RESUMING BREASTFEEDING AFTER AN INTERRUPTION

The good news is relactation is possible. It requires time, patience, determination and a cooperative baby! Whether you stopped breastfeeding due a medical procedure, separation from baby, or simply bad advice, many individuals find they can rebuild a milk supply successfully. Providing human milk for a newly adopted baby is also a relactation opportunity.

This infographic might help.

Sometimes, relactation produces enough breastmilk to supply all of baby’s needs. Other times, supplementation may still be needed. We recommend the following strategies for relactation and induced lactation to stimulate milk production:

  • Hand express or pump at least eight to twelve times per day for 20-30 minutes, including at night

  • Give expressed/pumped milk and supplements in a cup, or use an at-breast supplementer

  • If baby will latch on – put them to your breast before and after each feeding

  • Put baby to your breast for comfort between feedings as often as possible instead of using a dummy/pacifier – it will help build your milk supply

  • Get support from your local LLL group/Leader – find local support here

  • Accept any offers of support with shopping, housework etc

It’s important to empty your breasts completely and frequently. Not only will it increase supply, it will also help avoid breast infections or plugged ducts.

Find more ideas in this article: 10 Ways to Relactate After a Period of Not Breastfeeding.

If you do use herbs or medications to increase your supply, be sure to consult a lactation-focused health care professional about your specific medical history as well as your breastfeeding goals.

Remember – breastfeeding is not just about the milk. Baby will get immune benefits from skin-to-skin contact. Every drop of human milk is important.

LLL SUPPORT

This La Leche League Facebook group offers support to those inducing lactation and wanting to relactate (use this group for all other questions about breastfeeding).
Find local LLL support here.

RESOURCES

Relactation infographic 
10 Ways to Relactate After a Period of Not Breastfeeding
LLLGB Relactation and Induced Lactation Article
LLL Greece Relactation Guide
Borstvoedingorganisatie La Leche League Relacteren Artikel
La Leche League Italia È Possibile Rilattare? Articolo
My Relactation Story – from South Africa
LLL USA Induced Lactation and Relactation Article
Drip-Drop Feeding Technique
Feed The Baby: Building A Milk Supply
Volver al pecho
The Baby Who Doesn’t Nurse
Suplementación al pecho
At-Breast Supplementer Nursing
Breastfeeding An Adopted Baby
Breastfeeding Without Giving Birth