How to Relactate after Stopping Breastfeeding

I’m a mom of two wonderful boys – Alex, a spirited 2.5 year old and Oscar, a laid-back “second child” who is exactly15 months old. I have been blessed with a great milk supply with both, however, my journeys stopped at 10 months and 9 months of breastfeeding respectively.

Our first born, Alex, has gone undiagnosed for 2 years before we finally got our answers as to why is my baby much smaller than others – he has a syndrome called Russel Silver and it affects him in many ways, one being delay in growth. 3 weeks ago I have made a decision to relactate after 6 months of being completely dried up. Here is my story, reasons behind this tedious task and how I was able to do it.

‘Tis the season for flu and RSV

Breastmilk is pretty amazing! It has shown in countless research to be able to strengthen our little one’s immune system AND prevent common illnesses. The added bonus? Once you or your kiddos are sick, your breastmilk jump-starts the production has the PERFECT antibodies for the exact virus/bacteria that they are currently fighting.

With both my boys in daycare, it was important for me to be able to provide them with the ability to defend themselves from illness, and while they’re bound to get sick eventually, I will be able to help them get better faster. To increase antibodies in your breastmilk, simply hug, kiss, and spend time close to your littles! Your body will take care of the rest and start producing antibodies in… 20 minutes!

Breastmilk helps stabilize blood sugars and is a natural probiotic

Alex’s genetic syndrome makes it very difficult for him to fight common infections while sustaining a normal blood sugar, and he is often exposed to medications that negatively influence his gut microbiota. Not only breastmilk helps stabilize his blood sugars, it also contains as many as 600 different species of various good bacteria, including Bifidobacterium breve, B. adolescentis, B. longum, B. bifidum, and B. dentium.

Another important factor is purely maternal. As I had Gestational Diabetes while pregnant with Alex, my risk of diabetes in late adulthood increases. The longer I breastfeed, the more I decrease my chances of developing diabetes and other metabolic illness.

Guilt and regret for stopping breastfeeding to early

I struggled with a lot of guilt for stopping breastfeeding before a year old. With Alex, I simply stopped producing breastmilk when I got pregnant with Oscar, but with Oscar this decision was made as being a full-time working mom AND managing Alex’s illness (another full-time job) was extremely overwhelming. I have tried to deal with this guilt in many ways, and none really worked, doesn’t matter how many affirmations a day I was saying, and how many times I told myself: “I’M GOOD ENOUGH”.

Guilt of not breastfeeding/ not breastfeeding long enough is real, and mothers need to be loved on and supported as they grief this loss! If you had to stop breastfeeding for ANY reason at all (or even no reason!) – I want you to know that you DID THE BEST YOU COULD in that given moment, and this does not take away what a great mom you are.

If you are reading this as you already stopped breastfeeding and are considering relactation, I am including some of the steps below to help you on this journey. As we are done with having more kids, I felt that I was not truly ready to stop my breastfeeding journey just yet and knew that I will have a lot of regret in the future if I didn’t give it another try.

Day 1-7

First couple days, I wasn’t even producing drops. Barely on day 5 I have collected 0.1mL and oh my what a proud moment was that!

Week 1-2

This was the week of most progress – I went from 0.1mL to 5mL a day in barely 72 hours! What an increase. Tears of joy went down my face to fill that little colostrum container!

Week 2-4

It wasn’t until almost 2.5 weeks into pumping that I have noticed my supply increasing 1-3mL a day! Below you can take a peek at my daily stats. They are doing better and better! My goal is to produce 10oz/day – 2x 5oz cup for each of my boys.

These were my reasons. I wonder what are yours? Please remember to drop your comment in the box below or on my Facebook page! Below, more information on relactation and my “how to” guide!

How to relactate after stopping breastfeeding

Consider timing to adjust methods.

Newborns to 3 month olds will may be willing to latch on. With babies 3-6 months it will depend on temperament. Most babies over 6 months would require help from a local Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) to establish a plan of getting back to the breast.

Choose method

  1. Medicated
    Depending on your geographical location, there may be medications available to you such as Domperidone. These medications can also be ordered online to US after discussing the pros and cons with your Medical Provider and your IBCLC. Usual dosage of Domperidone during relactation is 10-20mg 3-4 times per day.
    Reglan is a medication available in US, however, it is known to increase risk of postpartum depression.
  2. Non-Medicated
    It is still absolutely possible to relactate without use of medication! Both methods require diligent pumping anyway. Medication can help speed up the process, but end result is often the same.

Make sure you have a good quality double electric breast pump

You can either rent a Hospital Grade Pump such as Medela Symphony or use a Spectra S1/S2. There are also other hospital-strength pumps that offer portability – Baby Buddha, Freemie, Willow and Elvie.

Pump, pump, pump and then… pump again

Pumping will be crucial to establishing your milk supply once again if your baby is no longer directly nursing. Even if no milk is coming out, ever minute counts. Start with pumping every 3 hours around the clock. That 2 am pumping session will be what’s driving your relactation! Don’t give up if it’s been a week, two, three and only drops are coming out. Once your milk increases in volume, you’ll be looking at slow increase of 0.5-1mL per day.

Be kind to yourself!

Relactation is not easy and it’s a process far from providing an instant gratification. You will spend many days and many hours seeing no effect of your hard work whatsoever and it will be so easy to give up.Just remember the reasons WHY you decided to take on that journey and write affirmations that you will read to yourself during these times. Remember never to give up on a bad day!

If it starts feeling like too much and you feel like quitting – it DOES NOT, in any way, make you a bod mother!

Only you know what’s best for your baby. If you can’t stimulate a milk supply or you feel like you are attached to the pump 24/7 and it’s stripping you from all the joy of having a baby/toddler PLEASE know that the right thing is simply keeping your baby healthy and providing her with nutrition she needs, whether it’s breastmilk, formula or solids when older <3

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  • Eddie.Demi

    May 26, 2020 at 3:55 am

    Success is a simple matter that is repeated over and over again

  • ExoRank

    January 22, 2020 at 6:20 am

    Awesome post! Keep up the great work! :)

  • Beige McNabb

    December 26, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Did you use medication for these results? I too am doing this for my 15 month old for the same reasons. I stopped 8 months […] Read MoreDid you use medication for these results? I too am doing this for my 15 month old for the same reasons. I stopped 8 months ago when he was 8 months but stashed 5k oz for him to have until he was 1 year old. Read Less

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About Me

Hi, I'm Karolina. I am a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) providing kind, real life, guilt-free greastfeeding suppoert for those in the Inland Empire Area and beyond. Read More

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