A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

A Mother Relactates

By Anonymous

I would like to share this for other moms to know what’s possible. All throughout my pregnancy my plan was to breastfeed my baby. I tried to prepare myself as much as I could but I knew nothing at all about breastfeeding. In the world around me formula feeding was the norm. All my friends and family all formula fed their babies so I really had no one around for support or to learn from. I took a class at the hospital to try and learn what I could there. The class did nothing short of scare me and intimidate me with everything that can go wrong. So the day came to go in for my scheduled c section, and I had just made my mind up that I would just stick with the “normal” way to feed my baby. When we got home from the hospital that night I had this sense of guilt that I had decided not breastfeed my baby. I sat up in bed and tried to get her to latch and she even as a 3 day old baby just couldn’t latch so at that time lacking barely any knowledge about breastfeeding. I gave up. I felt as if I let my baby down. 3 weeks went past and I took her in for a checkup and I asked the pediatrician was I too late? Could I do anything to try and start a breastfeeding relationship that I now just longed for with my baby? She says the most important weeks have passed but it is possible. Try and latch her and see what happens.

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My baby still wouldn’t have it. I broke down. This was so important to me why did I make that decision. I kept replaying that moment that they asked me breast or bottle? And thinking why? Why wouldn’t you have just tried? 3 more weeks passed and I was even more overwhelmed with the guilt. I reached out to a lactation consultant and she basically told me it wasn’t possible without getting this this and this and spending hundreds of dollars. Discouraged again. Then I found out my insurance would cover a pump. I was so happy. I ordered it and it came in two days later. After doing hours and hours and hours of research of stories blogs and any information I could find. I found out what I was trying to do was called relactating.

So from then I started pumping every 3 hours for 15 min. So discouraged at first because I was getting so little milk. Like 1 or 2 drops. I did this for 3 weeks and was only up to 2 ounces a day. Am I crazy?? This isn’t going to work I thought. It’s too late. But for some reason I just kept going. Then the time came for me to go back to work. I thought this is going to be tricky. So I just started pumping at work, no one needed to know I didn’t start from the beginning or what I was going through. A few days later I decided to call another lactation consultant and make an appointment to go in. At this point I just wanted to know was this worth my time? Am I going to be able to build a supply up? I met with her a few days later and she was so encouraging. After talking to her I knew I could keep going that I could do it. I had come this far I’m just going to keep going. I was taking Fenugreek and that seemed to be working was starting to see an increase and this only made me want to keep going.

Then I find out because of my medical condition hypothyroidism that I could no longer take this because it would counteract my medication. I was devastated because I felt like I was finally getting somewhere. A couple more weeks passed increasing but not like it was with the Fenugreek. I was feeling really discouraged again. Luckily every time I was feeling sad and discouraged I just text my awesome lactation consultant and she would build me back up. “Remember why you’re doing this,” she would say. So I kept going. She found a more milk supplement that didn’t contain Fenugreek. So I started taking that. It seemed to working too. I was not only focused on building my supply but I also wanted a nursing relationship with my baby. I bought a nipple shield. At first she absolutely hated it for days and weeks I tried getting her to latch with and without it. Finally one night just feeling pretty low about it, I tried again. She took it! I was so happy was this really happening?? So of course we were soooo happy that I had accomplished this with her.

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I went on to nurse her with it and pump at work. By this time I was pumping about 5 ounces at work and just pretty much nursing nonstop with the shield. I was so worried that she wasn’t getting enough because she just nursed with it constantly. Then I got the flu and my supply dropped and one night I couldn’t get her to nurse at all with a shield SNS or anything. I started to panic was it over? Everything I worked for all felt like it was coming down and I was so sad and disappointed. I was given a prescription for Domperidone to try and build my supply back up.  So in the next couple of days we did skin to skin and nursed through the night and she came back around. The Domperidone seemed to really be working I was pumping 8 ounces at work and I was so happy things were coming back together for us. Then one morning I tried to get her to latch without the shield as I did pretty much every feed. She latched! I felt like I had won this battle and maybe just maybe we were done with the shield and close to exclusive breastfeeding. Then she wouldn’t have anything to do with it all that day so I thought I just got excited for nothing. So determined still the next night I tried walking around with her and latching her and just when I was feeling discouraged again she latched and didn’t come off!

From that point on she has nursed only without the shield and gets so excited when it’s time to nurse. I had only tried one round of the Domperidone and then my supply seemed to go back to where it was before so I was slightly disappointed yet again that wasn’t me that was just the medicine building it for me. After dropping again I tried half of a prescription again. Same thing happened again. This time I tried looking up ways to increase it without that. I started adding in 5 and 10 min hand pump sessions throughout my work day for a week or so and eating oatmeal every day. This must have really worked because now as of today I am pumping 10-12 ounces just at work and solely nursing when I am not at work. Right now this is enough for my baby while she is at the sitter. She hasn’t had supplement formula in over a week.

I started this when my baby was 6 and a half weeks old and she is now 5 months old. She was nursing with the shield at 3 months and nursing without it by 4 months. I just wanted to share my story to show that it is possible just don’t give up and know there is resources and help out there. If it weren’t for my lactation consultant in this I don’t know how far I would have come. This being my second baby. I also have a 5-year-old daughter who sometimes I felt like I wasn’t paying enough attention too but she’s been so supportive of mommy. I tell her I’m doing what’s best for sissy.  It was an adjustment for all of us but now it’s just normal in our house!

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