Facebook Twitter YouTube

17427

Adoptive Breastfeeding: Defining the Mission

Monday, October 22, 2012
Room 346-347 (Morial Convention Center)
Alla Gordina, MD, FAAP, Global Pediatrics, International Adoptions Medical Support Services, East Brunswick, NJ

Purpose: Very little data is available on adoptive breastfeeding (ABF) in general and on the need for it in particular.  Also, terms like ‘ABF’, ‘induced lactation’, and others fail to identify parental designation (adoptive, foster, or kinship), dyad's primary goals (nutrition and/or attachment), child's age and condition (developmental, emotional, sensory and/or physical).

The objective of this study was to review available information, define the ABF process, determine the need for ABF information, and assess the feasibility of further investigations

Methods: Medical literature was accessed by using the database searches with key words 'adoptive', 'breastfeeding', 'lactation', 'induced'. Data from the general Internet searches as well as archives of adoption-related and breastfeeding-related discussion groups was collected and evaluated. Monthly global and local (United States) search volumes were assessed using “GoogleAdWords” tool. Same keywords searches were compared with searches dealing with general breastfeeding and with special breastfeeding situations (Down Syndrome, cleft lip/palate, PKU, and prematurity).

Results: Studies were limited to case reports with mostly either single or few dyads of newborn or young infant adoption. Failure to initiate or sustain ABF (partial or exclusive) was frequently attributed to intrinsic maternal factors (higher education, lack of motivation, etc) only. Adoption-related groups were more open about failures and complications and usually had reservations towards ABF. Very few authors were objectively addressing unusual demands of special needs children, international adoptions, and/or older adoptions.

Results of the GoogleAdWords searches are presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Comparative Value of Monthly Breastfeeding-Related Searches on Google AdWords.

Keywords

Related Keywords

Monthly searches

Global

Local (US)

Breastfeeding

 

4,090,000

1,830,000

 

Adoptive breastfeeding

 

1,300

880

 

Breastfeeding adopted baby

720

480

 

Adoptive mothers breastfeeding

320

210

 

Adoptive nursing

 

880

720

 

Nursing adopted baby

480

390

 

Induced lactation

 

12,100

8,100

 

Induce lactating

9,900

6,600

 

Inducing lactation

8,100

5,400

 

Induced lactation without pregnancy

880

590

 

Induced lactation protocol

210

140

 

Breastfeeding (and)

 

 

 

 

-adopted baby

720

480

 

-premature infant

720

480

 

-cleft palate

590

320

 

-cleft lip

320

170

 

-Down syndrome

320

170

 

-PKU

140

91

Conclusions: ABF is a desirable and realistically achievable goal. Our research has, for the first time, demonstrated by clear evidence the urgent need for ABF services, as search requests for information were compatible with (and frequently exceeding) search requests regarding common pediatric conditions affecting breastfeeding.

But there are very few evidence-based resources and very few professionals are available to mothers considering ABF. ABF should be viewed as a continuum of attachment and development promoting interventions ranging from encouraging holding and skin-to skin contact to the pinnacle of partial or exclusive breastfeeding. We suggest the term “Adaptive nursing ™” to define the very special needs of this very unique dyad. Further research and training are essential and require cooperation of adoption and breastfeeding specialists.