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Breastfeeding Magazine

Relactation: Getting Your Milk Back and Start Breastfeeding Again



Relactation for Breastfeeding

Wish you hadn’t stopped breastfeeding? Getting your milk to come back is a process called relactation and it can be done.

Common Reasons Moms Might Want to Get Their Milk Back:

  • Some moms get overwhelmed during the first days of motherhood and just give up
  • Some babies have a hard time latching at first and mom gets frustrated and decides just to give formula
  • Some moms have a very hard birth, post-partum depression or other medical issues that make breastfeeding difficult to start so they wonder if they are just too late.
  • Some babies are premature or have medical issues that prevent them from being able to nurse right away.

No matter what the reason that you may have had a rough start breastfeeding, it may be possible to get your milk back and breastfeed that baby after-all.

The Relactation Process Involves Two Things:

breastfeeding baby
1. Getting your baby to latch on and nurse from your breast, and

2. Developing or re-developing a breast milk supply.

Relactating is easier if your little one is less than 4 months old an/or you had a good milk supply previously (during the first 4-6 weeks after your baby was born.) However, even an adoptive parent can successfully breastfeed…so it is possible for almost anyone to do it.

How to Get Started

Is it too late to breastfeed?  You might be able to get your milk back!If your little one is willing to latch, then breastfeed at least every two to three hours…even before you are actually producing milk. (Yes…you will be like a human pacifier for a while–even offering your breasts as comfort any time you see a chance!)

Try this toward the end of a feeding when your baby is not really hungry, whenever he needs comfort, or as she drifts to sleep. It is not important at this point to worry about how much milk there is, you are simply signaling your breasts to start producing breast milk for baby.

If he or she won’t latch on, try using a supplemental feeding method like the Lact Aid nurser that helps promote sucking skills in reluctant nursers.

Also try pumping your breasts regularly. Again, it does not matter how much milk (if any) that you are getting. It is simply helping your body learn that it needs to make milk.

Get Some Help

Some moms use herbal supplements like fenugreek or medications like domperidone to stimulate their breast milk supply. This will only help if it is combined with frequent breastfeeding and/or pumping of your breasts.

If possible, try to find a La Leche League leader, lactation consultant, or doctor who supports your relactation efforts. There is nothing like one-on-one support to get you on the right track!

It can be done and is worth a try!


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