At SOS Parent, we accompany moms and dads on the path to a positive and caring education. As we know that being a parent is not easy, we try to answer your questions in a serious but positive way. Sometimes, during breastfeeding, the mother produces less milk. Don’t panic! It is possible to increase your lactation with a breast pump. SOS Parent, the parenting expert, explains how to do this and gives you its best advice on how to do it.
What is lactation?
In order to understand how to boost your lactation, let’s start from the basics and see what lactation is and how this process is put in place.
During delivery and the expulsion of the placenta, progesterone levels drop, triggering the famous “milk rush”. The milk is stored in the breast cells until the baby feeds. During the first weeks of life, milk is produced under the action of 2 hormones: prolactin and oxytocin. Then, milk production will depend on baby’s sucking movement.
It is therefore baby who, by sucking, will allow the milk to flow. If the milk is not extracted by the suckling or the breast pump, it will dry up little by little.
Why can my breast milk decrease?
As we have just seen, the first reason is the decrease in the number of feeds. Since it is baby who is at the origin of milk production, if baby does not take milk anymore, the breast stops producing milk naturally.
But there are other reasons, parallel to this one, for the decrease in milk:
- Difficult breastfeeding with minimal weight gain or even weight loss for baby that discourages mom
- A long separation between mother and baby
- Extreme fatigue on the part of the mother and a guilt-ridden environment
- Bad advice or ill-informed health professionals on breastfeeding
- Early weaning of the baby for medical reasons
What if relactation was the solution?
Contrary to popular belief, it is perfectly possible to resume breastfeeding even after a few weeks or months of cessation. To do this, you must ensure that your baby is cooperating.
Two cases are possible:
l Either baby accepts your breast again and relactation will be simple. Indeed, the production of milk must compensate for baby’s needs. If baby asks for a feed, the breast will produce milk again.
l Either baby does not accept or has difficulty in taking the breast, in which case the breast pump provides a natural and effective solution. The breast pump will reproduce the baby’s sucking action and therefore the breast will give milk again.
How do I use my breast pump to restart lactation?
To stimulate milk production again, you can use the breast pump after each feeding. At first, you may only get a small amount of milk. Don’t worry. Your body will register the information and produce more milk at the next session. SOS Parent recommends that you use a manual or electric breast pump for about 20 minutes per breast to stimulate lactation.
If you need help in this process, turn to a midwife who is competent in this field and who will direct you to the method that is best adapted to your needs and lifestyle.
Of course, for quality milk, take care of yourself with a balanced diet and good hydration. Special breastfeeding teas can help you
How long does it take to relactate effectively and breastfeed exclusively?
The time needed for relactation will depend on the weaning time. The longer the weaning period, the more patience you will need. Your determination and the encouragement and support of those around you will be very important to accompany you during the process.
However, rest assured that you will succeed. You should know that even a woman who has never had a child can produce milk to feed a baby if necessary. If she can do it, so can you, because you are a great mom!
Trust your body to feed your little one.