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Thread: PLEASE HELP! Relactation Encouragement

  1. #1

    Default PLEASE HELP! Relactation Encouragement

    I am seeking words of encouragement or advice for my cousin.

    She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in mid-October. She had issues from the beginning with breastfeeding and getting him to latch and stay latched. She felt he wasn’t getting enough and started supplementing-----so to make a long story short…now he is completely formula fed.

    I went over to see her a few weeks ago and she seemed pretty bummed when she told me nursing didn’t work out. She really expressed WANTING to breastfeed for all the benefits and like any good momma, she wants to do what is best for her little guy.

    I totally empathesized with her…. I had a great homebirth experience but had to fight like hell to establish a good nursing relationship with my son. He was a lazy, sleepy, nurser which caused me to basically lose my supply. Then we had to use an SNS for a couple months.

    Luckily I had a midwife who has been involved with La Leche League longer than I have been alive and several mom friends I could call upon for help. NOW, almost 1, he loves boobies so much he nearly hyperventilates when I ask him if he wants to “snuggle.” ) Okay, enough about me! Back to my cousin! I just thought nursing would be SO easy-so when I hear about other women’s struggles I get really sympathetic!

    So anyway I mentioned that she could always start back up again if she wished. She was blown away by the notion of relactation and was really encouraged by the idea that her sweet baby could still get ‘liquid gold’ from her.

    I have no experience with relactation but told her she should start pumping every 2 hours for about 20 minutes (or work up to that.) Hopefully that was right?

    I’m guessing it might take up to a week for her to even begin to produce again?

    Ideally she would like for him to be able to nurse but would be very satisfied if she is able to at least pump some of his feedings.

    Anyway I am just seeking out words of encouragement, advice or stories of similar situations.

    Then, I’m going to print out any responses and take them over to her with a nice hot meal!

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Relactation Encouragement

    You gave your cousin the right advice regarding pumping frequency and duration. Make sure she has the right tool for the job: a hospital-grade pump with correctly sized breast shields. You don't want to attempt relactation with anything less than a top-of-the-line consumer pump (like a Medela Pump in Style), and a hospital grade pump is ideal. And make sure she knows that getting some sleep is okay! Lots of moms who attempt relactation burn out when they try to achieve a 2 hour frequency throughout the night in addition to maintaining it during the day.

    The time from beginning the relactation process to the appearance of milk varies widely. Some moms will see milk in just a few days, others will go weeks before they see anything.

    Maybe suggest that she join the forum? We can provide a lot of support, and you know how mom-to-mom communication can help!

  3. #3

    Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Relactation Encouragement


    i know these forums were a lifesaver for my nursing relationship-

    and since she is busy pumping i figured i would take the initiative and make a post for her.

    she just sent me a text and said she is already getting a few drops that she was able to suction up and feed to him. she only started pumping yesterday!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Relactation Encouragement

    Tell her that's fabulous progress! And make sure she gets a look at this link on getting a baby back to the breast: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/back-to-breast/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: PLEASE HELP! Relactation Encouragement

    Your experience and your own struggle with low supply may be very valuable to your cousin. And since you used the sns, the first hand information about at the breast supplementation you can give her could be valuable information for her.
    I think she is a very good candidate for inducing normal milk production because she is starting relatively soon- (6 weeks about?) after birth. But I agree with mommal, the other side of the equation is getting baby back to the breast. The kellymom suggestions are great and an sns or similar may help as well. If baby continues to be unable to latch, it may be helpful for your cousin to seek professional help. An IBCLC or understanding pediatrician may also be helpful when she begins the process of weaning baby off formula to the breast, which can be scary for moms who are obviously concerned about their baby getting enough. Kellymom has a nice article about that as well.
    Many mothers have relactated. I think it can be argued we are biologically designed to do this, because this allows women to nurse children that are not biologically their own, months or even years after their own children have weaned. Induced lactation-producing milk despite never having been pregnant or giving birth- is also possible. It's a species survival mechanism. But it certainly can be difficult and frustrating and there are never any guarantees. BUT I have never met a mom who regretted trying. ANY milk is good for baby, any time at the breast is as well. There are lots of inspiring stories out there about relactation and induced lactation.

    Good books-
    The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (8th edition)
    Making More Milk

    For online support, there is the relactation forum here, (or just the newborn forum is fine) another place is http://lowmilksupply.org/
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; November 29th, 2012 at 12:48 AM. Reason: whoopsie. The site I wanted to suggest is lowmilksupply.org

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