Relactation, Induced Lactation, and Adoptive Nursing - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 09-18-2008, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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There are a lot of moms on these MDC breastfeeding forums that have asked about Induced Lactation and Relactation. A fair number of them have attempted it. Some of them have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams and others have at least been able to bring in a partial supply. The expression that comes to mind is the sub title of a book on “Breastfeeding After Reduction” (an issue which poses similar challenges): defining your own success.

I'm not speaking from personal experience but this is a topic I came across
In the process of researching my Working & Pumping supply issues, compounded by DD1's dairy intolerance.

Keep in mind that there are usually two components with relactation. The obvious one is mom's supply. For supply issues in general check out the supply "sticky" at the top of this BF'ing Challenges forum.

The other component is baby's nursing skills. The bonding, cuddling, etc. probably stimulates mom's milk production hormones. Any suckling further stimulates production and gives DC a chance to practice their nursing skills. Therefore the more opportunities DC has to "help themselves" in a relaxed, no pressure atmosphere, the better. Co-sleeping is ideal since your prolactin levels are higher overnight; and DC is less likely to be hungry and therefore less likely to be frustrated if they aren't getting a lot of milk for their efforts. Bathing together is often described as "re-birthing" in relactation literature and may be ideal for giving DC a chance to re-discover --maybe even “re-boot”-- the nursing instinct; as opposed to having to merely learning a complicated set of nursing skills.

There are some obvious safety issues with co-sleeping and bathing together (re-birthing). There is a Kellymom article titled something along the lines of "The Family Bed" which includes safety tips for co-sleeping. Some articles will suggest having another adult nearby when bathing with baby. This is especially important if warm baths make you sleepy.

I am particularly intrigued by the whole concept of rebirthing. There have been a couple of interesting anecdotes, not all of them directly related to relactation, that tend to suggest that a warm bath is especially conducive to a relaxed, playful, bonding experience.

I wish I could link one heart warming story from a mom whose husband coerced her into premature weaning at about 3 months. Months and months later she was taking a bath with her DC and she stretched towards mom and and latched on ... whether the womblike environment re-activated her instincts or whether she was just playing around, that put Mom on the road to relactation.

My impression FWIW is that a "do or die", "failure is not an option" approach can set moms up for failure. The relaxed approach takes time and patience but the beauty of it is that you are bonding with your baby regardless.

So, again, I suggest co-sleeping, skin to skin contact, baby wearing (with a sling), and taking warm baths together. Not necessarily "offering" baby the breast so much as giving him or her the chance to help themselves. If you do "offer" it shouldn't be when baby is already hungry since they will get upset if there isn't an immediate "payoff".

You can use the Marmet massage technique (kind of like a breast self-exam) to help stimulate letdown prior to nursing and use compressions while nursing to keep the milk flowing. There is more info on this and a link to an article on the BF’ing Challenges supply “sticky”. Also, if you are pumping you can put a drop of milk on the nipple to encourage DC. But, again, you need to be careful not to take a forceful approach. I think it's all about creating a relaxed, low pressure, nurturing environment for you as well as DC.

In the mild weather more frequent skin to skin contact is probably easier. In the colder weather it might be worth investing in the most plush, luxurious, warm, comfy, cozy bathrobe to envelope you and DC while you wear him around the house with you wearing as little on top as possible and with him semi-naked.

I also wonder if modesty is an issue for some moms and I think the robe can help with that as well.

I know it's easy for me to say but I do think it's worth effort so long as it doesn't wind up feeling like Mission Impossible. If you approach it as a journey in bonding with your baby, giving him an opportunity, and seeing where it leads then you win no matter what.

Below are links to pretty much everything I've ever found on Induced Lactation, Adoptive Nursing, Relactation, Etc.

At the time of the writing of this introduction they are all current. However I notice that for some strange reason they keep changing.

Therefore I have included the descriptive information necessary to “Google” the links, or better yet to use a meta search engine such as “Dogpile” or “Surfwax” to search multiple engines at once. The trick is to copy/paste most, if not all, of the article title into the search box and to add the source of the article if the title alone is not enough. Even then the article you are looking for may not be at the top of your results so you might need to scroll down a bit.

If anyone ever has any trouble finding one particular link please PM me. I’ve gotten pretty good at hunting down current links.


La Leche League article: Phoebe's Journey (re: a Mom that re-lactated for a 10 1/2 month adopted Chinese girl)
I was overjoyed when at 19 months of age she nursed for the first time while drifting off to sleep. A few weeks later she took the breast while awake, again for comfort. That was a big day for us! I encouraged her by smiling at her and saying things like, "Isn't Mommy's milk good?" How delightful when she nodded in response, grinning.

The Protocols for Induced Lactation A Guide for Maximizing Breastmilk Production
Lenore contacted Dr. Newman as soon as she learned that her son was on the way, and together they set upon a journey that enabled Lenore to successfully breastfeed her son, who was born 2 months prematurely, from his second day of life. Lenore was able, with Dr. Newman's help, to bring in an astonishing 32 oz per day without a pregnancy. Dr. Newman published the protocol that Lenore followed in a book he published in 2000. Ask Lenore: The Protocols for Induced Lactation A Guide for Maximizing Breastmilk Production

Alternate source for much of the info on the site above: The Protocols for Induced Lactation
A Guide for Maximizing Breastmilk Production
Dr. Jack Newman – The Birth Den
Numerous articles and video clips. Some in multiple languages.

I would like to resume breastfeeding after an interruption. How do I relactate?

LLL Relactation and Induced Lactation Forum

Adoptive Breastfeeding & Relactation

Relactation and Adoptive Breastfeeding: The Basics

Help -- My Baby Won't Nurse!

Re-Birthing: Help For Latch On Problems

When a Baby Refuses to Nurse

Helping a Mother with a Baby Who Is Reluctant to Nurse
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#2 of 2 Old 05-31-2009, 07:44 PM
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Christine. Unschooling mom to Hollis, Zobey, Zeda, Anna, and Wednesday. We have a lot invested in this whole family thing with marriage kids and a mortgage. You don't just give up on the whole deal when it gets difficult.
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