Regina-lim, Singapore

Mum of 4 (3 kids + 1 hubby)

About Regina-lim

There is little research on relactation, but the available studies strongly suggest that, with proper support, most mothers can partially or fully relactate. In several studies the rate of partial or full relactation ranged from 75 to 98%. But there is one important factor: Keep in mind that in most of these studies mothers received help in relactating from trained breastfeeding support people. The research suggests that you may have better chances at full or partial relactation if you have: A younger baby A shorter gap between weaning and relactating (sometimes called a “lactation gap”) The willingness of the baby to take the breast Having assistance from trained breastfeeding support people Remember that each mother/baby pair is different, and relactation may still be possible even you don’t meet the most favorable criteria. The first step on your journey to relactation, is to teach your baby to latch on. Some babies will get it straight away, especially those who breastfed well for the first few weeks of life. For others, it may take work to achieve a correct latch. Keep practicing, and seek professional support if your baby is struggling to latch on. Once your baby is able to latch on, you should aim to feed every 2-3 hours. You should aim for between 10 and 12 feeds every 24 hours. Try offering the breast at every available opportunity, and encourage your baby to suckle at the breast for comfort. Each time your baby nurses, your body gets signals to make more milk, so the more nursing you do, the more milk you will make. Offer both breasts at each feed. Allow your baby to drain the first breast, and then offer the other. Correct drainage is important as this promotes milk supply and can also help to prevent breastfeeding problems such as mastitis and blocked ducts. You can pump to increase your milk supply, and you may find this speeds up the relactation process. If your baby is struggling to latch on, you can pump to stimulate milk supply. You can use the expressed milk to supplement your baby’s feeds, and this will ensure your baby is still getting all of the nutrients from your milk. Be sure to have lots of skin-to-skin with your baby. Skin-to-skin is proven to stimulate milk production and strengthen the breastfeeding relationship. Some lactation consultants have also found co-bathing can help to help relactation. You could also try a herbal remedy to increase milk supply, but remember this will only work if you are also frequently nursing. Fenugreek, fennel, oatmeal and blessed thistle are all commonly used to increase milk supply in lactating women. You may find it useful to use a nursing supplementer while trying to establish your milk supply. You can supplement with pumped breastmilk if you have some spare. Thin tubing is taped to your breast and extends about 0.5cm past the nipple. The tubing leads to a bag or bottle containing the supplement, and the baby receives this when sucking at the breast. In the early days of relactation, when you may have very little milk, this is a good way of encouraging your baby to suckle. The supplement satisfies your baby’s hungry, so he continues to nurse at the breast which then stimulates milk production. Avoid using bottles and pacifiers while you are trying to establish your milk supply. Use a nursing supplementer or, if needed, use a cup to feed your baby. Do not pour the milk directly into your baby’s mouth, simply hold the cup to his mouth and let him take the milk himself.
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