of it this way then I’m sure many others hadn’t either. TODAY on forward if I adopted a child I would most certainly think much harder and consider all these things that had never crossed my mind before. I am no longer 100% sure it’s something I’d want to do, I’m grateful for the new perspective and I just ask that others be understanding that new ideas take time to sink in- especially when they put you in the place of possibly being wrong- I think more people would be open to reading and not being offended if the language was changed That’s all I’m saying.


        • TAO

          August 6, 2019 at 3:17 pm

          Thanks Tree in the River – what you don’t seem to still get and perhaps I’m still not being clear the statement is what *I* feel, which means it can’t be a suggestion. You can take it as a suggestion, but feelings are feelings, I just never had the term to explain how I feel about it until now.

          Liked by 3 people

          • The Tree in the River

            August 6, 2019 at 5:14 pm

            I can understand that as feelings are feelings regardless


        • beth62

          August 6, 2019 at 4:54 pm

          I’m glad you are willing to explore a new perspective you’ve found in the Adoptee community.
          I think it’s only smart for a mom, especially Adopted moms, to look thru the lenses that so many Adoptees leave laying around for all.

          Even after you remove those borrowed glasses, sometimes you find it’s impossible not to see whatever it was those lenses allowed you to view, the next time you see it.
          It’s happened to me so many times, with so many things. I don’t know too many that like it so much, until it’s over, and you realize what you can now see is so very valuable to all.

          One of my most favorite authors, Toni Morrison, helped me see so much thru her shared lenses.
          I could never forget her words, their meanings, insights, even tho they weren’t always so easy or pretty for me to read. The beauty and connection I’ve found due to them surround my life and my family today. We appreciate her gifts shared, greatly, especially today. We honor her today, she is loved and missed by so very many.

          Sorry :/, I think I’ll go sob for moment, and try to dry up so I can re-read some of my favorite books.
          First I have to say, Thank You TAO. For gathering up all of those lenses over the years, and looking thru them with me, with all of us, and attempting to talk about all we can see thru the distortion and fog. You are a true friend.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. beth62

    August 4, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    Boundaries. I see most of them plainly, and agree with all that’s been said.
    I also find it troubling when an adopted mom doesn’t breastfeed, but pumps and bottle feeds only.
    I think due to these boundary issues. Because I have no issues, (other than safety of course) if same mother uses anyone else’s breast milk to fill those same bottles.
    For me, and I’m not so sure why, a nursing mother (natural due to pregnancy, not drugs) who also nurses, or pumps and bottlefeeds, her adopted infant, along with, or after her born child… boundaries get a little more blurry there, for me, right now, I think. I guess because it could be, emphasis on could be, more about food than “the experience” or attachment for a mom?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. legitimatebastard

    August 4, 2019 at 11:51 pm

    I’ve seen a few videos of adoptive moms breastfeeding with hoses and such. It looks terrible, invasive, shoving a boob into an infant’s mouth when that infant knows its mother’s scent. Institutionally. Adoptive moms need to be realize that you are not biologically this infants mother. Please respect boundaries! If the natural mother pumps her milk and gives bottles of it to you, please use bottles to feed this infant. You can love and care for an infant born of another mother without confusing the pre-verbal infant. This isn’t my opinion, it is fact.

    Liked by 2 people

    • beth62

      August 5, 2019 at 12:24 am

      You mean like faking breastfeeding with a tube?
      Holy cow. That is not about any hungry baby in any way. That’s all about Mom.
      I formula bottle fed my first, breastfed my second. Yeah, I’m not falling for the attachment/bonding difference thing for bottle fed baby. It’s just not true to me.

      Dang legit, I wish I hadn’t read that lol
      That’s just way too perverted for me.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Heather

        August 5, 2019 at 7:41 am

        Yes. Adoptive mothers who want to breastfeed have to supplement and some use a tube or finger feeding. Despite months of drug therapy and physical manipulations or stimulations of the breasts when a woman hasn’t been pregnant and given birth her body will not produce enough milk to sustain a baby.

        Almost like the mother’s body was perfectly made to create, birth and then feed her very own baby eh?

        Liked by 4 people

        • beth62

          August 5, 2019 at 4:19 pm

          The medications are very worrisome to me, for mom and baby 😦
          Living in an organic farming community, which insists on no added hormones and limited antibiotics for production of eggs, meat and milk… so I’m kinda confused at this. And admittedly short on facts about humans and the drug therapies used to produce breast milk.

          I do have to wonder if these mom’s would insist on the same organic ideas from their food suppliers tho?

          And I wonder if they know or are told that many invasive kinds of cancers, especially many breast cancers, require estrogen and/or progesterone to grow? It’s like their party drug.

          Maybe I know too much and way too many of us taking awful hormone inhibitors, etc, for 5-10 years, to reduce the risk of breast cancer reoccurance. (I’ve noticed they don’t mention the drug therapies in breast cancer awareness info, I guess it’s too scary?)
          I got to choose between two classes of drugs and side effects, pain and osteoporosis Or stroke and uterine cancer. It’s why so many “choose” complete hysterectomy and possibility of cardiovascular event, over pain and eventually no bones. Not about to choose an increased reoccurance, instead! So that’s where I am with that, terrified on the other end :/ I’m on the anti hormone train, they are my enemy! I can’t even let a pregnant woman touch or breath the dust from my pills :/

          I’m thinking I’m not that ignorant about it, ignorant certainly, but I’m barely able to read about adding hormones to my or anyone’s system. Makes me lightheaded, nauseous, like reading about cancer therapies and procedures, after you hear the DX. 😦

          Liked by 4 people

      • legitimatebastard

        August 5, 2019 at 2:21 pm

        Yes, videos. The one I saw on Facebook a few years back was a white adoptive mother with a tube attached to her breast so that her black adopted infant could suckle both the tube and nipple. The other end of the tube attaches to a small bag of formula or donated breast milk.

        Here is just one of many videos out there:…0.0..0.0.0…….0……gws-wiz.dEUWuVj2mk8#kpvalbx=__TlIXc27IMqk_Qa99pmACA12

        Liked by 2 people

        • beth62

          August 5, 2019 at 9:16 pm

          That just makes me feel so 😢

          Yeah, I’m with Nara! Better for me to go pick beans and tomatoes, share the day, anything, instead of exposing myself to that.

          Maybe severely limited rural internet access isn’t such a bad thing after all. Suddenly looking forward to giving rides, and going to the McDonald’s parking lot soon to see if anybody needs help with their homework.
          That big cloud on the radar that is on it’s way to block my signal soon, looks a little more silver around the edges than I had noticed before too. A rain dance seems more fitting for my time 😉

          Liked by 1 person

    • beth62

      August 5, 2019 at 12:46 am

      whoa, a few videos, that went right past me. They made videos? For future viewing for them and maybe their kid? :/ Are you sure you weren’t on some porn site!?!


    • legitimatebastard

      August 5, 2019 at 2:22 pm

      I meant to type the word “institutionally” not “institutionally”.


  9. beth62

    August 5, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    TAO, I’m with you on the word usurping.
    It really does explain the sadness I find

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Nara

    August 6, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Oh and I know a white adoptive mother in my local circles who breastfed her two kids of colour. She friend requested me on fb because we moved in the same circles and she was local. I then found all the local breastfeeding fb groups to be infected with her, posting pictures of her white self breastfeeding (until school age) her adopted KOC. No privacy for her children whose faces with her white nipple in their mouths have been posted all over the internet along with identifying adoptive and medical information. It makes me sick.

    It made me so upset and my point was there are no safe spaces for adoptee parents, because adoptive parents will always take up space in them and post triggering content. I should have safe spaces for motherhood and breastfeeding but they literally aren’t because of adoptive parents. I find that kind of disgusting.

    Oh and I’m one of the “good, well adjusted” adoptees who everyone thinks is an adoption success story. We have to live with this and deal somehow and my way is to protect my energy by not moving in those circles any more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      August 6, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      Oh Nara – that is so beyond the pale, I’m sorry you had to deal with that. So sorry.


      • Nara

        August 6, 2019 at 6:58 pm

        It’s not the only one. Every time an adoptive mother posts in one of those groups, it gets ten tonnes of likes and attention. I find it sickening. But it’s the same way people glorify adoption in general, the saviour narrative, as if those babies didn’t have mothers who could have breastfed them themselves if they only had the support to do so. (Yes, there are orphans, but most adoptees aren’t.)


        • TAO

          August 6, 2019 at 8:06 pm

          I couldn’t take that, just like I can’t take the same when it happens re some random adoption on the internet where everyone cheers some stranger adopting, without knowing anything about the adoption. run-on-sentence…

          Liked by 1 person

          • beth62

            August 7, 2019 at 3:08 pm

            On dear. Nara, I so hope you’ve found a safe place or person to talk with about it all.
            I asked my daughter if she had run into adoptive breastfeeding in her groups, I remember her being frustrated about the pressure some put on her and friends, about no bottles, and not participating anymore. I supported that completely, exiting, and letting Dad feed his child with a bottle, and grandma too! gasp.

            She told me so much of what she saw was too upsetting for her, she knew exactly how it would upset me, so she left that part out. Until I ask or bring it up anyway.
            Well, I asked, I don’t want to be around all that either. Adopted and Intended parents, trans male and female, two parent breastfeeding, chestfeeding… with and without drug therapies.

            My daughter said there was just too much stress for her from those arguements, and no support for her, or her and my Adopted status (she’s grown up in the same adopted family as me)

            She told me most in the groups made her feel like their enemy.
            She did exceptionally well with it all. Her doctor even told her not to tell them or her friends about her ample supply of “premium gold”, and ease of getting pregnant. They’d get hurt feelings and/or hate her guts. Doc talked her into donating what she had left after baby was done, for the tiny babies in the hospital.
            Said many in one group expected her to donate to them, while she was trying to feed her own newborn. The entitlement shocked her.
            Her last straw was when she got attacked for calling someone that had been pregnant and was chestfeeding – a mother.

            I just searched for Adoptee pregnancy and breastfeeding support.
            Oh god. It’s just like searching for info on search and finding and dealing with living adopted, twenty years ago. Entirely too upsetting.
            The whole search page is about adoptive breasfeeding. I imagine the library too.

            Oh Nara, I had no idea it is like what it is now. I wanna hug you so bad :/ I’m so sorry you have to attempt to deal with… Well, escape all of that. I grabbed my baby and her dad and ran off into the wilderness to escape the triggers in the early 80’s.
            Looks like the triggers have increased 1000x, easily.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Nara

              August 27, 2019 at 11:16 pm

              Oh I’m so sorry I missed this, my notifications are not working well. It really sucks for sure but I’ve been staying off fb where the triggers are huge. My safe space is my own home and friends. I am really really sick of adoption related triggers related to motherhood though. It’s impossible to be in any motherhood space without the AMs taking over. I just came back here to post a recent fb post about adoptive breastfeeding. I skimmed the comments and it’s just hundreds telling her how great she is for bf her adopted baby. Fetishising his skin. Makes me sick.

              Liked by 1 person

  11. Kate

    August 7, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    When my Amom told me that she would’ve breastfed me if she had known they would end up adopting me (I was a foster went to them at 3 days and she had recently had a stillbirth) I was disgusted and angry. She didn’t breastfeed her 4 bios before me! I think she thought it would’ve made us bond more (it wouldn’t have). Her milk wouldn’t have made me suddenly into her lost daughter which I think is what she really wanted.
    When I had my own she tried to talk me out of breastfeeding!

    Liked by 2 people

    • legitimatebastard

      August 7, 2019 at 9:00 pm

      I’m sorry to have “liked” your comment, Kate, when there really isn’t anything to like about it, other than your words of truth. I’m not sure why there is such manipulation and delusional thinking by adopters.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. TAO

    August 11, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    To the person who keeps posting comments – I’m not approving your comments end of story.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Nara

    August 27, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    TAO, thank you for this space to discuss. I just came back here to post this that came up on my fb feed tonight. Totally triggered me, and reminded me why I’m taking time away from fb. There’s literally no space that adoptive mothers (especially mothers) won’t take over.

    I’ve messaged the sharers to say that most transracial adoptees find it abhorrent and upsetting. I’m sure they’ll just block me.

    So many comments lauding the adoptive mother and fetishising the baby’s skin, it’s total white saviourism.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      August 28, 2019 at 1:45 pm

      Pretty sure the post you linked is what started the latest series of FB posts on the subject, one of which is where I found how best to describe what it feels like to me. I’ve learned to just avoid many of these triggers, sometimes I fail, which usually results in me creating a post here to try to talk in a civil voice.

      I do think you’re right in the Adoptive Mom’s taking over posts and threads and being glorified. Probably the biggest trigger of all for me – the glorification of how wonderful adoption is and the saints that adopt. What gets me most is those who don’t push back and give facts, rather just suck it up and make themselves the hero, cape and all.

      Apparently I needed to vent. Cheers to you Nara – you’ve always called what’s acceptable to you, what you require your space to be.

      Liked by 2 people

    • beth62

      August 29, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      Wow, can you imagine reading all of that from your mom, as an adult.
      It really is just so very sad. 😦
      Yeah, I hope they have lots of money.
      I’d be sending my mom, and dad, a bill for moms healing if I had to hear/read that crap.
      I’d also pass on any further healing therapies for mom.
      Yeah, they are going to need funds for all of that healing they’ve received.
      That’s where I see a big problem is. So many think they are done once they pay the agency, the kids room and board until they are “18”, and maybe a college fund and a car.
      Sorry, but that’s just not enough for a life time of service. Additional service especially.
      Mandatory trust funds need to be established, first, at the least – before a lifetime of “the healing” begins.

      Liked by 1 person


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