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Can a surrogate baby be breastfed? Learn this blog to learn more.

Let me introduce Shilpashrii Amogh Masur, she is a mother to 2-year-old Trishika.

She has agreed to answer a few questions and share her experience with Surrogacy and Breastfeeding and we cannot be more thankful to her. 

Would you be comfortable to share why and how did you decide to opt for surrogacy? 

After having early miscarriages twice during my IVF pregnancy, once with twins and once with singleton, doctors couldn’t find the real reason why the pregnancy wasn’t getting successful.

  1.  There were no clear answers since neither my husband nor I had any issues( got pretty much every damn test done).
  2. It was taking a toll on me physically and mentally. After failing twice and losing out on good quality embryos which were used, I didn’t want to do it again the third time and waste my good embryos. That’s when I decided, surrogacy would be the best option for me since I had 6 more good embryos.

It must have been a very tough time but bravo! You are an inspiration. 

So after your baby was born, what made you decide that direct breastfeeding was the right choice?

I had been following BSIM since I was trying to get pregnant and I learned a lot from the group. One of the main lessons was how important direct breastfeeding was for the child as well as the mother – the importance of colostrum, the importance of latching etc. Also, my daughter was a preemie, and I just knew from the time she was born that breast milk is the only way she will become stronger and healthier, and she did, just with breast milk and not the formula. Although the hospital forced us to feed formula, my baby had latched well and she loved breast milk and I would not want to take that away from her? That’s heinous! 

In fact, since my sister-in-law was my surrogate, the hospital was so sceptical about even giving her the baby for her first feed (colostrum) in the recovery room, that they even took a letter from me in writing that I am giving my baby wholeheartedly with my own wish and will for her to feed. It was shocking for them also. 

I really want to thank my sister-in-law for not only giving me the best gift, my daughter by carrying her for 8 months but also spending sleepless days and nights feeding my baby while I was fully engrossed in taking care of her 2-year-old toddler, my nephew (son) Dishant.

That is such a lovely bond! These kinds of relationships are so rare in the world. I am sure you had all the support too.
Can you share what kind of support you got from family/ friends?

My family was extremely supportive. My sister-in-law who gave birth to my baby wholeheartedly agreed to breastfeed my daughter until 1 year at least. First 6 months she directly breastfed (no bottles) after that we started pumping and started feeding through bottles because I wanted to sleep with her through the night. But unfortunately, when my baby was 9 months old,  our whole family got Covid including the kids. My sister-in-law’s breast milk supply stopped abruptly the night she got positive.  I was hospitalised and my sister-in-law was home quarantined, locked up in her room. Without any knowledge of formulas or anything, I just did some research and my husband went and got the formula and I watched YouTube videos in the hospital (I had never done it as well) and taught my husband how to make formula milk and he fed her that night and put her to sleep. It was crazy! 

Just wondering, but were there any fears? 

Not really. Although many relatives and friends did tell me that if my sister-in-law breastfed her, the baby would be only connected/ attached to her and not me, I knew that could happen but I also knew that I could also build a bond with my daughter as well, irrespective of whether I carried her or breastfed her. Just like how the child would get attached to her father(neither does he carry nor breastfeed, right?) I knew the power of love,  genes and also I did some skin to skin and Kangaroo care.

What is the message/ advice which you want to send across to mothers who may be in a similar situation as yours? 

Baby’s needs are always a priority. That is number one. Everything else can be sorted out later. You will not get that nutrient-rich breast milk, colostrum, liquid gold even if you pay millions of dollars and make the right choice, and don’t fall into the formula milk trap that hospitals very conveniently push you in.

Also, many people ask me why surrogacy and why not adoption. 

  1. I would’ve chosen adoption if I hadn’t had those lovely embryos. 
  2. I wanted to try every resource and way possible to have a baby of my own before I wholeheartedly choose adoption. I didn’t want to revert later that I didn’t try Surrogacy. Also, adoption is such a selfless act, you cannot do it with regrets and qualms in your heart.

So please, folks, try Surrogacy. if it is an option for you. It is a wonderful gift to humankind from science! There is nothing shameful or taboo about it. In simple terms you are just renting someone’s womb for a few months to raise your baby, that’s all! And please know that there won’t be blood mixing, gene mixing and all those myths people assume. Blood group, genes, hair, eye and skin colour everything will be yours and your husband’s only and not the surrogates!

Yes we couldn’t agree more, thank you for busting all the myths. What kept you going during the difficult times?

There were a lot of difficult times. I battled Infertility for almost 8 years. It wasn’t easy. People weren’t kind or nice. My health was going for a toss with all the hormones and injections. My mental state was depleting. I quit my IT job to get pregnant. Many people condemned and mocked my decision. Many people told me to forget it and move on. Some said don’t try for a baby, just you and hubby enjoy life. Through all these moments, there was only one thing that kept me going, the dream that I will have a baby one day in my hand, my child! And as time passed, contrary to what people believed, my dream and desire only became stronger, there were no two ways about it. I will try until it happens. 

Very brave and lovely decision indeed.  Now that your baby girl is two, just want to know how has been the journey after your little one was born?

It is the resilience and the strength a mother gets when her baby is born, that is unfathomable. A mother’s mind is very strong and the love for her child can really move mountains, I believe. My son(nephew) and my daughter kept me going. 

She was born just before covid struck our lives, hence it has been challenging. Every doctor’s visit was stressful and scary, and I was tense about us contracting covid.

Then, there were times when my daughter would choose my sister in law over me, although it was disheartening for a moment, I understood that my sister-in-law was the only person she knew in this crazy scary world and that is where she would find her solace. 

Eventually, as she grew she started getting attached to me as well as the rest of the family. Now she and I are inseparable and best friends. She wants both of us mommies and why not? She is unique and special and she deserves unconditional love from both mothers! Isn’t she so lucky?!

Yes, indeed she is a very lucky and blessed child 🙂

We also wanted to check what were the challenges you faced during her growing times?

Not really, she is a very happy, fun-loving child. She’s not too cranky, always smiling, willing to try new things, adaptable to change quickly.

When the baby was 9 months old the whole house was Covid positive including the kids. When covid struck our family,  she went from breast milk in the morning to formula in the evening! That’s it. A blunt change and her 2 most important people also weren’t there with her during that change – my sister-in-law and me. We both used to take care of her feeding and everything. For 15 days during covid, she slept with my husband, dad and brother, all for the first time. She is mentally and physically very strong and has high immunity(I give full credit for these to breast milk).

She went from being a preemie baby weight to a normal baby weight in the first 6 weeks of her life, and her only source of feed was breast milk.

Another incident I want to share – 

My cousin gave birth to her son at 41 weeks full-term, normal delivery at 3.4 kilos birth weight just 2 days after my daughter was born. My daughter was 2.3 kilos at birth and by the second month, my daughter was weighing the same as him.

Also, he was being mixed fed, both formula and breast milk whereas my daughter was being fed only breast milk! That is the power of breast milk.

Wow! What a heartwarming and extraordinary love story it is!

Thanks a lot for sharing your journey with us. Your story will definitely inspire and motivate others who choose a pathway similar to yours.

Wish to speak with a member of our team who is a certified lactation professional and also an experienced breastfeeding mother, click on this link.

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