How to Re-Lactate After Having Stopped Breastfeeding

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Sometimes issues arise with breastfeeding that interfere with the mother’s milk production. If you stop breastfeeding and then later decide you want to begin again, you will need to relactate to begin producing breast milk again to breastfeed. The process of relactating can be challenging, but with concerted effort and time to achieve your goal, you might succeed in reestablishing your milk supply to continue breastfeeding your baby.

Things You'll Need

  • Breast pump
  • Fenugreek
  • Commit to focusing and prioritizing relactation before you begin. To succeed, you must prioritize breastfeeding as often as possible and pumping if your baby will not breastfeed often enough. You must also eat a nutritious diet, drink water and rest to enable your body to begin producing breast milk again.

  • Breastfeed your baby on both sides as often as possible for nipple stimulation, advises International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Kelly Bonyata, with the KellyMom website, a breastfeeding resource website. Strive to breastfeed for 20 to 30 minutes at least every two to three hours, recommends the Idaho.gov's Central District Health Department. Frequent nipple stimulation is crucial for reestablishing your milk supply.

  • Express breast milk with the breast pump to stimulate milk production if your baby is unwilling to breastfeed every two to three hours. Pump from both breasts for 20 to 30 minutes for adequate nipple stimulation.

  • Take the herb fenugreek to help increase your milk supply, suggests registered nurse Kathleen E. Huggins, with the Breastfeeding Online website. The recommended dosage is two or three fenugreek capsules three times each day. After you reestablish your milk supply, it’s likely that you can discontinue taking the fenugreek.

  • Watch for signs that your milk supply is returning. Your breasts should become larger and tender as the milk supply reestablishes. If you pump, you will remove milk from your breasts. As your baby breastfeeds, you will hear swallowing. Your baby’s stools will change as your milk supply increases, becoming softer and lighter in color.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consult a lactation consultant for support and guidance with relactation if you struggle with reestablishing your milk supply. Relactation may take a month or more to achieve, states the Central District Health Department.
  • Breastfeed before feeding your baby formula and then provide your baby with as much formula as necessary to satisfy hunger. Breastfeed your baby again after feeding formula, also.
  • Sometimes a baby who has been bottle feeding will not latch on to the breast. If this occurs, keep trying to encourage your baby to latch, but use the breast pump to stimulate your nipples for milk production. If you cannot get your baby to latch on, you can express breast milk with the breast pump and feed it to your baby in a bottle.

References

  • Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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