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Top Ten Tips for Breastfeeding an Adopted Baby Accustomed to Bottle Feeding

1. Start early to induce lactation so that you have a good supply of milk when the baby arrives. (See Top Ten Tips for Breastfeeding the Adopted Child and the Creating a Family radio show.)

2. Switch to a wide nipple with a slow flow for bottle feeding before offering your breast.

3. Switch from formula to breast milk that you have pumped or has been donated. If you do not have enough milk pumped mix your milk with baby formula.

4. Hold the baby in the breast feeding position when feeding her with a bottle.

5. Gradually switch to nursing the baby with a nipple shield and lactation aid (tubing). Gradually remove the nipple shield. As your milk supply increases, you may be able to stop using the lactation supplementation aid.

6. If child needs extra milk because you are not able to produce enough breast milk, use a lactation aid rather than bottle, cup, or finger feeding

7. Especially at the beginning, focus on skin to skin contact between mother and baby. Undress the baby, except for diaper, to maximize contact with the mom's skin.

8. Have a board certified lactation specialist available to work with you when you are first trying to breastfeed. It is very helpful if this person is knowledgeable about the specific issues a woman may face if she has not been pregnant. Check with the International Lactation Consultant Association or the La Leche League or for someone near you.

9. Your focus should be on what is in the best interest of the child. Be sensitive to your child's need to have something familiar in her life during the transition period to your home. Some children are very attached to the bottle and the sudden removal of this source of comfort is not a good idea. For these children, it is best to cuddle and maximize skin contact while feeding her with the bottle. Change should be gradual.

10. Remember, that breastfeeding is more than just feeding your child. It can be a wonderful way to bond regardless if you supply all his milk supply needs. If breastfeeding does not work for you or your child, don't worry. There are many other great ways to bond.

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