Sometimes, breastfeeding can be a bumpy road, and a woman may stop breastfeeding for various reasons before she's really ready to. The good news is that breastfeeding can often be reinitiated, though it may come with some hard work.
Relactating is the process of re-establishing either a full or partial milk supply after a mama has stopped breastfeeding / pumping . Maybe there were medical reasons, or breastfeeding was just not working out for whatever reason. Right now, at time of writing, we're getting more enquiries about relactating than ever before, as mamas worry that access to formula may be impacted by the covid related supply issues and shortages.
Whatever your reason for relactating, your basic protocol is going to consist of some combination of medication to support lactation, frequent pumping to stimulate milk production, and if possible, latching baby to the breast.
We spoke to mama Kim recently, who is using our SuperGenie hospital grade breast pump to relactate and provide milk for her 9 month old bubba. Kim shared with us that she had given up breastfeeding in the first weeks after birth, after being instructed by her pediatrician to mix feed with formula from the very start. Kim was manually pumping and wasn't able to keep up with her baby's milk needs, and well-meaning relatives kept letting her know that her baby was hungry and that she should really just 'give a bottle' of formula. Losing confidence in her milk supply, she gave up breastfeeding altogether and started formula feeding.
As time went by, Kim really regretted her decision and decided to try breastfeeding again. By now, baby had kinda lost the knack of latching on and was more interested in chomping on the breast than breastfeeding! Ouch! Kim decided that pumping with SuperGenie would be the way to build back her milk supply.
Kim pumped 8 - 12 x a day with SuperGenie to really stimulate her breasts, and shared her pump program:
- 30 sec - level 2, cycle 104
- 30 sec - level 3, cycle 104
- 30 sec - level 4, cycle 104
- 1:30 - level 5, cycle 104
- 3:00 - level 9, cycle 58
SWITCH BACK TO LETDOWN MODE:
- 1:00 - level 4, cycle 100
---2 MIN PAUSE TO HAND EXPRESS---
- 2:00 - level 5, Cycle 104
- 30 sec - level 5, Cycle 52
- 15 sec - level 7, Cycle 52
- 15 sec - level 9, Cycle 52
- 2:00 - level 12, Cycle 52
- 1:00 - level 4, Cycle 104
---2 MIN PAUSE TO HAND EXPRESS---
- 2:00 - level 4, Cycle 104
- 15 sec - level 9, Cycle 40
- 15 sec - level 11, Cycle 40
- 1:30 - level 12, Cycle 40
- 30 sec - level 4, Cycle 80
- 30 sec - level 3, Cycle 72
---FINISH OFF WITH HAND EXPRESSION---
Total of 22 mins for the routine. I just observed how my baby suckled and tried to pattern the pump settings to it. :) I noticed I drained faster, and more efficiently, and saw an increase in my supply. From getting a maximum of 5 drops everytime I hand express (every 3 hours), I now get sprays, and drops even if my pumping interval is just for 1-2 hours. :) I already saved this program because there's a lot of vacuum level and cycle changes. 😅 I hope this helps!
If you're a mama on a journey to relactate, try Kim's program and see how you go! There are some great resources that Kim recommends as well:
If you'd like to go ahead and try Kim's Relactation Program, you can import it straight into your SuperGenie app:
- Click the button below on your smartphone to copy the program link to your clipboard
- Open up SuperGenie app and go to the Programs screen, click 'Add new program'
- Choose 'Import program' and then paste in the program link. Click 'Import' & you're done!
Let us know how you go!