As the formula shortage wears on many moms are looking at the possibility of relactaing to be able to provide at least some of the milk their baby needs. Keep in mind that breastfeeding doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing and while you may not produce a full supply for your baby in the first few weeks every ounce you do make is announce formula you do not have to hunt down.
What is relactaiton
Relactation is the process in which you bring back your milk supply after you have stopped nursing for weeks or even months. Most mothers can relactate with some work within the first couple of years of having their baby.
The process of relactation involves stimulation with a breast pump and taking supplements or medications that help with lactation to encourage a growing milk supply.
How to tell if relactation is right for you
While many families are considering relactation with the massive changes in the stock of formula this is not the only reason to choose relactation. Many families choose to relactate when their baby has health conditions that make formula hard to digest or they decide to adopt or use a surrogate for future pregnancies.
Before you start this process make sure you will have the support you need. Having a supportive partner, a doctor that is on board with the process, and the help of a lactation consultant available can help make your journey easier.
Your employer needs to be supportive as well. You may need a note from your doctor to allow for pumpkin breaks to help ensure that your supply returns and grows strong.
Tools to help with relactation
With the right tools on hand, you can set yourself up for success in relactation so you can help provide for your baby’s needs.
Breast pump or pumps
This process takes a lot of time and you may have to try a few different breast pumps or flanges to find the right fit for you. If you can get a hands-free pump as well as a hospital-grade pump and a hand pump for your collection it will make it easier to get the consistent nipple stimulation needed to bring on your milk supply.
Lactation inducing foods
The same foods used to help boost breastmilk supply of nursing moms can help encourage lactation in mothers that are working toward relactation. From oatmeal to coconut water adding foods that commonly boost milk supply to your diet can encourage your body to produce milk and increase that supply once it is flowing.
Common foods for this include:
- Flax seed
- High protein foods like meat and eggs
- Brewers yeast
- Small amounts of alcohol
Just like with foods that increase milk supply you can use supplements that are proven to help increase milk supply to help aid you in your relactation journey. These supplements are great for increasing your milk supply as well as helping to improve the nutrition of your milk.
Lactation inducing medications
Your doctor can help you in your journey to relactation. There are several medications that your doctor can prescribe that are able to through side effects of the medications help induce lactation. These while having unpleasant side effects can be helpful for jump-starting your relactation journey or helping it along.