Relactation is the process of bringing back a milk supply for a person who has produced breastmilk recently. Typically this is someone who has had a baby, brought in a full milk supply, and then weaned their milk supply down to basically nothing. Relactation is achieved with various levels of success based on factors including how much milk the lactation person produced before lactation ended and how much time has elapsed.
The basic process for making milk is still the same as it was the first time around. Milk production is dependent on how often the breast is emptied and how completely that is happening. Around the clock breast stimulation will be necessary to restart a milk supply. Typically this involves breastfeeding if applicable, followed by pumping for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours, day and night. A hospital grade pump is recommended, as it will provide the best stimulation. Some lactating people find that herbal or prescription medication is helpful for increasing milk production. Please consult with your healthcare provider (HCP) before starting any new medication.
Induced lactation is the process of bringing in a milk supply without a pregnancy. This can be an option for families who are adopting or using a gestational carrier. Since pregnancy is what signals production of breastmilk, the process of induced lactation “tricks” the body into thinking it is getting those same cues. The protocol may include taking hormones to help mimic the hormone levels of pregnancy. It will include using a hospital grade breast pump to provide stimulation to tell your breasts to start producing milk
Each lactating person is unique and results vary. Some families go through relactation or induced lactation and are able to bring in a full milk supply. It is also possible that some lactating people will produce a smaller amount of breastmilk and supplementary milk will be needed.
Note: Any person (male or female) with nipples may choose to attempt induced lactation. If you are considering trying this, we are here to help.
• Hospital-grade breast pump
• Pharmaceutical and/or herbal galactagogues, a substance that can increase a mother’s supply of breast milk.
Steps will be outlined in the protocol that each person follows.
It is important to work with a qualified lactation professional and your HCP while relactating or inducing lactation as each protocol must be discussed and medications may be needed.