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Relactating after never really bf-ing

My son is 7 months old and we never really breastfed. I have hangups about not providing properly for my son and hate cleaning bottles and spending nearly $50 a week on his stupid formula.
I don't even know if he'll take to breastfeeding but I am seeking advice as to whether I should even attempt this.
He never really latched on but I never really tried. The bottle just seemed easier. I've always hated that I couldn't....didn't....breastfeed. I also didn't get a lot of support from family and husband.
Hospital story, if you care: I had 16 hours of labor that resulted in a c-section. I was very adamant that I wanted to bf before I had my son but the c-section and pain drugs had me delerious for about 24 hours. Once I finally attempted to breastfeed, he screamed when I tried to put him to the breast. I had a nurse helping me but he didn't latch on. I was told to call a LC or LLL but just figured it'd be easier with formula.
I just quit my job a week ago so I'm around my son 24/7 if I want to attempt this, nothing will keep me from being there to try it with him.
Should I or am I just crazy? I'll try anything.
x-posted to breastfeeding. I got tons of support so I'm wondering if anyone else has done this? How do I begin relactating? Supplements? I've heard of specific teas and stuff but I'm just so used to trudging to the store for formula. I will say that even if I relactate and he refuses the breast, I'll be at peace if he takes ebm from a bottle.
Thanks, time for a diaper change!

ps-I'm not insured at the moment since I have quit my job. My son's insured under his dad, but that doesn't help, does it? So I'd say Rx drug help isn't gonna happen unless state agencies or LLL or something gives them away? :(

Comments

I dont know how much luck you are going to have with this hun, its been a long time since you had milk. I think most people have results after afew months but hey, adoptive parents have nursed! Anything is possible:)
The pills that can help with supply are called Donparadone (sp??) and they are most effective if you have a supply and take then soon after having baby. I have taken them for both my sons and it seems all the information on the drug points to doing it right away.
You are going to need a really really good pump thats for sure, something electric. An electric pump in Canada where I am is about 300$. You could try a hand held one which is alot cheaper but I dont think it gives the same results.
When I was trying to get my milk back my son was about 4 months and would not latch, he just would not however when he was sleeping I would pick him up and try to offer and he would nurse while sleeping. World of difference. My whole body would tingle and I could feel something going on where as if you pump it feels like....well like a pump:) The suckling from baby will help you make milk for sure!
Anyhow good luck:) Try the LLL website becuase I know they have a really good page for this.

It sounds like you weren't given very much help when you had just given birth, it must have been a very difficult time for you.
Try pumping, and try hand expressing too.
You might not think expressing very productive but it stimulates the let down reflex better than a pump does, you just need to learn the correct technique.
Look up the marmet technique and start practicing it, I figure its going to take some time to get a supply, or maybe to even get anything out but I am sure that you can with the determination you show.
Good luck!

wow that technique is so low tech but i am excited to try it.
since i have no milk whatsoever, do you have a suggestion for how often to do it to establish a supply? or do you have a reference you can point me to?
i found this great site with illustrations:
http://www.lactationinstitute.org/MANUALEX.html

Milk production works on a supply and demand basis, so the more stimulation you give to the milk ducts the better chance you have of them getting it and rewarding your efforts with producing some milk.
Try the mothers milk type tea, they won't cause you to produce milk but will help with encouraging your supply once you start producing some.

I'm not fully sure on how many times to express, I'd say as often as your son feeds each day so probably about 8 times? (my son is 8 months and nurses around the clock still) Don't make yourself sore though, and try to look at or think about your son when you express as it helps the let down (tingly sensation before the milk starts to flow/trickle)

That site looks good to me, clear illustrations and good advice on what not to do too!
Let me know how it goes!

(Anonymous)
relactating

so how did it go? I'm in a situation much like yours and wondering if it's going to work. Let me know how it went! angieksmith@gmail.com

(Anonymous)
I'm relactating at 14 months - here's how to do it.

I have been on and off with relactation since I dried up at about 6 weeks after my son's birth. You wouldn't believe how the nurses gave my son bottles and sabotaged all of my efforts - to the point where he refused my breast once my milk came in. Anyway...I have never wanted to let go of it until I was successful again. There are still nutritional benefits of breastmilk and nursing up until a child is 3 or more years old. You have that long to make this work. I have learned a lot about relactation techniques and now feel that I've got a system down to finally make it work. If you know that you don't want to give up on it, don't, because the feeling never goes away - trust me on this. I have dedicated that this month of April is going to be the month dedicated to relactating. My goal is to have a few drops by the 30th and 1/2 - 1 oz. or more by the middle-end of May. I am not making any plans (except for the occasional short social outing). Dinners are going to be ultra easy (frozen, convenient, take-out, and or whatever else is easy). Prolactin (that your body will produce to make milk through pumping signals) may possibly make you very tired and/or irritable. So, be prepared to get through that hump (if it happens to you like it does me). I rented a hospital pump for the bedroom, I have a Medela pump in the living room and an Avent hand pump for the diaper bag (incase I'm out and need to do some nipple stimulation discreetly in the car or a bathroom stall). All to simulate having a needful newborn with you wherever you are and wherever you go. Next, I will start sleeping in my toddler's bedroom (to have that hormone to hormone exchange between us). I can totally feel my nipples tingling when he sleeps in the same room with me (as was the case when we traveled and he slept in the same room with us). But he doesn't sleep well in bed with us. I plan to take baths with him and give him more massages for the essential skin to skin contact (as soon as I'm off my period). Carry your baby in a front pack carrier as much as possible too. (I can't do this with a toddler but I sit and play with him a lot). I show him my "nummies" and he playfully mushes his head into them. This is to get him courted back to breast and to see them as positive things in his life. I still give him a bottle at night but now do it next to my breast. I will begin doing the supplemental nurser system in a week or so. A supplemental nurser system is threading the tube of an SNS through the bottle nipple and placing the bottle nipple over the breast. The idea is that once you are producing milk, the baby will associate milk to breast and may begin showing an interest in taking the breast. You can get an SNS via lactaid.com or medela.com (I like lactaid better - not that it isn't easy to use at first but you'll get the hang of it). I've noticed that using Olive Oil on my nipples during pumping makes all the difference in the world (no rubbing = less or no nipple soreness). I still had tremendous friction and nipple soreness using lansinoh. I do not go crazy with the pump settings during that initial pumping pinch feeling. Once my nipples are used to it, then I'll increase vacuum setting. DO NOT FORCE BABY TO TAKE THE BREAST! He'll do playful nips at first or you can allow him to cuddle next to it. But forcing him to take it will make things worse (trust me - I have experience with this). Here are some helpful websites: www.kellymom.com (Read articles on nutritional value of toddler breastfeeding) www.fourfriends.com (Go to adoptive breastfeeding sources - it has an amazing wealth of information on relactating for biological moms too) search for dr. jack newman's website and try to find the powerpoint on Toddler breastfeeding (or I can email it to you). It will reinforce all of your motherly instincts about why you want to do it and why you are not getting the support from medical professionals and friends/family (and how to deal with that). My email is: michelley@yahoo.com (If you are trying to relactate, we can be relactation buddies together! We can do this - I'm sure of it!) And of course, I would love to hear from anyone else that is relactating or wanting to.

(Anonymous)
Easier to read (same post as last)

I have been on and off with relactation since I dried up at about 6 weeks after my son's birth. You wouldn't believe how the nurses gave my son bottles and sabotaged all of my efforts - to the point where he refused my breast once my milk came in.

Anyway...I have never wanted to let go of it until I was successful again. There are still nutritional benefits of breastmilk and nursing up until a child is 3 or more years old. You have that long to make this work.

I have learned a lot about relactation techniques and now feel that I've got a system down to finally make it work.

If you know that you don't want to give up on it, don't, because the feeling never goes away - trust me on this.

I have dedicated that this month of April is going to be the month dedicated to relactating. My goal is to have a few drops by the 30th and 1/2 - 1 oz. or more by the middle-end of May.

I am not making any plans (except for the occasional short social outing). Dinners are going to be ultra easy (frozen, convenient, take-out, and or whatever else is easy). Prolactin (that your body will produce to make milk through pumping signals) may possibly make you very tired and/or irritable. So, be prepared to get through that hump (if it happens to you like it does me).

I rented a hospital pump for the bedroom, I have a Medela pump in the living room and an Avent hand pump for the diaper bag (incase I'm out and need to do some nipple stimulation discreetly in the car or a bathroom stall). All to simulate having a needful newborn with you wherever you are and wherever you go.

Next, I will start sleeping in my toddler's bedroom (to have that hormone to hormone exchange between us). I can totally feel my nipples tingling when he sleeps in the same room with me (as was the case when we traveled and he slept in the same room with us). But he doesn't sleep well in bed with us.

I plan to take baths with him and give him more massages for the essential skin to skin contact (as soon as I'm off my period). Carry your baby in a front pack carrier as much as possible too. (I can't do this with a toddler but I sit and play with him a lot).

I show him my "nummies" and he playfully mushes his head into them. This is to get him courted back to breast and to see them as positive things in his life.

I still give him a bottle at night but now do it next to my breast. I will begin doing the supplemental nurser system in a week or so. A supplemental nurser system is threading the tube of an SNS through the bottle nipple and placing the bottle nipple over the breast. The idea is that once you are producing milk, the baby will associate milk to breast and may begin showing an interest in taking the breast. You can get an SNS via lactaid.com or medela.com (I like lactaid better - not that it isn't easy to use at first but you'll get the hang of it).

I've noticed that using Olive Oil on my nipples during pumping makes all the difference in the world (no rubbing = less or no nipple soreness). I still had tremendous friction and nipple soreness using lansinoh.

I do not go crazy with the pump settings during that initial pumping pinch feeling. Once my nipples are used to it, then I'll increase vacuum setting.

DO NOT FORCE BABY TO TAKE THE BREAST! He'll do playful nips at first or you can allow him to cuddle next to it. But forcing him to take it will make things worse (trust me - I have experience with this).

Here are some helpful websites:
www.kellymom.com (Read articles on nutritional value of toddler breastfeeding)

www.fourfriends.com (Go to adoptive breastfeeding sources - it has an amazing wealth of information on relactating for biological moms too)

search for dr. jack newman's website and try to find the powerpoint on Toddler breastfeeding (or I can email it to you). It will reinforce all of your motherly instincts about why you want to do it and why you are not getting the support from medical professionals and friends/family (and how to deal with that).

My email is: michelley@yahoo.com (If you are trying to relactate, we can be relactation buddies together! We can do this - I'm sure of it!) And of course, I would love to hear from anyone else that is relactating or wanting to.

(Anonymous)

i know exactly how you feel.

my son is 11 weeks today and i stopped pumping breastmilk at 3 weeks for lack of motivation and support. what an idiot. i wanted to go out with friends, stop leaking all over the place and feel free from that stupid breastpump. not to mention, no one made it seem like me giving him breastmilk or even the thought of breastfeeding was good at all. even the nurses at the hospital never made it into a huge deal(and too gave him a pacifier and formula via bottle before id ever even seen him, talk about ruining things for me). so now hes on formula and i cant stand it..NASTY smelling diapers, fussiness, and its so irritationg to prepare when hes crying not to mention sooooo expensive.....

so about three weeks ago i decieded im going to relactate and build back my supply no matter who thinks its stupid or what cool "parties" i have to sacrafice attending. i could care less. the feeling of not being able to give him my own milk and feed him the way i want and through me soley just makes me so sad and the woman above is right, the feeling never goes away. i think about how easy i gave up everyday. im currently taking fenugreek(its an herb) and drinking that mothers milk organic tea(it tastes like old flat tea with winterfresh ahaha..not so appealing). i use a handpump every 2 1/2 hours(my son eats nearly 5-6 1/2 ounces every 3-4 hours, i assume the more i pump, the faster and the more will come in) and hes always slept with me so that helps and im constantly carrying him with me close. he doesnt really latch on, he did two weeks ago for about 2 or 3 mins but fell off and got mad. ill keep working on that...

but id recommmend all my efforts to you. every site ive gone to and everyone ive talked to whos knowledgable said it CAN be done and if i continue, it WILL happen. i refuse to stop until im successful which hopefully is the attitude youll have, because it makes it easier to get through. good luck!

(Anonymous)
Thanks for sharing

Hello, I'm also attempting to relactate. My son is close in age to yours (he'll be exactly 3 months tomorrow) and I had a similar experience to yours while I was in the hospital. No one made such a big deal of nursing, and when my nipples got sore and began to bleed, my family discouraged me from breastfeeding. I was allowed to provide him an occasional "snack" before he grew frustrated and wanted his bottle, but that stopped at 8 weeks, when I went back to work. My son now hates to nurse for even a full minute because he hardly gets anything.

I'm also taking Fenugreek (mmm..maple syrup!) and a nursing mom's tea and am awaiting my double electric pump. I had a cheap electric pump before and I had to buy a manual pump that is frustrating to use, but I still managed to get a few drops from each breast. It wasn't even enough to cover the whole bottom of the bottle and I kept at it for 45 minutes! But it was better than nothing. I'm trying to pump when I get home from work for every 1-2 hours to hopefully speed up the process, and when my electric pump comes in, I'm hoping to pump every 2-3 hours then.

Since we're in the same boat, would you like to contact me and let me know of your progress? I'd love to share my experiences with you, vent our frustrations, and cheer each other on. Please email me: solightuw@aol.com

I know we can both do this!!!

(Anonymous)
Did it work?

I am just wondering if you tried and if it worked. I am thinking about doing it also and would love to know how it went for you.

(Anonymous)

my son is almost 4 weeks old. the only time he has had formula was in the hospital.(the nurse gave it to him because he hadn't peed within the first 24 hours and he wasn't latching on to me.) I have an electric pump and use it every 2 hours. I pump then feed him from a bottle. the most I was pumping was 2 and a 1/2 to 3 oz every time. I have 24 oz frozen I was producing so much. now, I'm lucky to get an ounce from each side. I've used all my frozen milk and am at the point where he is going to need formula because he eats more than 2 oz a feeding. I don't know what to do. I DO NOT want to start using formula. I have 2 other children that I was unable to breastfeed and don't want to give up this time. I am sill pumping religously but want to know if there is anything else I should be doing or could do to help get my milk back. I appreciate ANY advice. my email is italianprincess76031985@yahoo.com
thanks,
cyndi
it

(Anonymous)
relactating

My daughter is 6 and half weeks old.She was born emergency csec.I am still having a horrible time recovering.I never really bf her except once in the hospital during her 9 day stay and I pumped an oz from each breast.I was completly dry for some time and I decided to bf again 4 days ago.I bought fennugreek blessed thistle and mothers milk tea.I am diabetic and asthatic and it says not to take fennugreek and blessed thistle if you are.I havent had any problems so far.I am more careful to eat every couple hours to avoid low blood sugar though.Anyhow I started pumping 5 times the first day and got only a couple drops,none the 2nd day,once the third day and again 2 drops,today I took 3 fennugreek every 3 hours and 2 blessed thistle and pumped 5 times so far and got enough milk to barely cover the bottom of the bottle when I put both bottles together.I am a single parent and have a 15 yr old who is special needs so I pump when I can and not consistently sadley.So far though this is a great improvement.What really made all the diff for me was when I went back on natures plan source of life prenatal vitamins these kicked my milk back in.They are loaded vitamins and so much better then the standard prenatal.btw I still drink caffinne as I need it to get through the day with my son and daughter alone.I will keep updating on my progress.Im using a hospital grade pump I also own medela pump in style but its not as fast as the hospital pump.My daughter wants to latch on constantly[she was born to breastfeed and knows it].I let her do it sometimes but the sensation is hard for me to tolerate.I prefer the pump.I sleep with her and unlike alot of moms I dont enjoy this but feel guilty if I dont so I do because she loves it and sleeps through the night if shes in my bed.I was told by a lactating specialist it can take as long as youve given up bf to get milk back.So I have 6 weeks of hard work ahead of me.Its worth it its already helping with my depression and made my period go away.I was in the middle of it when I started this.

(Anonymous)
Re: relactating

edit= I took the fennugreek 3 times today three pills each time not 3 every three hours.

(Anonymous)
Your story made me cry!

Finally some one knows how I feel !!!!! I was in labor for 26 hours though! Did u get any advice?

(Anonymous)

I've been informed that re lactate below 3 months old baby is much easier. Trying to re lactate 4 months old baby will having difficulties. I planned to re lactate my 4 months baby. Using SNS is not easy when your baby refuse to breastfeed from your nipple. Its really frustrated me. How to persuade baby who tend to bottle fed then breastfeed? Please help me.... izaisa82@gmail.com

(Anonymous)

Hello< Do not think you are crazy #1 because You are trying to do something that will be healthy for you and your son. There is a tincture by motherlove called MORE MILK PLUS, you can chck it out on line for more info. There is also a sesame seed milk recipe that I have heard about that helps with milk production. Practice pumping at a comfortable level, try not to stress yourself out about this and give him the EBM. Are there support groups La Leche Leauge is great. You can look for a meeting nearby and they will help tremendously. I understand where you are at.
Good Luck and god Bless, Nah Nah

I also want to relactate. My daughter is 6 months and two weeks old and though I really wanted to breastfeed, I was not able to do so. My daughter didn't know how latch the first time she was put on my breast and when she started crying, my mother pressured me to give her the bottle. Since I had c-section and was in pain, I didn't protest. From then on, my daughter preferred the bottle and would cry if I try to breastfeed her. For the first week, the only way I could feed y baby breast milk is by express milk through pumping with my single electric avent breast pump. But even then, I had to feed her formula as my milk was not enough. After one week of pumping, I got depressed because after 1 hour of pumping, I only had less than 10ml milk. Since my family was not very supportive of breastfeeding, I stopped expressing milk after two weeks. To this date I feel really bad about my inability to breastfeed my daughter. I would like to try again. Please email me at m_rogue23@yahoo.com ph on how you succeeded relactating even though you have not succeeded with breastfeeding before. Thanks.

I know this is old but can you tell me how it worked out for you? I'm wanting to breastfeeding my 2 month old after never breastfeeding. I had almost the same experience. I had to be induced because of heavy bleeding but she was crooked so after Pushing for over 2 hours before her heart rate & my blood pressure dropped so drastically we almost didn't make it. Then she spent a little over a week in NICU and I wasn't even able to walk for a while. I tore really really bad even though I ended up having a section. Anyway so I've been trying to get her to take my breast for several weeks. She's only latched on twice. I'm thinking maybe if I had something in there for her she might latch on more....but I don't want to start producing again if she's not going to take to it. Y'all see what I'm saying? So I'm hoping someone can give me some good news......

Seems like people do not really answer in this thread. I am hoping to relactate for my twin 4 month olds. Had to supplement with formula in hospital and at home so supply never built up well. Anyone wants to help each other lisamarie1423@yahoo.com