Last Updated on February 8, 2023 by Jada Glover
Relactating again after stopping breastfeeding can be done with patience and specific techniques.
There’s nothing more precious than a brand-new baby! As a new mom, you’ve rehearsed and planned for this day countless times. If you’re like many new moms, one of the plans you’ve made is to breastfeed your baby. Well, you know what they say about best-laid plans.
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Making More Breast Milk. if you’re looking for a more comprehensive e-book with videos and hands-on techniques to increase your milk supply.
Sometimes, through no fault of your own, things just don’t work out as you envisioned. Maybe when you had your baby you weren’t able to breastfeed for as long as you would have liked. If you want to try breastfeeding again after you stopped but didn’t think it was possible, you’re in luck! Inducing lactation again after stopping breastfeeding is possible! If you haven’t been pregnant and you’re trying to induce lactation, read my post here about How Do You Induce Lactation if You’re Not Pregnant?
What Is Relactation?
Relactation is the process of starting to breastfeed again after stopping for some reason. Maybe you’re like me and had a medical issue after the birth of your child that forced you to stop breastfeeding sooner than you wanted to.
Or, maybe your baby had issues that made it really hard to breastfeed right after her birth. Whatever the reason is that you stopped breastfeeding in the first place, don’t worry. All is not lost! You can go back to breastfeeding again.
Why Do You Want To Relactate?
Before you start trying to relactate, ask yourself why you want to relactate. Relactating is a big commitment and shouldn’t be done on a whim. You should have a clear reason for wanting to relactate.
Think about why you stopped breastfeeding in the first place and how things are different now. You need to know why this time is different. If you really don’t have a defined reason for why you stopped before or what’s different now, you may want to wait until you do have a concrete reason as to why now. Having a solid reason as to why you want to try breastfeeding now will make you more successful.
Will I Be Able To Relactate?
Experts agree that with determination and strong support, most moms are able to successfully relactate at least to some degree. That said, certain factors may make it easier to relactate.
Factors That Make Relactating Again After Stopping Breastfeeding Easier
- Previously Established Milk Supply
The more established your milk supply was before weaning, the easier it will be to re-establish it.
- Age Of Your Baby
The younger your baby was at the time you stopped breastfeeding originally the better chance that she will easily start relactating.
- Knowledge Of The Process
The more educated you are about the entire relactation process, the better. The more you know about what you need to do and why, the more success you’ll have at relactation.
- Time Commitment
You can’t expect to have success if you aren’t able to make a substantial time commitment. The more time you make for relactation activities, the better off you’ll be.
- Strong Support System
You’ll need to have your family and friends on board with you while you embark on this challenging journey. Whether things are going great or the days have been rough, make sure you have a few different people you can reach out to any time of day or night.
How Long Does Relactation Take?
There is no set amount of time that it takes for relactation. Usually, the amount of time it takes to relactate is about how long it’s been since you’ve breastfed. So if you haven’t breastfed for a month, plan on about a month for relactation. If it’s been a week since you’ve breastfed, it’s likely to be closer to a week until you’re breastfeeding again.
If you don’t see results as fast as you’d like, hang in there and remember that relactating after you’ve stopped breastfeeding is different for every mom. And, it doesn’t happen quickly for a lot of moms. So, plan on fully committing to re-establishing your breastfeeding routine for at least two weeks to see results.
How To Start Relactating Again After Stopping Breastfeeding
Tips For Relactating After Stopping
- Try to breastfeed or pump 8-12 times a day (including night time!) for at least 20-30 minutes each time. Your goal is to stimulate or empty the breast every 2-3 hours. The more you stimulate your breasts by pumping or breastfeeding, the more milk your body will produce. Being consistent and on a schedule is really important!
- Talk to Your doctor or midwife about relactation. Your doctor is a professional who likely deals with moms wanting to relactate every day. She is a great resource for you to tap into!
- Consider natural methods to increase breast milk production.
- Be Determined and stay positive! Keeping a positive attitude is key – for you and your baby. Not only can stress interfere with your milk production, your baby can pick up on stress vibes. Negativity and stress are no-no’s when it comes to breastfeeding, so keep things light and loving at all times.
What If My Baby Doesn’t Want To Relactate After Stopping Breastfeeding?
You’re right that your baby does have a say in whether she wants to nurse again. While you can’t force your baby to breastfeed, there are numerous ways you can establish a closer relationship with your baby. Establishing that closeness with your baby will make her more comfortable when it comes time to breastfeed.
Things To Try To Get Your Baby Back To Breastfeeding
Techniques To Bring You and Your Baby Closer
- Have lots of skin-to-skin contact
- Sleep together
- Carry her in a baby sling to keep close
- Take baths together
- Cuddle a lot
- Breastfeeding Techniques To Try At Feeding Time:
- Put milk on the nipple and areola to encourage latching on
- Talk to her in a soothing voice
- Be patient
- Keep the experience positive! You don’t want her to associate any negative feelings with breastfeeding.
What Else Should I Consider With Relactating Again After Stopping Breastfeeding?
Relactation is not easy. It takes a lot of time and patience and some moms have more success than others. At the end of the day, if you’ve tried the techniques above and your baby simply isn’t interested, maybe it’s not meant to be. If you’re feeding your baby formula also, this combination feeding technique post can be very helpful in meeting your baby’s needs.
And that’s ok! Many, many babies don’t breastfeed and they absolutely thrive without it. Don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen for you and your baby. There are plenty of other ways to form a very strong bond with your baby if relactating again after stopping breastfeeding doesn’t work for you.
If you’re ready to start making more milk today, read The Ultimate Guide to Making More Breast Milk…FAST! This comprehensive e-book has videos and hands-on techniques to increase your milk supply.