Hello Mamas! I have got a very interesting topic for you today. Our topic today is breastfeeding and relactation. There are many reasons why relaxation may be necessary. Maybe you and your baby were separated due to medical issues and you weren’t able to keep up with breastfeeding, and you want to try again.
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It could be that your baby weaned months ago, but now seems interested again, and you want to know if it’s worth a shot. Or you want to start to breastfeeding (so many of us do!) and decided to wean. Now you’re having second thoughts, and want to know how to bring your supply back and start breastfeeding again.–
Ready for some good news? It is possible to do this!
Relactation, which simply means starting up breastfeeding again after a period of not breastfeeding, takes diligence, work, and determination, and many Mamas have successfully done it.
The key is having realistic expectations, learning a few tricks to increase your chances of success, having a strong support system — and maybe most of all, being gentle with yourself along the way.
What Factors Increase Relactation Success?
There are some things you must consider when you begin your journey. Keep in mind that all people are different and respond to the efforts of relactation with different degrees of success. So Mama do not compare yourself with anyone. Your journey is personal.
Some women will be able to bring in a full supply within weeks. Some will take a bit longer, and some will never quite be able to bring back a full milk supply. Every ounce of breast milk counts, though, and making peace with what you have is vital when you’re working on relactating.
That said, here are some factors that will determine how successful you will be at relactation:
- The younger your baby is, the easier it will be to relactate. Moms with babies in the 3 to 4 month range usually have the highest success rates.
- The more well established your milk supply was before weaning, the easier it will be to re-establish it.
- The more time you have to attempt breastfeeding and pumping, the better, as frequent and effective breastfeeding and pumping is the most important physiological factor for relactation.
- The more interested in breastfeeding your baby is, the easier this process will be. Keep your baby interested by continuing with skin to skin practices as often as possible.
- The more educated you are about how relactation works, the more success you’ll have.
- The more support you have from family, friends, and healthcare providers, the more likely you’ll be to persevere and not give up.
How long does relactation take?
Again, each body reacts differently to attempts at relactation. However, you can expect to see some initial results within about 2 weeks of trying. Some experts believe that the amount of time it takes to relactate is about equal to how long it’s been since you weaned from breastfeeding.
In her book, Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple, Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, concludes that based on available research, full relactation takes an average of about 1 month for most people.–
Ask God For His Help: Keep the Faith As You Try!
Breast milk supply waxes and wanes during the time that you’re breastfeeding, and you may have noticed that it took a while for the entire “milk making factory” to go out of business, even after you weaned. You may still be able to express a little milk, even though it’s been weeks or months since you last nursed or pumped.
Have faith and know that breastfeeding is a hearty, flexible, fluid process, and if you previously breastfed, it may be easier than you think to get things rolling again. Mama have some faith and ask God to go with you on this journey. He wants us to cast every care on Him, because He cares for us.
How Does Milk Production Work?
Milk production works like this: The more you take, the more you make. And the single most effective thing for you to do if you want to relactate is to breastfeed or pump as frequently as possible.
Any stimulation of the breast — whether milk is coming out at first or not — will tell your body to produce more milk. To induce a full milk supply, you’ll want to aim to nurse or pump 8 to 12 times a day, or every 2 to 3 hours, including at least once a night.
Again, at first, you’ll only see drops or not much milk at all. If you keep nursing or pumping, you should start to see increases within a week or so. A little patience goes a long way here.
Not all babies will breastfeed weeks or months after weaning, but you’ll be surprised how many babies will happily try, especially if you offer the breast before bed, after a nap, after a bath, or during skin-to-skin time.
Best Tips For Relactation
Making bottle more like breastfeeds: If you do use bottles, try to make bottle feeding more like breastfeeding by using a slow flow teat, keeping baby upright, taking pauses in the feed, holding baby skin-to-skin and more. See How to Bottle Feed a Breastfed Baby and Best Bottle for a Breastfed Baby for more tips.
- Make breastfeeding more like bottle feeding: Nipple shields can be helpful if baby won’t latch to a naked breast as the silicone shield will feel more like a familiar bottle teat.
- Keep baby well fed: Not Losing weight: Make sure your baby is not desperately hungry while he practices so that he does not associate the breast with frustration and hunger.
- Be patient While Breastfeeding :Let Baby suck, suck, suck!
- Never force your baby to the breast. Babies may touch, lick or nuzzle the nipple before they latch. Be patient. Dropping breast milk or formula on the areola towards the nipple can encourage a baby to lick the breast and latch (drop and drip).
- Night Feeds Are Important for a milk supply as that is when prolactin levels are higher5
- Offering Both Breasts Per Feed :This helps build supply and sustains breastfeeding.
- Use breast compressions : To increase the flow of milk and keep baby sucking as long as possible (being careful not to disturb your baby’s latch).
- Spend lots of time skin-to-skin with your baby; this increases prolactin levels, which can also increase your milk supply. Let your baby come to the breast as often as they wish. Practice it as often as possible. Lying down and standing. A sling to carry baby is good to.
- Make sure your baby is well latched, taking in a good portion of your nipple and areola and sucking effectively.
- Continue to offer supplementary milk so that your baby will continue to grow and thrive as you rebuild your milk supply. It’s important not to stop supplementing until your supply has increased.
- Allow comfort nursing as much as your baby likes — at first, you can think of nursing as “snacks” and build up to actual meals as your supply increases.
- Consider using an at–breast nursing supplementary, which is a flexible tube attached to your breast that delivers milk while your baby nurses and stimulates your supply.
- If your baby will not breastfeed, or won’t breastfeed often:
- Pump your milk frequently to ensure that you reach your goal of stimulating and emptying the breasts every 2 to 3 hours or so.
- Make sure your pump is in good working order. Consider renting a hospital-grade pump for maximum effectiveness.
- Consider adding massage and hand expression to your pumping routine.
- (Is your baby premature and need a little help with feeds? Check here to see Medela Supplemental Nursing System – Feeding Tube Device and Baby Feeding System for Moms and Babies Facing Special Challenges.)
- Consider “power pumping,” where you pump several times an hour for an hour or two to simulate cluster feeding, which naturally increases supply.
In addition to nursing or pumping, you may want to consider adding a galactagogue to the mix. A galactagogue is any food, herb, or prescription medication that is thought to help boost your milk supply.
Speak with your healthcare provider about what herbs are safe for you to try, and about the potential risks of any supplements you are considering. Your doctor may also be open to prescribing medication that increases milk supply.
What About Lactation And Not Pregnant: Is This Possible?
Absolutely yes! it is possible to lactate and not be pregnant. Many women resort to adop and want to experience bonding with their baby. This is where relactation comes into play.
Are you considering relactation? Relactation or induced lactation (for those who did not give birth to their baby) is essentially a two-fold process:
- Firstly, you will be teaching (or re-teaching) baby to nurse at the breast, and to equate nursing with comfort. If you’re having problems getting baby to nurse, see Help — My Baby Won’t Nurse!
- At the same time you will be developing (or re-developing) a milk supply. Developing a milk supply requires nipple stimulation (via baby nursing, hand expression, pumping or a combination) and milk removal (once there is milk to remove). If your baby will nurse, regular and frequent nursing sessions (even if baby is just learning in the beginning) will be very helpful.
If your baby is 4 months old or younger it will generally be easier to relactate. It will also be easier if your milk supply was well established (frequent and effective nursing and/or pumping) during the first 4-6 weeks postpartum. However, moms with older babies, moms who did not establish a good milk supply in the beginning, and adoptive moms who have never breastfed can also get good results. The benefits of breastfeeding is what makes it so worthwhile. even if you do not have a full milk supply.–
Finding A Breastfeeding Specialist
A breastfeeding specialist can be invaluable to identify the reasons why breastfeeding didn’t get off to a good start the first time round or to find the reasons why you had a low milk supply so that you can avoid running into the same problems again. With specialist breastfeeding help most difficulties can be overcome and you can be fully prepared for a successful breastfeeding journey.
Consider Using Galactagogues
Galactagogues are specific foods, herbs or prescription medicines that are thought to help a milk supply when coupled with efficient breast drainage. Galactagogues are not always needed for relactation—many mothers have brought back a milk supply by expressing or breastfeeding alone, particularly in places with a strong breastfeeding culture 2 3. Some mothers use herbal supplements, such as fenugreek or blessed thistle, to stimulate milk production. You can usually buy these at health food stores or herb shops and occasionally at some large supermarkets or pharmacies. For more information see There are also several prescription medications that increase milk supply. These herbal and pharmaceutical methods for stimulating milk supply will not be particularly effective unless combined with frequent nursing and/or pumping. See What is a galactagogue? Do I need one? …Herbal remedies for increasing milk supply.
What is a Galactagogue? for further reading.
What If Baby Is Not Nursing Well?
Nursing Supplementary Feedings
If baby is not nursing well (or not yet latching at all), pumping will make a big difference in increasing your milk supply. Even if baby appears to be nursing well, additional pumping will speed up the relactation process. See Establishing and maintaining milk supply when baby is not nursing for more information.
You will also want to take a look at some of the reasons why you are not having a rich milk supply. Keep working at it – some babies have gone back to the breast after many months of bottle feeding. Even if you are not able to persuade baby to latch, you have the option of re-establishing your milk supply via pumping and giving baby your milk via bottle or cup (this is called exclusive pumping).
Consider giving your baby his feedings via an alternative feeding method (rather than a bottle), such as a nursing supplementer, feeding syringe, finger feeding setup, flexible cup, spoon, medicine/eye dropper, etc.
If your baby is latching well, a nursing supplementary can be a big help: it will encourage your baby to nurse at your breast by giving him a constant flow of milk (expressed milk and/or formula) while he stimulates your breasts to produce more milk.
Isn’t it great that you can still breastfeed if you have stopped, never started or have not even been pregnant. This is amazing! It is important that if you are going to succeed in this, you must follow the guidelines as much as possible. Remember that the more you breastfeed or pump, the more milk you will make , so do them both as often as possible.
And not forgetting the skin to skin. You must do all you can with it to keep baby interested. Get hooked up with a lactation specialist to help you through. Ask God to help you, trust, talk to Him about every situation that concerns you. Thank you for stopping by today and do visit again I would love to have your email address. You are bless today.
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