Relactation After a Break

Many new mums stop breastfeeding earlier than usual for different reasons such as certain sickness, postpartum depression and other unavoidable reasons. Sooner or later, they feel a sense of loss and decide to give themselves a second chance. This process of getting back to breastfeeding after a long gap of a few weeks to a few months is known as relactation. So, if you gave up breastfeeding and want to get back to it again, you probably can. Returning to breastfeeding is possible if your breasts can produce the milk and you can get your baby to nurse and gain its benefits. 


Who should go for relactation? 


Relactation, as said above, is for new mums who want to get back to breastfeeding their babies after a long break. There are different reasons to why people stop breastfeeding, such as lack of substantial milk supply, an illness restricting mothers from breastfeeding, etc. Irrespective of that, some of the common reasons why mums should choose relactation are:-


  1. Your baby weaned but she has developed an intolerance towards formula food 

  2. You were sick and couldn’t breastfeed your baby, but now you’re completely okay and want to start expressing again

  3. You might have been separated from your baby due to unavoidable reasons

  4. Your baby had fallen ill

  5. Your baby is adopted. With proper support, induced lactation can help mothers of adopted babies breastfeed them without much issues. 


Relactation is the best solution for new mums who faced any of the above-mentioned problems. 


Why relactation? 


Expressing is not only about feeding the baby, it has numerous emotional benefits as well. Being able to breastfeed one’s newborns helps mums to recover from postpartum depression, helps them form an emotional bond with their babies, and there are certain other health benefits for babies such as helping them gain an ideal weight, make children smarter, etc. 


Tips to start relactation


  • Empty your breasts frequently


If your baby is supportive enough, feed her as frequently as possible. Aim at 10-12 feeds in 24 hours to empty your breasts. Make sure your baby feeds from both breasts, and nurses for long enough to drain them completely. 


  • Pump if the baby refuses to breastfeed


The success of relactation depends a lot on whether you receive proper support from your baby or not. Given the fact the baby hasn’t been breastfeeding for quite some time long, they might refuse to nurse. On such instances, you can use breast pumps which are a good way to stimulate milk supply. Try and pump milk after every three hours, and from both sides. 


  • Ensure effective feeding


There are two things which you have to keep in mind to ensure effective feeding: (1) you should feel comfortable while nursing, and (2) the baby is sucking properly i.e. she is taking the nipple deep in her mouth and are able to suckle easily. 


  • Massage your breasts whenever needed


Massage your breasts once the baby is done with feeding to empty your breasts before they can start reproducing the milk. A mild compression helps squeeze out the remaining milk from your breasts before your breast can start with milk production again. 


Before you consider relactation, consult a lactation expert and discuss the important aspects of getting back to breastfeeding.