They say “It takes a village”. I’ve heard the phrase over and over again. I’ve always known what it meant, but I don’t think I every truly understood and felt it until we had our second child. A month ago we adopted our son and the help and support we have received, even before he was born or matched with our family, has been overwhelming.
When we announced that we were adopting, our friends and family rallied around us. They bought raffle tickets and t-shirts to help us raise money for our adoption fund. The amount of monetary donations we received were more than we expected. Even strangers were generous with their gifts to help us grow our family.
The day we got the call that our son was here and would be coming home in as little as 24 hours was exciting and overwhelming. We had a day to prepare for his arrival. It was quite the whirlwind. When a cloth diaper company heard that he was only 5 lbs, they shipped off a huge box of newborn diapers that would fit. Family ran out to buy us preemie clothes. A group friends put together a dinner schedule to make sure we would have meals. And the next day when we brought our son home, there were balloons, decorations, and gifts welcoming us home.
I forgot how exhausting the newborn stage is. We’ve adjusted well to having a newborn again. Thank goodness for paternity leave! It’s been a crazy month of finding our new normal, but the biggest struggle has been feeding our son. I had big dreams of breastfeeding our adopted son. I had a major over supply with our first child and had hoped that inducing lactation would be easy. It turns out that while it’s possible to breastfeed without a pregnancy, it’s not as simple as I had hoped. There’s a lot of pumping, around the clock. The medications used to help are not easily available in the US and are very expensive. After much debate, we decided that inducing lactation is not the best option for us. But formula wasn’t working either. In just four weeks our baby had tried four different formulas and his little tummy still wasn’t happy. So we turned to donor breast milk. His tiny, preemie tummy was finally happy.
These days, I spend my free time searching for donor milk from local moms. These mamas are amazing! They’re doing the work of feeding their own babies and supplying milk for babies like mine. Moms with low supply or no supply are able to feed their babies with nutrient rich breast milk. I’ve traded lattes and diapers for milk, sometimes I just replace the storage bags. These moms aren’t asking for much in exchange. Many of them don’t want anything in return. They have amazing hearts and just love knowing that they can help another baby to grow and be fed. I love meeting these moms. A thank you or a latte never seems like enough, but I always leave a meet up knowing that they are happy to help. The smiles and kindness from these women is heart warming.
I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep the donor milk supply going. We have a small freezer that I keep stocked, constantly searching for more milk each week to keep my son fed. If we have to supplement with formula along the way, we will. Hopefully by the time we reach that point, my son’s tummy will have developed more and he will be able to tolerate it. But I’m even more hopeful that I’ll continue to encounter even more local moms willing to share their extra milk with my son.