Relactation and induced lactation seem to be the great unknowns for parents and parents-to-be in pregnancy, birthing, and feeding baby. They are not subjects commonly discussed, however, they are very exciting processes which enable women – even those who have not been pregnant before – to generate a milk supply!
Situations where this might be so rewarding for mums, are if they having a baby through adoption or surrogacy and would like to offer breastmilk, if their same-sex partner has given birth and they would also like to breastfeed, if mum has been separated from baby for a period of time, maybe due to ill health, or has made the decision to breastfeed after a period of not doing so.
Relactation is the process by which a woman can resume breastfeeding after a period of time, which might be a gap of several days, or even years, and induced lactation is the process of stimulating milk production in women who have never been pregnant.
The amount of milk supply an induced lactating or relactating lady may produce varies greatly between women, and it is a process which takes patience, dedication and commitment – plus support and encouragement from those around you.
During pregnancy, a woman’s body will prepare itself to produce a milk supply ready for baby’s birth. So, in order to induce lactation, there are ways of telling the body that it is ‘pregnant’. Breast stimulation is the first important stage, to send hormonal signals to the brain to ‘switch on’ milk production.
Using Ardo’s double electric breastpump – either the Carum or the Calypso – is one way of stimulating milk production and increasing the hormone prolactin within the body. Using a breastpump is really important to begin to produce breastmilk, gradually building the amount of pumping time (from five minutes three times a day, up to ten minutes every two to three hours) to increase the prolactin hormone.
The Ardo pump is also useful once you have your baby, as they may not take to the breast right away – or at all – and so by continuing to pump you will keep up your milk supply and can offer breastmilk by other means. Even if baby will not take from the breast, it is beneficial to encourage skin-to-skin contact, as this close bonding time will increase the hormones which produce breastmilk, and will encourage a greater yield when expressing.
There is quite a bit to consider when thinking about induced lactation or relactation, and at Ardo we speak to mums every day, with many questions and emotions they are trying to figure out. We provide the quality products needed in these processes, which are developed to continually meet both the personal requirements and individual needs of mums and their babies, and those who support them in their journey.
If you would like to ask us questions about induced lactation and relactation, please feel free to contact us – we really do talk about all things expressing with ladies with different queries, every day of the week! Rest-assured that you are not alone.