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Relactation Is Possible But ‘Takes A Lot Of Work,’ According To Experts
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  • Breastfeeding may come naturally to some mothers, but not to others. That’s why there are new moms who have to stop giving their own milk to their babies until they finally feel fully ready to try again. They just wonder if it’s possible and how to relactate.

    "It is possible to relactate," says birthing coach and childbirth educator Chiqui Brosas-Hahn in a recent webinar attended by SmartParenting.com.ph.

    More experts agree, particularly from the La Leche League International, a non-governmental and nonprofit organization that organizes advocacy, educational, and training related to breastfeeding.

    Relactation is a second chance at breastfeeding

    La Leche advocates point out that relactation is a "second chance at breastfeeding." They explain, "It can be easy to give up breastfeeding, even if things are going fairly well.

    "Many mothers fail to establish breastfeeding because of difficult circumstances such as lack of access to accurate information and/or lack of support. They end up giving up breastfeeding, but then regret their decision."

    There are other reasons for new moms to stop breastfeeding. Maybe they were separated from their babies due to illness or an emergency, and when they recovered, they decided to give breastfeeding another try and just learn how to relactate.

    Relactation happens when the new mom starts breastfeeding again, according to What to Expect. That gap can be as short as a few days or as long as many weeks, months, or even a year. In general, though, it works best if you gave birth fairly recently or you only stopped just for a bit of time.


    Tips to achieving relactation

    While relactation is possible, Brosas-Hahn points out that "it takes a lot of hard work," plus you have to be in good health, gets enough rest, and follows a proper diet. She adds, "You need to stimulate the breast. So a pump would really help a lot to sustain the stimulation."

    Take in consideration also that your baby might have already experienced bottle feeding, so he or she may need time to adjust to breastfeeding again. But take heart because experts say many mothers have found that even babies older than three or four months can still learn to breastfeed.

    You may also find breastfeeding a whole new experience again, so it's best to do your research and look for a support group as you learn how to relactate. Eventually, you and your baby will find the sweet spot.

    How to boost milk supply

    There are also some ways to help boost your milk supply:

    Breastfeed frequently

    Experts suggest try giving milk to your baby every one to two hours and at least 10 to 12 times for every 24 hours. Then let him or her breastfeed not just for food but also comfort. Just be prepared for more nighttime feeding and evening nursing. You can also do the laid back breastfeeding positions to help increase the levels of hormones responsible for milk production.

    Go for breast compression

    One technique that breastfeeding advocates suggest new moms to try is breast compression. It's been proven to encourage babies to actively breastfeed and take more milk.

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    What you'll do is, first, support your breast with one hand, placing your thumb on one side and fingers on the other. Next, wait while your baby breastfeeds actively. His or her jaw should be moving all the way to his or her ear.

    When your baby stops swallowing, that's the time you compress your breast firmly to increase milk flow and for he or she tp start swallowing again. Make sure to hold your breast squeezed as he or she continues nursing actively, then release your hand.

    Afterward, rotate your hand around your breast and wait until your baby breastfeeds actively again. WHen he or she stops swallowing, simply repeat the next steps. Don't be afraid to experiment in finding what works for you and finally learning how to relactate.

    What other parents are reading

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