First things first, what is relactation? It is when you train your body to start milk production after a break, or to produce milk for an adopted child or a child born to a surrogate mother.
Breastfeeding is a gift and a really special time between a mother and her baby. However, not all women can breastfeed (be it for medical problems, personal reasons, or low care) and that’s fine. However, if you are someone who has stopped breastfeeding and now you want to start again, this article will tell you all about relactation and everything related to breastfeeding.
What is lactation?
Breastfeeding is the process by which your breasts produce milk for a baby. Breastfeeding usually occurs after your baby is born. However, I’ve learned the hard way that breastfeeding can actually begin before the baby is born. That’s right, I started breastfeeding when I was about 20 weeks pregnant with my firstborn. One moment I was enjoying a nice relaxing evening with my husband on the couch, the next moment my pajama shirt is sticky and wet and I was humiliated.
The female body is amazing, and the fact that our bodies can produce food for our babies is remarkable. In the early stages of breastfeeding, your body first produces colostrum, which is basically your baby’s first superfood. It’s full of antibodies, vitamins, white blood cells, and a lot more. According to americanpregnancy.org, this first milk is only enough for around 2-5 days after the baby is born. Then the colostrum turns into “ripe milk” and you produce it for the rest of the time.
When you breastfeed, you may find that your body begins to slow down production and intake, which can panic you. You don’t want to run out of breast milk! All mom websites prohibit supplements. Yes, exactly. If breastfeeding isn’t working for you (for whatever reason), it’s fine.
There are so many great baby foods out there, and you can bond with your baby in a thousand other ways. If you want to try and increase your supply, there are a few ways you can do it. We will discuss these later.
What do you need to know about relactation?
Now that we’ve covered the basics of lactation, we can now talk about relactation. Relactation is when you train your body to produce milk again after not breastfeeding for a while. Some women can even breastfeed their adopted babies through this process if they have breastfed in the past.
Let’s take a moment to absorb all of this! We can train our bodies to produce milk for our adopted babies. This is truly amazing and speaks volumes about the wonders of our body.
If you stopped breastfeeding your baby and ran out of supplies, but are now ready to try breastfeeding again, then you may be able to do so! Relocation isn’t easy, but when you’re ready to do the job, the benefits are worth it. A relactation after 2 months and even a relactation after 5 months is possible.
Are you ready for a real conversation? Like real face-to-face conversations? Here we go.
Everything you need to know about relactation
You’re probably wondering exactly how to relact. Just like when you are breastfeeding, your nipples need to be stimulated in order for your body to begin producing milk. Stimulation of the nipples can be done in a number of ways. You can try to stimulate them with hand expressions yourself, you can use a breast pump, or you can have your baby suckle your nipples for comfort before you even start milk production. This will send messages to your brain that your body needs to start producing milk.
How long does the relactation take?
It can take anywhere from two weeks to three months for the results to be visible. This means that if you want to figure out how to react quickly, you may be out of luck. This journey is usually long. To give your brain a clue that you need to feed a baby, breastfeed your baby every 2-3 hours, even if your body is not yet producing milk. You need to breastfeed your baby as often as possible to keep your body in tune with the newborn feeding schedule.
Offering your breasts to your baby as often as possible will stimulate brain signals. You can try putting them on your breasts after drinking a bottle when they wake up when they are moody to help them calm down for bed and whenever you see fit.
If your baby won’t click into place, there are ways you can help your baby learn to click into place. If you have flat or inverted nipples, there are nipples you can buy and place over your nipples to help your baby hold onto them. The Medela brand makes them in different sizes so that you can find something that suits you.
When breastfeeding, make sure that you and your baby are completely comfortable. If neither of you are comfortable, it won’t work out very well. Also, make sure your baby is properly supported. Use pillows, make sure your baby’s nose is clear to breathe, support your head and body, and adjust your mouth until you smell a good smell.
If you still feel that your baby is not snapping into place properly, contact your local lactation consultant. Most hospitals have a lactation consultant, but if yours doesn’t, you can find one near you on one of these websites:
Everything you need to know about increasing the relactation offer
If you’re still struggling to make enough milk, there are supplements to try. There are prescriptions your doctor can prescribe and there are also herbal supplements that work.
Fenugreek is a herbal dietary supplement that has been around for ages. Some say it can help a mother produce more milk within days of taking the supplement. This is noteworthy for anyone who wants to quickly increase their supply. Fenugreek comes in all sorts of forms. There are capsules, teas, gums, seeds, powders, and even smoothies that you can buy. Read our in-depth article on fenugreek here!
You can also make or buy breastfeeding cookies. The active ingredients in these biscuits are brewer’s yeast, flaxseed, oatmeal and wheat germ. You can buy lactation cookies from almost any store, or buy them online and have them delivered straight to your door while you’re in your pajamas. If you want to make them yourself, try this recipe from countrycleaver.com. They add coconut, dark chocolate, and chopped walnuts, which happen to be some of my favorite ingredients in baked goods.
Why you need to stick to a schedule
If you want to increase your supply, you should create a schedule and stick to it. You should try to breastfeed every 2-3 hours, if not more often. If you are at work and cannot breastfeed as often, be sure to use a breast pump and express your breast milk until your breasts are completely empty. If you are using a breast pump, leave the pump on for a few minutes after all of your milk has been expressed. This will send signals to your brain that your baby needs more milk. Your body will therefore begin to produce more milk for your baby.
Whenever you are trying to increase your milk supply, make sure you are eating and drinking enough. Breastfeeding and expressing are high calorie burners, so you should have a snack throughout the day so you are strong enough to produce milk. You’ll also want to stray hydrated. Breastfeeding and expressing not only burns calories, but is also very dehydrating, so always have a pitcher or bottle of water with you.
Signs that relactation is working
So you’ve followed all of these relocation tips, but how do you know if they’ll work? Your breasts may feel heavier or fuller, they may tingle, or milk may leak. You will also find that the amount you pump increases slowly.
Relactation is really all about bonding
At the end of the day, breastfeeding is all about bonding. Yes, breast milk is full of amazing things. Antibodies, white blood cells, good fats, proteins, vitamins, whatever! However, breastfeeding may not work for everyone.
Maybe you’ve tried and tried for months, but your body just isn’t producing milk, maybe you’re on a crazy schedule and can’t keep up with supplies, or maybe you’re just fed up with breastfeeding and ready to go. Anyway, it’s fine. These early stages of your baby’s life are mostly about bonding. You don’t have to worry about whether or not you will be able to breastfeed your baby.
If for some reason you can’t breastfeed, try different types of bonding. You can mimic breastfeeding by giving the bottle to your baby in a quiet room with just you and the baby. Just try in your bra so your baby is still close to you and getting the skin-to-skin contact they crave. You can also do more kangaroo grooming that’s skin-to-skin time. Take off your top and take off your baby’s clothes to keep them cozy and cozy.
What I want to take away from you the most is that you are not alone. Every breastfeeding journey is different, just like every mother and baby are different. I hope you learn all about relactation in order to achieve your goals. But even if it doesn’t, there are so many other ways you can create a unique bond with your little one.
frequently asked Questions
How long does the relact last?
It can take anywhere from two weeks to three months for the results to be visible. This means that if you want to figure out how to react quickly, you may be out of luck.
Can I relact just by pumping?
Yes, in some cases you can only successfully relact by pumping.
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