Once you stop breastfeeding, you can’t start back up again, right?
WRONG! Yes, you can resume breastfeeding your baby, and we'll go
through all you need to know about relactation today. So,
Perhaps you had a difficult start to breastfeeding and decided to
But now you've changed your mind and want to know how to replenish your
milk supply and resume breastfeeding.
Maybe you and your child were split due to medical
complications, and you were unable to continue breastfeeding, and
you need to try again. It's possible that your child weaned months ago; but
now seems to be interested in breastfeeding again, and you want to know if
you are able to.
So, are you prepared to hear the good news? Relactation is
What Is Relactation?
When someone resumes breastfeeding following a break, this is referred to
as relactation. A mother may not have breastfed her child for a few days,
weeks, months, or even years. It needs a lot of effort and commitment, but
many moms have done it before, and you can too!
Relactation Vs. Induced Lactation
Relactation refers to the process of replenishing the
milk supply after weaning the child from breastfeeding or yourself from the
Induced Lactation is the process of inducing milk
production if you did not give birth to your child and have never breastfed
Attempts at relactation are met with varying degrees of success in each
body. In any case, you should expect to see any underlying results
after fourteen days of trying. Some experts say that the
time it takes to relact is roughly equal to how long it has been before you
weaned your child from breastfeeding.
Based on available evidence, some lactation specialists say on average it
may take a month to reestablish full lactation.
Why Do It?
Here are a few different reasons why you would want to relactate:
You may have stopped breastfeeding earlier than necessary, or your
mindset may have changed.
You and your baby may have been apart, or your baby may have been
Relactation can apply to a parent who previously breastfed a
biological kid and now wishes to make milk for an adopted kid.
You may want to breastfeed your partner's baby
You have a surrogate child and need to breastfeed the newborn
Instructions to Relactate Or Induce Lactation
If you breastfed your child and wish to try doing it again, you should try
to get your child to latch onto your breast.
If you plan to pump exclusively, or if your child isn't with you yet – you
will need to pump to boost your milk supply. Use of a hospital grade
electric pump may be best.
Important factors in increasing milk production
Induction of your nipples– this can be any mix of pumping, your
infant nursing, or hand expression.
When you have some milk to drain from your breasts, do so.
Frequent pumping (every 2-3 hours) if baby not feeding
Lots of skin to skin!
Limit bottles and nipples
Tips for Effective Relactating
Other factors that could be helpful in relactating include:
Do Breast Compression. When you
first start producing breast milk, do breast compressions while pumping.
Breast compressions help force milk out of your milk ducts, and the more
milk you will extract, the better your chances of building a milk supply
Experiment with Hand Expression.
Many women do not react favorably to breast pumps but excel at hand
expression. Watch a few online tutorials to get the idea and then see how
it works for you.
Warm Packs are an option. Warmth
helps to cause breast milk to flow, so a warm pack, such as a warm
washcloth, may be extremely beneficial.
Benefits of Relactation
Relactation has the same benefits as breastfeeding. Even though it is a
difficult process, and it might or might not work for you. Women who
relactate for the therapeutic effects of breastfeeding feel more successful
than those who depend on their milk supply. In a study of women who tried
relactation, 75% said it was a good experience.
Factors that determine success with relactation.
Younger baby age ( highest rate in babies 3-4 months)
Well established your milk supply before weaning
Time to attempt breastfeeding and pumping (the more, the better)
Your interest in relactation.
Your knowledge on relactation works
Support (family, friends, and healthcare providers)
Have realistic expectations for relactation.
It is time consuming….. but with support and
dedication you can partially or fully lactate! Even if you end
up producing little, your baby will benefit from the breast milk
and also the time you spend close together!
Reach out to your healthcare provider and/or Lactation consultant
to help you with this process.
MaternalWell has certified lactation consultation available for private
telehealth sessions to support you through relactation. Use our text
support for any general questions.