Breastmilk 101

Breastmilk 101

Before the baby is born, both you and your intended parents will want to discuss breastfeeding. While breastmilk is not a requirement of surrogacy, it’s important to discuss with your intended parents their expectations or stance on you providing breastmilk for the baby. 


Before making any decision, it’s important to know the answers to some common questions on this topic:


Why would a surrogate choose to provide breastmilk to their intended parents?


There are many reasons a surrogate will choose to provide breastmilk. Pumping, whether for your intended parents, or donation, can lower your blood pressure, burn calories, reduce your chances of ovarian and breast cancer, and provide additional benefits in the recovery process. 


Breast milk itself also provides benefits to babies both in the long term and short term.


It’s also worth mentioning that the physical act of pumping releases oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone”. This hormone promotes the feeling of love, trust, and warm fuzzies.


How does breastfeeding with a surrogate work? 


If both the surrogate and intended parents agree to receiving breastmilk from the surrogate, an additional fee will apply for the surrogate’s extended services. The fees should include shipping costs, and must be included in the contract before the baby is born.


After the baby is born, the surrogate will pump and store the breastmilk in freezer-ready bags. She will then ship the bags to the intended parents weekly (or whenever agreed upon).


The surrogate will provide milk to the intended parents for as long as agreed upon, or until milk runs out, or (in some cases), the surrogate will not provide for personal or medical reasons.


Shipping vs local, which way is best?


If the intended parents do not wish for the surrogate to pump, the surrogate can explore other options. These options include selling to milk banks or other intended parents or donating to milk banks or community groups. 


When shipping breastmilk, it’s important to understand that breastmilk is a perishable item, and certain measures must be taken when shipping. For example, the milk must be frozen and delivered on ice. The process can seem overwhelming, and tricky, but some companies specialize in shipping breastmilk to take the stress out of the shipping process. 


If shipping breastmilk sounds like too much, donating or selling locally is also an option. Start by searching for breastmilk donor community groups on Facebook, or a Google search for milk banks in your area. 


Whether breastmilk is shipped or provided locally, the better option is what works better for you. If staying local, you might be more limited to where you can send your milk, but it may be more convenient. Shipping may allow you access to more places to send, but could be tricky to understand the shipping process. Ultimately the option to ship or stay local will depend on your personal preferences. 


Before you decide whether to provide breastmilk to your Intended Parents or explore other options, make sure you can commit to the pumping process. 


Do you have time to pump every day, and multiple times a day?

Do you have the necessary support to breastfeed? Will you need a lactation counselor?

Do you have access to the proper equipment to breastfeed? 


While you have the choice to breastfeed as long (or as little) as you like, it’s important to acknowledge that a baby is becoming dependent on your milk. Make sure to communicate with your intended parents how long you wish to breastfeed, or if you have trouble providing milk. 


Research and communication are the two most important factors when deciding whether to provide breastmilk or not. If you need any assistance or have any questions, please reach out to us. We are happy to help.

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