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Thread: Relactating after menopause

  1. #11

    Default Re: Relactating after menopause

    On a whim, I decided to see if I could re-lactate. (I had considered it for years, but never took much action). I last breastfed 23 years ago. I am now 51, in peri-menopause, and a grandmother! I got more interested, because I am into bodybuilding and health, and have a family history of ovarian cancer. It is mostly for the health benefits. If I succeed, I will likely donate the milk. I had three children and breastfed all of them for a combined total of 40 months. My last baby, born in 1991, I breastfed for 2 years until I got bad mastitis in my left breast. At that point, she was no longer nursing for nourishment, but for the closeness and connection. I was 28 years old when I stopped.

    I could also express a little milk out of both breast since stopping, at most, a few drops. As my periods are becoming more sporadic, and I have had a small uterine fibroid for 6 years, occasional cyclical ovarian cysts, and a polyp (which was removed), I wondered if relactating beyond the 40 months I already nursed could give further protection, so I thought I'd give it a try. I have not tried to express milk for a number of years now. Other than coffee and occasionally red wine, my diet is pretty clean. I am not taking hormones or lactation-related supplements. Because of the fibroid, and the associated heavy bleeding (I had been severely anemic at one point), I started taking prenatal vitamins I bought at the health food store a few months ago that have some herbs in them, but none mentioned for lactation. I do not take the vitamins every day. I also am taking ginseng with royal jelly, just because I like the energy boost it gives me, not because of anything I read anywhere.

    I started trying to induce lactation just a coupe of days ago, first trying to hand express some milk, and got a tiny drop or two. I took out the manual breast pump one and gave it a try and got another couple of drops. Day 2, my breasts felt tender, not sore from the pumping, but in the milk ducts. Where the mastitis was, was particularly tender. I had to work all day Monday, so I did it before work, once when I got home, and again before bed. Same schedule for Tuesday, except I tried to pump once in the bathroom at work. I kept getting this feeling like my breasts were full of milk, hard, and sore, and an occasional let down sensation, but no letdown, and only a drop or two when pumping.

    Drops have been white, clear, and yellow (resembling my colostrum). I work from home the rest of the week, so Wed and Thur (today), I have pumped more frequently. My babies always were nursed on demand, so I am not fixated on a schedule, although everything I am reading seems to say to have a schedule. Yesterday and today I have pumped every 3-4 hours, except I am not waking during the night to pump. I was awakened by the dog at 4am and pumped, but nothing came out. Here are some amazing changes I am seeing though:

    *** Breasts are very tender, milk glands palpable and pronounced, boobs more hardened than usual.
    *** The let-down response happens a lot, and is getting stronger, but I am not spilling out yet or leaking when it happens.
    *** MOOD SWINGS. I felt like sobbing today and could not pinpoint it to anything. Other times I've felt elated!
    *** 1st time today, I am noticing a "hormonal" taste in my mouth.
    *** I'm feeling stuff going on in my uterus and ovaries -- especially when I pump. It feels like contracting, and light cramping, like right after you have the baby and nurse, but not as intense.
    *** today my milk has been the most productive, but still only small droplets
    *** increased libido (?? anyone experience this?)
    *** sleepiness. Today wasn't as strong, but yesterday I dozed off a couple of times, and then went to bed early and slept well.
    *** vivid dreaming
    *** Wonderful flashbacks of my babies in my arms and at my breasts when I'm pumping. Things I haven't thought of in decades! I think psychology has a lot to do with the success of this.
    ***Occasional small flush of fluid from my vagina

    I've been both hand-expressing and pumping (manual pump) in each session, trying to do 30 minutes. A few sessions yield no droplets, but the other changes like let-down response and uterine contractions happen in each session. It was just today the hormonal taste showed up. Except for the milk, the changes feel like they had when I was pregnant and nursing. My nipples have not changed color, but get a full feeling until I pump. I decided to start this week, because my period ended last week, and I thought maybe the hormonal shift would boost things along.

    Do you know if these are all indications that my milk will indeed flow once again? Sure feels like it, and the changes certainly have me pretty motivated to keep going! And I read that I would not produce colostrum, but the clear yellow certainly looks like my colostrum did. Is this true?
    Last edited by @llli*easylac51; July 21st, 2016 at 03:57 PM. Reason: additional thought and questions

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Relactating after menopause

    I think everything suggests a schedule because people are in general more comfortable with schedules. You are absolutely correct that overall frequency of pumping/hand expression is what is important and there is no reason to stick to pumping in some "every such and such hour" schedule. Before pumps, people - including grandmothers, when needed- relactated by nursing the baby, and those babies were not on any schedule.

    I have no idea if what you are experiencing means your milk production will return nor to what extent, however the changes and feelings you are having in your breasts certainly indicate something is going on. About all I can say about some of what you report is "hormones do some wacky things" whether due to hormones of lactation or peri-menopause or some combo I have no idea.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Ontario Canada

    Default Re: Relactating after menopause

    I am a granny, 6 years since last menstruation and my husband has a very serious cancer. I am beginning week 3 on the protocol for inducing milk using Domperidone and progesterone to make milk for him to ease chemo effects and to boost immune system and whatever other things Mamma milk can do. He has been using donated milk from a nursing daughter but her own babe and her commitment to a sick baby takes precedence of course, so i am going to re-lactate as I know many grandmothers around the world have done forever. Interesting, along with the heavier breasts I now am having a period. I am hand stimulating and will start with a pump this week. Not something I am sharing with many people as we know it can be viewed in an odd way by our strange society. We are fine with it and are very interested in the little research we can find on the benefits for cancer patients. Very interested in connecting with others who have had success with this strategy, or have any advice to offer us. Stayin' Alive here in the boonies.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Ontario Canada

    Default Re: Relactating after menopause

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    Interesting article on human milk for adults with cancer: http://www.asklenore.info/breastfeed...r_adults.shtml

    What I find interesting is the naysayers say there is no evidence to support this practice. But where is THEIR evidence that it is not helpful? We DO know breastmilk is a very complete and important food in baby hood and young childhood. It provides complete nutrition and so much more to humans in their most vulnerable yet fastest growing period. Milk from a human milk bank given (yes probably sold, but not at any profit, the milk for babies is also sold not free) to cancer patients is certainly not akin to a snakeoil concoction promoted by charlatans as one guy is quoted. To me it makes perfect sense that drinking human milk would be helpful to ill adults, or healthy adults, for that matter. How helpful, in what way, or how much would be needed to have any noticeable effect, is of course unstudied.

    My only concern with this is to wonder, with donated milk so scarce, this milk that might have better gone to fragile newborns. But that is of course an entirely separate issue.
    I agree which is why at 58 I am inducing re-lactation for my husband who is very sick with an aggressive cancer. he is just beginning a few months of chemo and I hope to be lactating before his next onslaught.

  5. #15

    Default Re: Relactating after menopause

    has it increased anymore? truthfully thats pretty darn GOOD! I wish still at little itty bitty drops..

  6. #16

    Default Re: Relactating after menopause

    I hesitated to sign up to this site but when I read your statement... I thought I need to know more.. Has milk increased? I have taken Domperidone for several several weeks and my breast swelled up, I thought finally my milk is coming in... but sadly there wasn't nothing to comment on... I gained a HUGE amount of weight, I pumped with a hospital grade breast pump on a regular basis and it was sad.. So, any help, recommendations would be greatly appreciated.... I did read an article about using Thyroxine 20mg or more; but truthfully I do NOT know if this will help me.
    Last edited by @llli*menomom; January 10th, 2017 at 08:49 PM. Reason: grammar

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