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Choosing how to feed your newborn is an important decision for every parent. Whether you hope to provide breast milk for your newborn or you’ve decided that formula is a better fit, there is no “right or wrong” answer. 

For parents through surrogacy and the surrogates who help them, the decision to receive and provide breast milk must be made as a team. One that depends, in part, on a surrogate’s familiarity and comfort level with breastfeeding and/or pumping. 

At Growing Generations, we know there’s a lot to consider on the topic. That’s why we decided to get firsthand perspectives from a few of our experienced surrogates through a casual conversation about the decision-making process, helpful preparations, complications, and much more.


For some surrogates, the choice to pump for their intended parents was an easy one. Knowing how passionately they felt about wanting breast milk for their own babies, they understood the personal desire their intended parents would potentially have. For others, they know that pumping breast milk will not reasonably fit into their lifestyle, they experienced challenges when breastfeeding their own children, or perhaps they aren’t sure but are willing to give it a try. Pumping takes up a lot of time, energy, and commitment, making it essential to think through the process and prepare for it in advance.


So, you’ve decided to pump, how should you prepare? 

  • Kelly, a three-time surrogate with Growing Generations, made sure to have her breast shields, nursing bras, and a hospital-grade pump ready to go. 

  • Jodie, a two-time surrogate, did her best to load up on shields with different nipple sizes because she knew that nipple size can change after giving birth. 

These are wonderful ways to prepare for pumping after birth, but sometimes complications arise that a surrogate isn’t prepared for. Although Jodie was thoroughly prepared for her pumping journey after giving birth, she, unfortunately, ended up developing mastitis (an infection of a clogged milk duct). This can cause a lot of pain and frustration when trying to pump, so her journey was not as smooth as she anticipated. Even though her doctor recommended she quit pumping during her first journey, it didn’t stop her from trying again (and succeeding) her second time around.

Connie, who is also a two-time surrogate with Growing Generations, experienced quite a lot of difficulty with one of her journeys. She had a difficult delivery and pumping right after giving birth seemed almost impossible. Instead, she did the best thing she could’ve possibly done in the given situation: She stayed patient with the complications and gave herself grace. She knew her milk would naturally come in a few days later without having to push her body too hard by attempting to pump right away, ultimately letting her body rest when it needed it the most.


Another decision that may be made between surrogates and intended parents, is whether the parents would like the baby to directly latch onto the breast to feed. This, of course, is another group decision, and it's an important part of your post-birth relationship. It is very important for both parties to be completely comfortable with the idea of the surrogate breastfeeding before proceeding. 

One common concern for surrogates and intended parents is that directly breastfeeding the baby could create a bond that was not felt during pregnancy. This was something Kelly considered in her first journey, but when she and her intended parents made the decision to try it out, she described the feeling as “feeding a friend’s kid,” and she felt no attachment. Although Kelly didn’t experience the feeling of a bond being formed while feeding, her feelings about the process were openly expressed.


The length of time intended parents want to receive breast milk for their baby varies. If all goes well, they will receive breast milk for an agreed time period after the birth. 

Pumping & Shipping Breast Milk

If a surrogate does not live within driving distance to the intended parents, the delivery process consists of:

  • Pumping

  • Freezing the milk

  • Storing the frozen bags in a cooler with a cooling agent

  • Placing the cooler in a box to ship to the parents’ location


Shipping breast milk shouldn’t take more than 48 hours to ensure the milk maintains the proper temperature. 

Surrogates receive weekly compensation for these efforts, regardless of the amount of milk, and they are reimbursed for their shipping supplies, all of which can be conveniently purchased online.

Pumping Schedules & Supplies

Kelly, Connie, and Jodie all agree that setting up a pumping schedule is key, especially when life starts to get back to its normal pace. Ensuring you have plenty of supplies on hand and a plan for shipping breast milk to the intended parents are equally as important. 

Weaning Off the Pump

When it’s time for a surrogate to break up with her pump, it can be difficult to quit cold turkey. Instead, surrogates have found it to be much more beneficial to taper down on sessions. Whether that looks like skipping every other pumping session or pumping for less and less time, a slow transition can be a good way to wean off the pump.


Sometimes a surrogate’s breast milk is not a part of the journey, and that’s perfectly fine. There are many reasons this may not be the preferred option, and all are valid. It’s truly a personal choice and one that should be respected.

Breast Milk Banks

If a family wants to utilize breast milk but the surrogate is not comfortable with the idea or is not able to produce breast milk, intended parents have a few options. Women who have an excess supply of breast milk sometimes choose to donate it to milk banks for other families. The best way to go about this option would be to contact a reputable, local milk bank to find out how their process works. 

Other Surrogates

It is also possible to find a surrogate whose intended parents are not interested in receiving breast milk. If she wants to pump for a different family, we can connect them. Intended parents are also encouraged to share their desire to use breast milk at the beginning of their surrogacy journey; that way it can be a goal to be matched with a surrogate who is open to providing it.

Intended Mother Breastfeeding

Some intended mothers would love to experience feeding their baby, to which we say go for it! Something incredible about the human body is that breasts have the ability to produce milk even if a pregnancy has never occurred. Inducing lactation can be achieved for some people through alternative means. The best way for someone to go about breastfeeding this way would be to talk to their doctor about how best to achieve lactation and whether the process is a healthy option for them.


Growing Generations is here to facilitate conversations around breastfeeding and breast milk. We have a comprehensive help guide we can share with you and are here to ensure your journey, whether as a surrogate or a parent, is never walked alone. Feel free to reach out to us online or call us at 323.965.7500.

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