Latina mother relactating

How To Start the Relactation Process

In my latest blogpost, I shared what relactation is and how you can become successful if you decide to relactate. I figured I would share what I did when I first started the relactation process. If you do want to start the process, below are four tips, in no particular order, that I used when I initiated the relactation process.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click through and make a purchase, I’ll be compensated at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I love and used!

Know that this is an informational blog, written and edited by me, based on my personal breastfeeding experience. This blog post is not a substitute for medical or professional advice. For health concerns, please contact your medical provider.

Tips to Start the Relactation Process

1. Start Out by Hand Expressing

The easiest way to start the relactation process is by hand expressing. When you hand express, you stimulate the breasts and you are signaling your body to produce milk. This video teaches you how to hand express effectively.

During the first couple of days of your relactation journey, you may or may not see much milk coming out. For me, I started noticing a couple drops after about three days and would use this breastmilk collector. Again, any little bit helps so collect as much as you can to give to bebé!

The best way to hand express is by doing it 8 times per day for no more than 10-15 minutes per session. This means that you’ll want to hand express about 5-7 minutes on each breast to ensure you are stimulating both breasts.

2. Pump to Regulate Milk Flow

Once you see a bit of results from hand expressing, you can start pumping using a manual pump or an electric pump. Pumping will essentially be cleaner and quicker once your volume increases.

As you are thinking about pumping, you’ll want to make sure that you measure your nipples so that you use the correct flange size. Because my nipples are small, I had to buy separate flanges and inserts for the manufactured flanges that were suitable to my size. 

If you don’t know what your nipple size is, I highly recommend getting measured by a lactation consultant or you can buy this ruler to measure the diameter of your nipples so that you know what your flange size is.

Once again, the goal is to express 8 times a day for no more than 15 minutes total per session. It is also recommended that you express milk once during the middle of the night as the prolactin hormone is at its highest around that time.

3. Put Bebé Back to The Breast

One of the most effective ways to start the relactation process is by putting bebé on the breast. Depending on the age of the child, you may or may not have issues with it. 

For me, D was 10 weeks old when I started the relactation process. I was lucky that he went back to the breast immediately without me having to go through any issues. A good way to offer the breast is by doing skin-to-skin in a dark and quiet room. That way, there is comfort and no distractions for your bebé.

You may or may not establish a milk supply to feed bebé and that is okay. The goal is to put bebé back to the breast so that they can stimulate your breasts as you are establishing a milk supply. This video shows how to put bebé on the breast.

4. Use a Supplemental Nursing System

Another good way to initiate the relactation process is by supplementing formula and/or expressed breastmilk directly from your breast. In order to do this, you’ll want to get a supplemental nursing system or SNS.

The way it works is that you have a reservoir of formula or breastmilk that is connected to a very thin, flexible feeding tube. The tube is taped around on your breast and aligned with your nipple. You then place bebé’s mouth on your nipple so that they can latch on your breast all while supplementing from the milk in the reservoir.

Please note, you may want to use the SNS once bebé is willing to go back to the breast. You don’t want to use the SNS without knowing if bebé would want to. You don’t want to make this a negative experience for you or bebé because it will ultimately lead to frustration.

To learn more about how an SNS works, check out this video.

Below are my favorite SNS’s that I used:

A Couple Reminders…

One thing I want to preface is that this was my experience and my experience only. No one should compare with each other’s experiences.

Remember, this is a gradual process. You are not going to see results overnight. The goal is to get your body to train and teach itself to produce milk.

As always, ensure that you seek a professional, such as an IBCLC, so that they are able to provide you with a personalized plan and to help you set realistic goals.

Similar Posts