There are many reasons why a mom may decide on the course of relactating. Relactation can be a long process for some, but if you are focused on breastfeeding your child, it is possible! Read on to find out what relactation is, when you may decide to do so, and how to make it the best experience possible!
What is Relactating and Inducing Lactation?
Relactating or inducing lactation is when a breastfeeding mom decides to start producing breastmilk again after taking a break for a period of time. This could be a couple of weeks or even a few months.
There are times that a mom may choose to induce lactation or go the route of relactation. For example, if you are not physically giving birth (i.e. using a surrogate or adoption), but you want the opportunity to breastfeed your child, you may choose to induce lactation in order to do so. Surrogate First explains that coordinating the process of inducing lactation is extremely important early on with a surrogate pregnancy. Although a long process, it is a great way for couples having a baby through surrogacy to still bond with their baby through breastfeeding.
Additionally, moms may choose to relactate for a number of reasons. For example, if you have surgery or have to be on certain medications that do not make breastfeeding ideal, but you would like to breastfeed again afterward. Or, you may have trouble with breastfeeding or other reasons for not breastfeeding your child in the beginning, but circumstances change and you would like to try again. Whatever your individual journey looks like, relactating and inducing lactation is completely possible!
How to Induce Lactation or Relactate
Depending on what your end goal is, there are many ways to promote a positive experience while trying to lactate.
Some women opt for medications and supplements to boost their hormones and promote a milk supply. However, there are also non-medicinal ways to promote breast milk production.
For example, one of the simplest ways is to nurse or pump frequently. If you are pumping, sticking to a schedule and pumping for a set amount of time each session can encourage consistency while relactating.
Or, you can also nurse your baby when they seem hungry to encourage milk production. You can also opt-out of pacifiers (if you want) and instead allow your baby to nurse whenever they need comfort. The more frequently you have milk removal, the better your odds are of relactating.
Is Relactation or Inducing Lactation Possible?
Obviously, both of these routes have their own series of challenges. However, it is still completely possible to relactate or induce lactation if you are willing to put in the work, effort, and time. Of course, if your baby is willing to cooperate, too!
For example, one study showed that out of 27 women who induced lactation, 24 (or 89%) were able to successfully breastfeed their children. However, there are also some outside factors that can aid in your success.
One of these factors is how old your child is. Newborns are much more willing to latch and because they eat more frequently than older babies and toddlers, you have more opportunities to promote breast milk production.
However, it is also important to note that just because you decide on relactating or inducing lactation, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to exclusively breastfeed. Some moms are able to, but if you find yourself needing to supplement along your journey, that’s okay too! Every mom's lactation journey looks different and unique.
Relactating and Inducing Lactation
Overall, breastfeeding is a special experience between mom and baby. If you decide that you want to breastfeed your child after taking a break or through inducing lactation, it is completely possible! If you are still having trouble increasing your supply, I’d love to help. I offer lactation services to help you on your relactation or inducing lactation journey, or you can also find helpful tips on my Instagram!
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