A breast milk surrogate is quite literally, a lactating mother who pumps breastmilk for a child that is not her own. There are many breastmilk stories by surrogate mothers who help intended parents.
Some, but not all, surrogacy arrangements are made with the desire for the surrogate to pump breast milk after the baby’s birth, if she is able to do so, and become a breast milk surrogate. This can be quite healthy for the newborn, and beneficial to all parties.
In the breast milk vs formula debate, studies have shown that women who breastfeed are able to lose pregnancy weight more quickly. In addition, the nutritional benefits to the baby can be staggering.
Pumping breastmilk, however, can be a very time consuming, and occasionally uncomfortable process. Generally, breastmilk will need to be expressed every three hours or the breast milk surrogate will dry up.
This includes throughout the night, so a pumping surrogate mother will need to wake herself throughout the night to continue pumping. Some surrogate mothers have trouble pumping milk, producing little to no results.
Others are able to pump more than is needed. It depends on each individual woman. Immediately following birth, the body will produce colostrum, a thick, oily substance that is not milk, but contains antibodies designed to help the newborn child.
Unfortunately, this colostrum is difficult, and sometimes impossible to express via a breast pump. It can take 5-7 days for a mother’s milk to fully come in, during which time she needs to attempt pumping every three hours, day and night, or no milk will come in at all.
If you have decided to pump breastmilk for your surrogate child, and become a breast milk surrogate, it is very important that you choose to use a hospital grade pump. You can rent these at a medical supply store, or at the hospital itself, and the intended parents should cover the cost. Alternately, if you have pumped successfully with a prior pregnancy and already have a pump that you have used, you could certainly continue using that pump.
Though buying breastmilk is illegal, any costs associated with the pumping or shipping of the milk should be paid by the intended parents. Some surrogates also receive a compensation for their time for pumping, while others see pumping as a gift they are giving for the health and well-being of the baby.
Not all surrogacy arrangements will deal with breastmilk. Many intended parents do not want the surrogate to provide breast milk, while many surrogate mothers do not want to take on the responsibility and time constraints of pumping for the baby.
Each situation is different. There is no right or wrong approach.