Relactation is Possible...
By: Kristen Wagner , RN)
We have had many women wanting to breastfeed again after deciding to quit breastfeeding whether it's due to a medical issue , medication use or simply just giving formula a try wanting to get back on the breastfeeding bandwagon . Relactation can be done with hard work and determination . I'm not here to tell you it's going to be a piece of cake because more than likely it's not, but it will benefit you and baby so much in the end and give you a great deal of satisfaction.
Basically you are going to be re teaching your body to make milk again. If you have stopped nursing less than four to five months ago and are still able to express some milk out it will be considerably easier to achieve this, if not it can still be done. It has even been done with women who have never lactated such as an adoptive parent. First you will need to have some kind of nipple stimulation either from a suckling baby or a pump.
*A nursing baby would be best. Try to get baby to latch as much as possible .
*Do this at least every 2 to 3 hours (or even better- On Demand) and for comforting.
*If baby does not want to latch try expressing some milk out before hand and rub around your nipples (if you are not able to express any out, rub some formula around them instead) .
A nursing supplementer is a great way to try to start relactation especially if baby gets frustrated with no milk coming out. This provides expressed milk or formula at a constant flow on the breast while baby sucks. This will hopefully stimulate and tell your body that you need to make milk. You want to do this around the clock with every feeding.
~If baby still refuses to latch , you can pump around the clock as well. If this is the case , you can still give baby breastmilk by exclusively pumping.
~As a last resort you can try using a nipple shield . This helps the nipple feel more like a bottle to baby. In most cases I don't recommend them but for a cause like this , I would.
secondly , DON'T GIVE UP!
The more you keep at it and stay positive about it , the better the outcome will be . It will benefit you to have some kind of support whether it be moral or professional. It can take about a month or so to be able to fully lactate or partially lactate. Make sure baby has a good deep latch. Such as the whole nipple with most of your areola in baby's mouth and lips pursed outward. Having a good latch is another important aspect for relactating . It will ensure baby is getting a sufficient amount of milk out and will be more comfortable for you and in turn yield better results in the end. If you are having problems getting a good latch I would recommend contacting a lactation consultant.
Lastly you want to empty your breasts as much as possible when you start producing milk again. The more you do this , the more your body will stimulate your breast to make more milk. If baby is not emptying them completely , pump after baby is finished nursing . The more you are able to empty your breasts, the better success you will have.
*Make sure you are staying well hydrated by drinking plenty of water (at least a gallon a day or more) and eating a sufficient amount of calories .
*Oatmeal is a great food to eat to help with supply (regular , not instant) .
*If you really want to try and help supply you can try two of our products we highly recommend such as Bessie's Best lactation cookies
*Nursing Time Tea by Fairhaven Health
Here at BFMT we strongly encourage breastfeeding when it is possible but also support every mothers decision whatever that may be. Breastfeeding can be a life long rewarding journey that you and your baby will be able to cherish forever .