If you’re considering relactating after any period of time, there are some important things you need to know! Keep reading to find out exactly what you need to do to make this possible, even if you haven’t breastfed in years!
What is Relactation?
Relactation is the process of re-introducing and rebuilding a breast milk supply after a period of time. Basically, you are “retraining” your body to produce breast milk through consistent stimulation and effort!
It is possible to relactate after any period of time, but keep in mind that the longer it has been since you breastfed, the longer it will take to see results! Moms who stopped breastfeeding two months ago will see results much quicker than those who are relactating after a year.
Everyone’s body is different and your relactation journey won’t look like anyone else’s! Some moms start to see milk drops after just 3 weeks of consistent efforts, while others may take 6 weeks or longer.
When I decided to relactate, I started completely dry… meaning I wasn’t producing any breast milk at all! It took me 6 weeks of dry-pumping to see results, but even then, I was not producing the same amount that I had before. Relactation is a long process but, if you keep with it, you will start to see results!
How to Get the Most Out of Relactation
First of all, relactation takes three things: time, consistency, and effort.
You need constant nipple stimulation to “tell” your body that it’s time to produce breast milk again! That nipple stimulation produces a hormone called oxytocin, which in turn tells your body to start producing more prolactin (the main hormone behind breast development and milk production).
In order to get the most out of your relactation experience, you need to be pumping, nursing, or hand-expressing 8-10 times per day minimum, for 20-30 minutes each session. Additionally, it can be helpful to include two power-pumping sessions in your routine and follow those with some hand expression. Once again, keeping that consistent effort will bring you the quickest and best results!
Another important factor is the pump and flange setup you are using. I always recommend a double-electric, hospital-grade pump like Pumpables SuperGenie because it will give you the most powerful results… Remember, what you gain in ease and convenience with a mobile pump, you lose in strength! When you make your purchase, make sure to use code junobiebags for 10% off your purchase!
As for flanges, you will need properly-fitted flanges to ensure that your pumping sessions are doing what they need to do! An improper fit can lead to many issues, including pain and an inability to produce the milk you are trying to. It’s a great idea to check with a lactation consultant to make sure that you have properly-fitting flanges or (if nursing) that your baby has a good latch. Milk Guide is a great resource for either of these needs!
What Else Do I Need For Relactation?
Your hydration and nutrition are key parts of your relactation journey! Making sure that you are staying hydrated and increasing the calories you are consuming (approx. an additional 500 calories per day) is essential.
Additionally, it is also recommended to have at least one of your pumping sessions overnight. Milk production is highest during the night, so having a session during this time can make a huge difference in your ability to relactate!
There are also a few products that will make your relactation journey so much easier! Mother Love Nipple Cream is an organic herbal balm that is used to soothe sore nipples. This will definitely become a necessity as dry pumping can be very hard on your skin! If you use code junobie15, you can get 15% off your purchase!
Another beneficial product is CoBoo pumping spray. Once again, this product aims to make your time pumping smoother and easier. The spray reduces the friction between your breast and pump flanges for a better, overall experience! Using the code junobie15 at checkout will get you a 15% discount on your purchase here as well!
What To Do When Your Milk Comes In
First of all, make sure you celebrate! This is a huge step in your relactation process! Saving even the first few drops is great motivation moving forward.
Then, it’s time to work on your supply. A mixture of cluster and power pumping after your milk comes in is a great way to increase the lower supply you will see in the beginning. Cluster pumping is when you have erratic, frequent “clusters” of pumping sessions to tell your body to boost your supply. Combining that with power pumping is a great way to take your milk supply to the next level!
Relactation is Possible!
Overall, remember that it’s totally possible to relactate! It took me two tries to see the results I was looking for… and I even gave up the first time! If relactation is something you want to try, don’t give up. Although it takes a lot of time and effort, the results are amazing!
If you want more tips on how to make relactation work for you, check out this Instagram reel!
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