Breast or Bottle | Dugan Adoption Diaries


I have been meaning to write about this for awhile, but like most things I have been meaning to write, they take back burner to a cute, gummy, little eight month old and her every day demands. I barely have time to shower these days, let alone sit at a laptop! But I’ve been asked this question a few times already, and maybe you have the same question. So here we go:

“Why aren’t you breastfeeding Selah? I thought that was your plan.” 

If you have been following this blog for awhile, you may have read that when we started this process, I attempted to induce lactation so that I could breast feed our little baby. I had several personal reasons for wanting to do this, the biggest one was for bonding purposes. I had breast fed my three older children, and I loved the closeness it brought us. One of my biggest concerns in adopting was bonding and attachment. Breast feeding seemed to be the answer to these concerns.

Anyways, I was determined, and with some research, medical help , and a lot of time at the pump, I actually was able to re-lactate. Our bodies are nothing short of amazing. I was elated.

However just like I wrote before on this blog:

“Like everything in adoption, I know that my “Plan” to breastfeed is just only that, ” A Plan.” A plan that might not work out in the perfect way I am envisioning and hoping for. And we are ok with that. We entered into this adoption process knowing that we have very little control of the outcome. Knowing that makes it all that much easier to approach everything with our palms and open to whatever possibility may come our way…” 

I knew that even if I was able to nurse our adopted babe, that decision ultimately rested in her birth mama’s hands. Not in mine. It wasn’t my decision for Selah to make.

Sure enough, after we were matched and when Selah’s “S”, was asked if she would be comfortable with me nursing her, she wasn’t.  I wish I could say that I was totally fine with her wishes. Initially I was sorely disappointed. I really had to let go of my own wants and desires, and remember that what I wanted, was not nearly as important as what Selah’s birth mom wanted. I had to remind myself of a certain statement, that I lived by throughout our entire adoption process. Especially when things didn’t go the way I planned or hoped, which they often didn’t :

This was not about Me. 

Plain and simple. Never was and never will be.

So formula and bottles it was, and still is.

I’ve had several people ask, why I didn’t just nurse her anyways? “Did “S” ever have to know if I was nursing or not?” ” Couldn’t I have just done what I wanted after placement? ”


I suppose I could have. But ultimately what I desired was never – ever worth betraying “S” ‘s trust.

I could never do that to her.  And I could never do that to Selah. 

My heart throughout this process always has been to honor Selah’s birthmama. And a huge part of that is honoring her desires to the best of my ability. She deserves that kind of respect. To go behind her back would be nothing short of dishonest, and horrible. That was never an option. So I packed away the pump, and it is now sitting in the closet gathering dust.

And the world didn’t end when I purchased those baby bottles. Imagine that !

The other day, my sister in law , flew in with her husband and three little girls. Her littlest is only a few months older than Selah, and as cute as a button. Ironically enough, the day we announced to the family we were adopting, was the same day that my sister in law announced her pregnancy. I think it’s sweet how these two lives are intertwined with each other.

Anyways, it dawned on me the other day, just how equally bonded these two babes are to their Mamas. They both look to their Mama for reassurance when someone else is holding them. They both snuggle and kiss their Mamas for comfort. They both smile and squeal when we walk into the room at their Mamas. They both look to us when they are tired or hungry.

One is nursed.

The other adopted and bottle fed.

They both are attached. They both are bonded. 

The other day, Selah crawled up onto my lap just for hugs, “mmmm’s”, and long, wet, smooshy kisses. This is a kind of love that she ONLY reserves for me ( much to my utter glee ! ). Now it has become her favorite pass time.

She must know that I am Mama.

I guess it’s safe to say that all my worry was for nothing. But you don’t know what you know, until you know.

So if you need me, I’ll probably be standing at the kitchen sink, washing all the bottles again for the millionth time, with thankfulness.

Thankful that Selah was entrusted into our care.

Thankful I get to be her Mama.

Thankful that we are able to provide nourishment to her sweet little growing body.

Thankful that through our love for Selah we get to also love her birth mama.