#34: Hope talks with Jennifer Cooper IBCLC and daughter Helina, adoptive mother and child, about their nursing experience
Listen to Jennifer and Helina's interview here:
We are so grateful to Jennifer - not only for sharing her story on the podcast, but for supporting over 1000 parents and professionals interested in adoptive breastfeeding through the Adoptive Breastfeeding Facebook group she created. Check it out!
This episode was really multi-dimensional because it addresses not only adoptive nursing, but also toddler/young child nursing - a topic we haven't delved into much yet on the pod, but a very important one....possibly especially important for these kiddos by adoption. Let's look into what some experts say:
Anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler, PhD looked at the biologically natural weaning age for humans by looking at weaning ages of other mammals. She determined that the natural weaning age for humans is 2.5-7 years of age - quite different than the 1 (or maybe 2) years we typically think of as normal weaning age in developed countries. Dr. Dettwyler's research may be found HERE.
Researcher Karleen Gribble, PhD specifically looked at older children who initiated breastfeeding with their adoptive or foster mothers - these were children as old as 12 years old who sought breastfeeding by attempting to latch or remove their mother's clothing or by verbally asking to nurse. Dr. Gribble found that breastfeeding was an important way these children met developmental needs that were missed as infants and formed a trusting attachment to their adoptive or foster mothers. Dr. Gribble's research paper may be found HERE.
And on a personal note, your podcast co-host Alyssa found that - although all three of her children nursed until they naturally weaned - her child by adoption nursed until she was considerably older than her brothers by birth nursed. Why? Alyssa just feels she needed it more.
Feel free to leave a voice message in the Breastfeeding Outside the Box mailbox with your questions or comments for the podcast -including your medication and herb questions for Dr.Nice. We can't wait to hear from you!
We are proud to present a series of podcasts for parents Breastfeeding Outside the Box, where we aim to support the nourishing and nurturing of babies in exceptional families - families who historically have not received the help and support they need and deserve. Our exceptional families include adoptive, intended, and foster families; gender, sexual, and racial minorities; families with special needs babies; parents who have had breast surgery; mothers with IGT or low milk production for other reasons; exclusively pumping mothers; and more.
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I'm done with all 3 podcasts and I love them! I can't wait to hear the next one. Thanks for providing such a wonderful service. For someone who doesn't know anybody who has breastfed an adopted baby, it is empowering to know that it can and has been done, and that I'm not alone. - Liz M.
I am just extremely excited there are resources available! Thank you so much for the podcasts and information. You have no idea how much hope this has given me. - Manette B.
This is insanely good, do listen! - Stef G.
Thanks for all the support. Everyone in my life is amazed at what he and I are doing together and I can honestly say I wouldn't have the knowledge without your book and podcasts. - Liz M.
Breastfeeding Outside the Box aims to be as inclusive as possible. We are aware that the term "breastfeeding" has limitations: not all of our listeners have breasts and not all of our listeners are feeding at the breast. We are also aware that not all of our listeners identify as mothers. Therefore, we will regularly use the term "nursing" rather than "breastfeeding", and "parent" rather than "mother." While we cannot identify directly with every listener, as adoptive mothers who nursed their babies, Hope and I do understand what it is like to parent outside the box and will make every effort possible to embrace anyone interested in being a part of Breastfeeding Outside the Box. We also know that we are human with our own limitations and biases, and look forward to learning and growing with you. Please let us know how we can make you feel more welcome and supported.
Breastfeeding Outside The Box exists to provide education and information about breastfeeding options for people everywhere. Every effort has been made to provide up to date and accurate information, but this information should never be used to diagnose or treat problems you may be experiencing. Information shared in this episode is not intended to replace medical advice or care from your health care provider, and we encourage you to consult with your personal physician, pediatrician or local IBCLC before making decisions about your care or the care of your baby.