In Light of recent news we wanted to share information on relactation:
There are many reasons why a mother would want to relactate at this time, such as offering her baby the added immune benefits from her breast milk. We wanted to take the time to offer those mothers some advice and some helpful resources on relactation.
Relactation is the process of making milk again after your breast have stopped making milk. Many women have success with relactating, but not everyone will make a full milk supply. It is important to remember that any milk that you produce IS GOOD MILK!!
The most important thing to remember when trying to relactate is to STIMULATE, STIMULATE, STIMULATE the nipple and areola (the darkened part of the breast around the nipple). Because, demand=supply. The more that you demand of your breast, the more your breast are going to make. Also, expressing milk and nipple stimulation including baby suckling at the breast raises your prolactin and oxytocin levels; both are necessary when making milk!!
It will be important to rebuild the breastfeeding relationship with your baby. You can do this by doing lots of skin-to-skin. You may have done this in the early days. It may be a bit harder now depending on how old your baby is but keeping baby in a diaper and mom topless will be helpful. Stay in bed and remain close, offering baby unlimited access to the breast. Taking baths together can also stimulate this closeness. Make sure that baby sees the breast as a place of comfort and safety. Sleepy snuggles may work best for the older baby.
Here are some steps that you can take towards relactation; We have also included good reliable resources to help you further in your relactating goals:
- Stimulate the breast either with hand, pump or baby every 2-3 hours
- Begin with breast massage before expressing milk from the breast
Follow this link for a video on breast massage: www.bfmedneo.com
- Many women find using hand expression more beneficial for expressing milk
Follow this link for a video on hand expression: http://med.stanford.edu/newborns/professional-education/breastfeeding/hand-expressing-milk.html
- It is also beneficial to use your hands when pumping with a breast pump:
Follow this link for a video on hands on pumping: http://med.stanford.edu/newborns/professional-education/breastfeeding/maximizing-milk-production.html
- Studies have shown that using a nursing supplementer or a type of tube feeding device at the breast while feeding the baby can help with relactation. If you choose to do this, we urge you to do this under the care of an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
- You may want to reduce the time baby spends with a pacifier to encourage more time at the breast.
- Remember to empty your breast completely each time to help with milk production and to help avoid engorgement and infections.
- More resources on relactation can be found here: https://kellymom.com/ages/adopt-relactate/relactation-resources/
It is important to give yourself and baby time to readjust, baby will be relearning how to breastfeed, and you will be redeveloping a milk supply. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help. Most counties and states have free breastfeeding support groups like La Leche League International (https://www.llli.org/). And I know many IBCLC’s are now providing telehealth services through phone and video conferencing.
Find out more about the benefits breastfeeding can have for you and your baby!
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- Breastfeeding Q & A – PDF download
- How Do My Breasts Make Milk? – PDF download
- Helping Your Baby Take the Breast – PDF download
- Storing and Handling Mother’s Milk – PDF download
- Sore Nipples and Engorgement – PDF download
Lactation Consultants of Atlanta is here to teach you the basic art of breastfeeding and answer any concerns. Common concerns include positioning & latching, milk supply, feeding frequency and babies with special needs.