Although it can be challenging for some women, breastfeeding is a beautiful experience for every mother, and it has plenty of benefits for the baby. Because some babies refuse to be breastfed at first, some mothers turn to formula. But, when is it too late to start breastfeeding again? Is it even possible to restart?
No matter how excited you were about breastfeeding, life doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes, the formula seems like the best option to keep your little one nourished, and that’s completely okay. How you feed your baby is up to you, and it’s a personal decision only you should make.
It’s okay to change your mind, too! If you thought the formula was a better option, but now you’d like to try breastfeeding, it’s all okay. We’re all learning and finding the best ways to keep our little ones healthy.
If you’ve decided to give breastfeeding another chance, you’re probably worried if it’s even possible. We’ve got some good news, momma – it’s never too late to start breastfeeding if you’re patient and persistent enough! Yes, even if your baby is a few months old.
Together, let’s see if it’s possible to restart your breastfeeding journey, and what are some of the best ways to start lactating. Let’s begin!
Can you start breastfeeding again if you’ve stopped?
If you’ve stopped breastfeeding for a while and you’d like to try it out again, you’re probably wondering if it’s even possible. Well, the good news is that it’s absolutely possible!
Breastfeeding is a unique experience that your body won’t easily forget. No matter how long ago you stopped breastfeeding or how old your baby is, your body has got your back, even if your breastmilk supplies were low at first.
Don’t worry, breastfeeding will come naturally to your baby, too. In fact, even if there’s no milk at all, they’ll be happy to nurse as it brings them comfort. It’s important to let your baby nurse regularly, which will increase milk production, making your baby want to feed often.
And the best part is – the milk you produce after relactation can sometimes be enough to feed your baby without having to use formula, too! Since that’s not the case with every baby, it shouldn’t discourage you if you need to use the bottle, too. It’s completely okay!
Breastfeeding is super beneficial for both babies and their mothers, so even a little bit can have a positive impact on your little one as she grows. However, you still shouldn’t wait too long to start trying to relactate again, as it can become harder for your body to produce milk.
When is it too late to start breastfeeding again?
So, yes, it’s possible to start again, but when is it too late to start breastfeeding? Although it’s never too late to try relactation, you shouldn’t wait too long. The longer you take, the harder it will be for your baby to get used to that kind of feeding.
Because you need to encourage your body to start producing milk again, it will be a lot easier to start after you give birth or soon after you’ve stopped breastfeeding. Generally, it’s easier to start in the first three months after delivery.
This only means that it will be easier for your body to start lactating again, which doesn’t mean it won’t be able to produce milk if it’s never done it before. You’ll just have to be more persistent and patient, and your baby will get used to it, even if she’s older than 6 months.
The more your baby eats, the more milk you produce, so make sure you’re persistent even if there’s little to no milk at first. Although it’s never too late to start breastfeeding again, here are some things that might make relactation more successful:
- If your baby is younger than 6 months old
- If you’ve tried breastfeeding before, even if it didn’t last for too long
- If you didn’t take too long to start breastfeeding again
- If you’re committed and patient
Tips to start breastfeeding
There are plenty of factors that can influence the process of relactation, but a lot of moms have seen positive effects when they’ve tried breastfeeding their little ones again. Even if you have an older baby or you’ve adopted your little one – relactation is possible and there’s a high chance the results will be positive.
To encourage your body to start producing more breastmilk, there are some things you should do. The most important thing about this whole process is to stay determined and not give up easily.
With the following tips, you’ll start breastfeeding your baby again in no time.
1. Learn more about how breastmilk is produced
Before you start your journey of relactation, it’s important to learn as much as possible about how breastmilk is produced. Since you’re here, you’re on the right track to do so!
When you’re pregnant, your body starts producing a hormone called prolactin, which stimulates breast milk production. However, pregnancy isn’t the only thing that could make your body produce this hormone. Nipple stimulation can do the same thing!
Because of that, with the right breast and nipple stimulation, even mothers who have adopted their babies can start producing breast milk. How beautiful is that?!
2. Skin-to-skin contact
Skin-to-skin contact with your baby is one of the most important things you can do if you plan to start breastfeeding. It’s a wonderful way for you to bond with your little one, while she gets used to being that close to you.
If your baby is still very young, she might even begin searching for your breast when she’s feeling hungry. When this happens, you should always use it as an opportunity to encourage breastfeeding and let your little one nurse, even if there’s not a lot of milk coming out.
3. Breasts and nipples stimulation
As we’ve already mentioned, breast and nipple stimulation encourages your body to produce prolactin, which helps with producing breast milk. However, don’t rely on breast massages only, as it might take too long to make you produce milk.
Still, it’s a great way to help you start lactating when used with other methods. Besides breast massages, using a breast pump is also a great way to encourage prolactin production.
4. Consider taking lactation support supplements
Luckily, there are a lot of lactation supplements that can help you boost your milk supply, even if you breastfeed your baby regularly, but your supplies are still low. It happens to everyone, so don’t worry.
The best thing you can do is try some methods that will help you increase your breastmilk supplies, including supplements, herbs, and foods that are known to have a positive effect on breastmilk production.
5. Work with a lactation expert
If simply googling these things isn’t enough – don’t worry! There are lactation experts that can help you start breastfeeding your little one again or even increase your breastmilk supplies.
When working with a lactation expert, they’ll build a plan that will help you reach your goals. They’re professionals who specialize in helping mothers induce relactation and learn more about it, so you really can’t go wrong here!
They’ll help you with different methods and techniques, as well as how you can properly hold your baby and encourage her to start breastfeeding again.
6. Make sure you can recognize your baby’s hunger cues
When it comes to breastfeeding, you should always let your baby lead and let her eat when she’s ready. Put her on your skin with her tummy down, and let her find her way to your breasts.
It’s important to recognize your baby’s hunger cues so you can feed her on time. Here are some things you should look out for:
- She’s moving her head side to side and looking for your breast
- She’s got her hands near or in her mouth
- She’s licking and smacking her lips
- She’s turning her head when you touch her face
- She’s wriggling her arms and legs.
Also, make sure you try feeding your baby at night when your prolactin levels are the highest. To boost your milk supply, feed at night and right when your little one wakes up.
7. You might want to consider taking hormones
If everything else fails, you can always try taking hormones that will trick your body into thinking you have just given birth. After some time, your body will start producing milk. Don’t worry if your milk supply is low at first, as your baby nurses, it will increase. It takes time and patience.
8. Arm yourself with patience
Last but not least, understand that relactation is a process that takes time and determination. Don’t give up easily, as it can take up to 8 weeks until you experience a full milk supply. Just keep in mind that this is all for the well-being of your baby, and that she’ll be back to breastfeeding in no time.