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Thread: Relactation with an 18 month old

  1. #1

    Default Relactation with an 18 month old

    Hello! Mom of 3 here.
    My youngest is 18 months old and has not nursed in about a year. At 6 months old, he straight up refused to nurse. Because he was born early, at the advice of many people I trust, I started supplementing with formula. He thrived on it, and I do not regret that decision. He was my third baby in 4 years, and I just could not keep up with his needs nutritionally.
    However, lately, he has shown interest in nursing again. He has always been on the small side, so I am wondering if both him and my body on telling me he needs breastmilk again in order to beef up some. I notice that around the times he shows an interest in nursing, my breasts are really tender and I feel almost like a letdown. Not sure if this is just remembering him nursing, or if it is my body tell me to start nursing again.

    Any advice would be appreciated! I am not at all opposed to nursing him again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Relactation with an 18 month old

    Hi and welcome! So, when he shows interest, will he actually latch and nurse? Or not? Many moms find they begin to re-lactate simply by letting their child nurse as much as they like. Otherwise, to re-lactate, you will need to hand express or pump. Of course you could hand express and/or pump and as well as have your baby nurse, in any combination you like. Frequent milk removal is what will tell your body to begin to make more milk, and since you nursed your older children (I assume) and nursed this child until 6 months, you have an excellent chance of re-lactating. Some moms also find herbal galactagogues helpful, but be sure to research any medicinal herb before taking.

    There are many benefits to both breastmilk and nursing, and those benefits continue well into and past toddlerhood. In fact, children who never nursed continue to have an instinctual need to suckle, and in some cases, this presents itself as the child showing interest in nursing or only needing some gentle encouragement to nurse. My point is, weight gain aside the point, it is entirely normal for an 18 month old to feel the desire to nurse and for you to wish to nurse your baby again.

    When you say he was born early, do you mean he has health issues or problems with food intake related to prematurity? If that is the case, breastmilk might help of course, but, generally speaking, assuming your child is overall healthy and has access to healthy foods, he is probably gaining and growing at the rate he is supposed to. Again, breastmilk, an entirely healthy food may increase weight gain rate. But probably not much, if your child is already gaining at what for him is a healthy rate. But again there are many benefits to nursing your child again should you both wish.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Relactation with an 18 month old

    Thank you. He was born only a month early, so weight gain early was a primary concern.
    So, it turns out, since I posted this only a few hours ago, I discovered that I am actually lactating! He must have sensed it, but he will not latch. I did nurse my older two. My first, I nursed her until she was almost 2. My second was born only 18 months after my first, so I nursed her throughout my pregnancy with my second and tandem nursed after he was born. With my second, I can't remember how long I nursed him, but I know I was already pregnant with my third and they are 22 months apart. So this last year has been the longest time in the last almost 5 years that I have not been nursing.
    (And I did run out and buy a pregnancy test, just to be sure. I am not pregnant.)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    10,754

    Default Re: Relactation with an 18 month old

    Great! So, are you interested in resources that may have ideas for encouraging a baby this age to nurse? I am pretty sure I could dig up some info if you like. Otherwise, if you wish, you could just keep offering and seeing if your son will nurse.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Relactation with an 18 month old

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    Great! So, are you interested in resources that may have ideas for encouraging a baby this age to nurse? I am pretty sure I could dig up some info if you like. Otherwise, if you wish, you could just keep offering and seeing if your son will nurse.
    I would! Thank you so much!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    10,754

    Default Re: Relactation with an 18 month old

    Ok. Some of these discuss specifically nursing an adopted child just FYI. In the situation of bringing an "older" baby or toddler to the breast, the most innovative ideas over the years have come from these moms. Obviously kids are kids and moms are moms, so you could use the same strategies.

    Classic article with many ideas for encouraging a child to nurse in all types of situations and all ages: http://kellymom.com/ages/newborn/nb-...ack-to-breast/

    Tips for teaching an "older" child to nurse: http://www.nursingnurture.com/adopte...to-breastfeed/

    A mother's story: http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbjulaug06p166.html

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