I'm a gay dad and can't breastfeed, obviously! How can I make sure my new baby gets the benefits of breast milk?
All families worry about how to best feed their brand new baby! But as a same sex couple made up of two dads, how to get breastmilk for your baby may be a big concern. While formula is a great option for many families, breastmilk is absolutely available to you!
Many hospitals are able to offer donated breastmilk to families that are unable to breastfeed. The milk and those who have donated it have gone through extensive screening to ensure there is no harmful bacteria present in the milk or illnesses in the woman that could be passed through the breastmilk.
There are also milk banks outside of the hospital setting that are available to families in search of breastmilk. The cost is a bit more prohibitive, ranging from $3-$5 an ounce. While expensive, this helps cover some of the costs associated with the screening of the donors and the processing of the milk, as most milk banks are non-profit.
Another common route is having an agreement with your gestational surrogate. Prior to the birth of your baby (and hopefully before matching!), you will want to go over in depth what an exclusively pumping relationship would look like. Agreeing to pump would mean your surrogate is pumping every 2-3 hours (every 2 hours for the first 8 weeks) for a minimum of 30 minutes each pump session. That’s a solid four to six hours spent on the pump each day, including waking up in the middle of the night! So, it is not surprising that most surrogates ask to be compensated an average of $1 an ounce or a flat fee ranging from $250-$300 a week for their time, as well as having all supplies and shipping cost covered by the parents. The cost is still there but not as steep as from private milk banks, and you have the added benefit of knowing who baby is receiving milk from.
While breastmilk is a wonderful option and holds many benefits, it may not be an option or desire of yours. Formula fed babies are healthy too! There are so many options on the market, you are very likely to find one that suits your baby well. No matter how you chose to feed your new baby, we are here to support you during your journey!