Mums ask, “Is relactation possible?”
Relactation after years is the process of breastfeeding again after not breastfeeding for an extended period. There are many reasons women choose to relactate, such as when they want to breastfeed but have been separated from their baby or if they have adopted a child and want to breastfeed them. Sometimes, women will choose to relactate because they had difficulty breastfeeding in the first place and want to give it another try.
In any case, relactation is possible with dedicated effort and patience. In this article, we’ll go over how to relactate after years without breastfeeding.
Is Relactation After Years Possible
Relactation stimulates a woman’s body to produce milk again after she has stopped breastfeeding. It is possible to relactate after years of not breastfeeding, but it may not be easy.
If you are considering relactating, it is important to know that not all women can do it. Several factors can influence whether or not a woman will be able to successfully relactate after years of not breastfeeding. These include:
- How long ago you stopped breastfeeding
- The age at which your last baby was born
- How long ago your last baby was born
- Your general health and nutritional status
A mother trying to get her baby back to the breast should pump, have skin-to-skin contact with her baby, or switch from bottle to breast. These techniques kickstart the breastfeeding process, increase breast milk supply, and help you produce milk for an adopted baby. Relactation after years and even after menopause is possible!
What Are The Benefits Of Relactation After Years?
As with breastfeeding, relactation is not just a boon for your baby. It is also beneficial for you.
- Protection for babies. Breastmilk contains antibodies which protect your little one from diarrhoea, colds and sinus and ear infections and other allergies. In addition, breast milk passes immunoglobulins like IgA and anti-infective properties to the baby.
- Brain development. A 2013 study by the Brown University proved that breastfeeding benefits an infant’s brain development.
“By age 2, babies who had been breastfed exclusively for at least three months had enhanced development in key parts of the brain compared to children who were fed formula exclusively or who were fed a combination of formula and breast milk,” the research stated.
- Breastmilk is liquid gold. Breastmilk is light; therefore, it is more easily digested than infant formula. A breastfed infant is rarely constipated. Breastmilk is also known to increase a baby’s IQ. DHA ( (docosahexaenoic acid) and other substances found in breastmilk are important for the neurological development of babies.
- Keeps illnesses at bay. One long-term breastfeeding benefit is that it keeps the mother away from breast and ovarian cancer.
- Keeps baby blues away. Breastfeeding produces two hormones. The prolactin hormone keeps baby blues at bay. Meanwhile, the oxytocin hormone helps the uterus to contract, and yes it helps you to burn calories too.
- Helps in weight loss. A lactating mother uses about 500 calories (roughly equivalent to one extra meal). This helps her make 750 ml of breast milk. Also, breastfeeding helps the uterus (which grows enormously during pregnancy) to shrink at a faster rate.
Initially, a newborn baby should be fed every 1.5 to 3 hours, but once the baby starts to gain weight, the feeding interval can change to once in every 3 to 4 hours
How Much Milk Should I Produce When I Relactate After So Many Years?
The amount of milk you produce will depend on your overall health and strength.
Typically, babies feed on demand. So on average, a newborn can consume 45-90 millilitres of milk every two to three hours. After two months, the quantity increases to 120-150 millilitres and the feeding window increases to three to four hours.
At four months your baby can consume 120-180 millilitres and at six months, he can consume 180-230 millilitres every four to five hours.
We at theAsianparent spoke to Kanchan Naikawadi, preventive healthcare specialist, Indus Health Plus, Pune, to understand this crucial information about breastfeeding.
“Initially, a newborn baby should be fed every 1.5 to 3 hours. Once the baby starts to gain weight, the feeding interval can change to once in every 3 to 4 hours. You need to keep in mind that the little ones should be woken up for nursing,” briefs Naikawadi.
She adds, “The newborns usually stay up at night and sleep during daytime; hence, the feeding times could change. As a rule, during the initial few weeks, breastfeeding should be 8 to 12 times in a day.”
|Weight of the baby (in kg)
||Breast milk required (ml)
How to Start Relactation After Years?
Image Source: iStock
To begin the process of relactation, a mother must employ a few basic techniques at home. As discussed previously in this article, these common methods are used globally and proven effective at any age.
- Hand express or pump. For milk supply and letdown to start, you need to have a regular relactation pump schedule. In this method, you hand express about eight to 12 times daily. You can do this for a minimum of 20 minutes each time.
This method will stimulate prolactin, the primary hormone for milk production. You can also use a breast pump to speed up the process (and for more efficient drainage).
- Skin-to-skin contact. Make skin-to-skin contact with your baby. It will stimulate his natural feeding reflexes.
You can also try bathing together and keeping your baby in between your breasts (just as you did when he was born). Carry your baby in a sling to keep him close or sleep near him.
- Avoid using bottles. Instead of the bottle, you can try finger feeding. In this method, you use a thin pipe to feed while simultaneously letting the baby suck on a finger. You can also try the cup feeding technique. This will break your baby’s dependency on artificial means.
- Avoid using pacifiers. Encourage your baby to stay away from a pacifier. Instead, use skin-to-skin contact and suckling to pacify him. This will encourage a good latch on the breast and make feeding easier.
Also, keeping him in a sling, especially when you are in the house, allows easy access to the breast. This way, his dependency on the teat will automatically increase.
- Try the sleeping baby latch. A baby can latch on while still asleep. So bring him close to your full breast and let him suckle. It’s better to initiate a letdown (of milk) beforehand by hand expressing.
- Switch from bottle to breast. A smart way to get your baby back on the breast is to try the bottle-to-breast relactation technique. When your baby is feeding with a bottle, and it is half full, replace it with your breast. Your baby may reject it initially. But don’t worry. He will latch on slowly.
- Try changing your breastfeeding position. Try new positions to help your baby latch on quickly. Laid-back postures are a good way to begin. You can try side lying, feeding as you lay on your side with your baby’s mouth facing the nipple. You can also try cross cradle and hold your breast as your baby nurse.
Signs Relactation Is Working
You may not be able to feel your milk let down, but there are signs that relactation is working.
Latent Heat Release
When breastfeeding, your body releases latent heat. This is the same thing when you put a pan of water on the stove at a low temperature and then turn up the heat. As the temperature of your body rises, so does your milk production. So if you notice that you’re feeling warmer while breastfeeding or pumping—even if you’re sitting in an air-conditioned room—it’s a good sign that your milk production is increasing.
Breast Size Increase
As your milk supply increases, so does breast size! During this process, you may also notice that your breasts become fuller and harder (possibly more sensitive).
Some women find their breasts sore during the early stages of relactation. This soreness should subside once your body has adjusted to produce more milk and has increased its supply enough to meet your needs.
Can Breast Milk Come Back After Drying Up
Image source: iStock
Many new mothers wonder if their breast milk can return after drying up. The short answer is yes. It takes time, but it will return. Here’s what you need to know about how breastfeeding works and what you can do to get your milk back.
Your breasts make milk for their babies so they can eat and grow. Every woman can make breast milk, but your body may produce more or less based on how much you’re nursing and pumping. Some mums have to pump regularly to keep up with their baby’s needs, while others may be able to feed exclusively from the breast at first.
But many mothers find themselves somewhere between pumping or hand expressing a few times per day while nursing whenever possible.
It’s normal for your body to adjust its production as you go along—your baby will start taking less at each feeding as he starts solids or eating other foods, which means his need for colostrum (the first milk) decreases over time too!
When this happens, some women find that their supply decreases too—and then there’s another adjustment period where things get back under control before levelling out somewhere closer.
How to Relactate Fast
If you’re breastfeeding and want to relactate, it’s important to be patient. This can be a long process, but it can also be rewarding in many ways.
Here are some tips for how to relactate fast:
- Start by drinking plenty of fluids. You must ensure that your body has enough water for your milk supply to increase. Your doctor may recommend taking supplements like fenugreek or Blessed Thistle, which will help boost your milk production.
- Try hand expression every few hours, even if you don’t have any milk yet. This will help stimulate the production of more milk in your breasts and allow you to start producing more quickly once you start feeding again.
- When feeding your baby, try using a nipple shield or other device that makes it easier for him/her to latch on so that they can get all the nutrients they need from breastmilk alone without having to supplement with formula or other foods/drinks too soon (this could slow down their digestion process).
Mother breastfeeding child
Stages of Relactation
The first stage of relactation is the preparation stage. During this time, you will want to begin preparing your breasts for the stimulation they will receive from breastfeeding. This will involve pumping or massaging them for about 15 minutes daily.
The second stage of relactation is called the stimulation stage. This stage occurs when you have begun expressing your breastmilk and feeding your baby with a cup or bottle. You can use either method in this stage, though some mothers will find that one works better than the other.
The third stage of relactation is called the onset of lactation. This is when your body begins producing milk from its resources instead of relying on stored breastmilk to sustain your child’s nutritional needs. This can take anywhere from two weeks to three months, depending on how long you stopped breastfeeding in the first place and how much time has passed since then.
What Are The Ways Of Relactation After Years Of Menopause?
As far as relactation after years is concerned, the same methods work. However, before you begin these methods at home, a few therapies will be suggested.
- Hormone therapy. The first step would be to stop hormone replacement and keep menopausal symptoms at bay. So for the first 60 days (before relactation) you might be given Domperidone, Microgestin or Ortho 1/35.
These medicines will keep menopausal symptoms at bay and deliver significant breast changes. Your breast size may increase by one. Breasts may also become painful, full and heavy.
- Begin pumping. Once the hormone therapy ends, you must start pumping using an electric breast pump. A manual breast pump may not be up for the job. You will be recommended to pump every three hours and even at night.
Pump for 5-6 minutes on a low or medium setting on the pump. Follow it up with a breast massage, maybe even a tickle and jiggle. Pump for 5-7 minutes again. This entire process should take 15 minutes.
- Include breastmilk boosters. Next, you should include galactagogues or breast milk boosters in your diet. This help maintain and increase milk supply, especially if the baby demands milk and you cannot provide the necessary amount.
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How Long Does Relactation After Years Take
Many factors go into how long relactation takes, but the most important thing is to be patient and consistent.
It’s important to remember that breastfeeding is different for every mom, so there’s no way to know how long your body will need to adjust before you’re able to produce enough milk for your baby. Some women find that it takes only a few days or weeks, while others find it can take months.
The good news is that even if you don’t see immediate results, you can still help your body make more milk by doing what you can to encourage lactation. This includes drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods that boost overall health and energy levels.
It also helps if you practice relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation—these are great ways to reduce stress levels and increase blood flow throughout the body, which may also help with milk production!
If you’re still struggling after two weeks, consider seeing a lactation consultant who can provide additional support through physical examinations and advice on how best to continue increasing supply at home (such as changing positions when feeding).
You can include many breastmilk boosters in your diet to ensure your supply is at its best. The following will certainly help when you are working towards relactation after years of menopause as well:
- Fenugreek seeds (methi). This is also available as tea. Indian mums commonly use it to increase breastmilk supply.
- Tumeric or haldi powder and turi leaves (both can be bought at Tekka market).
- Dates and Chinese herbs including Dang Gui also improve your milk supply.
- Malunggay is a common Filipino galactagogue and Filipina mums swear by it. You can find it in speciality Filipino stores in Singapore.
- Fish head soup as well as fish maw soup in your diet is also helpful. You can also have pig trotter soup.
- Include nuts like almonds, walnuts and dried figs in your diet. Also try lactation cookies with at least one of these ingredients: rolled oats, brewers yeast, flaxseeds, or fenugreek.
- Drink a minimum of 6-8 glasses of water a day.
- Green papaya.
- Avoid drinks with caffeine because they cause rapid excretion of fluids from the body.
After trying all these methods, if you can produce milk easily, congratulations! Your hard work has paid off.
Updated by Pheona Ilagan
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.