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To pump or not to pump – that’s the question surrogates are faced with when it’s time to obtain breastmilk.
At Hatch Egg Donation and Surrogacy, we have the honor of meeting intended parents and surrogates from all walks of life, and the answers to this question are as many and varied as the people themselves.
Some intended parents come to us insistent on receiving 100% breast milk for their babies and inquiring as to whether their surrogates are willing to pump. Others don’t even think about the possibility of receiving breastmilk. The short answer is that there is no wrong answer. There are quite a few possible solutions when pumping as a surrogate or obtaining breastmilk as an intended parent.
Let’s start with the surrogate side of this debate. More often than not, surrogates don’t choose to pump. After all of the months leading up to getting pregnant and nine months of pregnancy, many surrogates prefer to return to their non-pregnant lives and enjoy some quiet downtime with their families without the interruption of pumping.
Make no mistake, pumping is a significant commitment of time and energy, and it’s completely understandable to want that time to simply rest and recover. However, there are some great perks for pumping surrogates up for the task. Some of the benefits of pumping as a surrogate are:
All of that pumping helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size.
Sometimes, surrogates feel a little bit of a let-down (pardon the terrible pun!) when they’ve completed their extraordinary quest of safely delivering a baby to loving parents. Their amazing mission is complete! Pumping to provide milk either to their surrogate baby or to donate can often serve as a nice altruistic transition back to normal life, fulfilling that strong desire to give to others that makes surrogates tick.
Surrogates who pump to provide milk at their intended parent’s request receive additional weekly compensation for their time and efforts. This additional income can add up to about $1,000 per month ($250 per week)!
Many surrogates find they lose the pregnancy pounds faster if they’re pumping because of the increased caloric burn.
However, there are some downsides to surrogates who choose to pump. These downsides can be the extra time and effort spent pumping and washing your pump parts, additional efforts to ship milk or coordinate pick-ups and drop-offs, and the physical discomforts that can come with lactation. All in all, weigh the pros and cons of pumping as a surrogate equally and do whatever feels natural to you.
Intended parents are increasingly passionate about seeking out breast milk for their babies so that they’re receiving all of the health benefits that come with breast milk. There are many known health benefits of breastmilk for babies, and the great news is that there are many ways to go about getting breast milk:
If your surrogate is able and willing to pump to provide breastmilk, this is a great way to obtain breastmilk for your baby. Any quantity of breastmilk has health benefits, so even if you only choose to receive milk for a short period of time, this will be beneficial.
There are many ways to locate and connect with private milk donors online, and some are even surrogates whose intended parents decided not to receive milk. Safety comes first, so make sure you consult with your pediatrician and properly screen your breastmilk donors.
You can access donor milk through milk banks, where the breast milk of many donor moms is tested, compiled, and pasteurized before packaging, freezing and shipping to you. Pasteurization does change the immunity properties of breastmilk, however, this is an accessible way to purchase milk for roughly $4 per ounce. A prescription may be required from a pediatrician when accessing donor milk banks.
Now that you know your options for obtaining breast milk, you can get creative with how you feed your baby. Some intended parents go to great lengths to feed their baby 100% breastmilk and avoiding formula altogether, others supplement the breastmilk they receive with formula, and some choose to go with 100% formula.
When it comes to feeding a surrogate baby, the consensus remains that breastfed is best. The Hatch Surrogacy Program wishes you many happy feedings ahead after your surrogate baby's arrival.
At Hatch, we specialize in curating outstanding matches between intended parents and surrogates. You deserve the happiest, healthiest journey possible, and we’ll do everything in our power to make that happen. We’ve been known to deliver surrogate medications in the middle of the night, and provide assurances to surrogates and intended parents at 3 AM. Whatever you need, we’re always available. Join Hatch’s program to embark on a journey toward parenthood unlike any other.
In working with the oldest egg donation program in the country, you’ll have access to the top 5% of surrogate and egg donor candidates nation-wide. You’ll feel guided and supported every step of the way with your dedicated care coordinator, and many of our staff have even been surrogates and egg donors themselves.
Note: This blog has been updated since it's original publication on 4/12/2018.