Relactation – Tips to Start Breastfeeding After Stopping

6 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari


Do you want to start breastfeeding again but encounter a problem? The good news is, now it is possible to go back to lactating days. Relactation is the best idea for women who start breastfeeding but face continuing trouble.

Women who have stopped breastfeeding may want to start again but worry if this may be a possibility. The good news is that, yes, you can start breastfeeding even though you had to take a break. pregnancy pillow

In This Article

What is Relactation?

Relactation refers to rebuilding breast milk after a particular period gap for the baby. Sometimes, a woman may stop breastfeeding after a few weeks or months. But now women can go back to lactation days. It’s a two-part process that involves getting your babies back to breastfeeding and bringing back breast milk supply. In simple terms, it refers to the re-establishment of breastfeeding and a relationship between baby and mother.

Who Should Consider Relactation?

why to Consider Relactation

Relactation is suitable for women willing to start breastfeeding again after a pause. There are so many reasons why a woman stops breastfeeding, such as the inability of her tiny one to suck, lack of milk supply, etc. no matter what the reason is, you can still breastfeed without any worries.

However, relactation is recommended for the following women.

  1. Breastfeeding has been stopped earlier.
  2. You are following formula feeding after successfully weaning away, but your baby faces intolerance to formula feeding.
  3. You may be separated from your tiny baby for some reason, and your baby is not well. In that case, breast milk is considered the best medicine to recover faster from illness.
  4. If you’ve adopted a newborn baby, it is best to nurse your baby. The strategy is known as induced lactation. It is helpful for those women who never get pregnant but want to breastfeed their babies.

[Read : Lactose Intolerance In Babies]

Five Main Reasons Why Mothers Wish to Relactate

Reasons Why Mothers Wish to Relactate

A mother usually wishes to relactate because of the following reasons.

1. You Want to Nourish Young One

Women may be separated from their tiny ones due to illness and unable to continue breastfeeding. Once a woman recovers from the illness, they can start to feed their babies.

2. Formula Intolerance or Formula Shortage

Some babies may have an intolerance to formula feeding. In that case, women can continue breastfeeding by following the relactation method. In addition, during formula shortage the cost of formula can get even more expensive. This is why some mothers want to relactate.

3. Want to Pass Antibodies

Breast milk is rich in antibodies and helps to build passive immunity in children to fight against infection. This may be the possible reason a woman starts relactation to supply antibodies to their child. In addition, this technique is also helpful to foster a strong relationship between the baby and mother.

4. Women Who Have Adopted a Newborn Baby

In several cases, women can wish to relactate in order to be able to feed the adopted baby to whom they didn’t give birth. Just because you have adopted an infant, that doesn’t mean you cannot breastfeed. Talk to your doctor about relactation to be able to feed your new family member.

5. Surrogacy

Surrogacy is a classic example of a case where a mother may want to lactate without giving birth. Her eggs may be used to create the baby but she may not have borne her baby through the nine months. It is obvious that she wants to still be able to breastfeed. She can use the technique of relactation.

How Long Does it Take to Relactate?

There is no tentative time to relactate. Some women respond quickly whereas some women take longer than usual. However, some experts say it may take one to two months to relactate. Also, the time of relactation depends on how long a woman refrained from breastfeeding.

Top 5 Tips to Make Relactation Easier

mom expressing milk

Be sure to consult a certified doctor who can provide the right guidance and prescribe treatment for relactation. However, here are some tips that help make the process of relactation easier.

1. Start Using Breast Pump

If your baby is refusing to breastfeed after you have stopped, start using a breast pump. It helps to stimulate the breast milk supply. Ensure to use a breast pump after every few hours on both sides. Pumping can help to increase supply and is also helpful in draining milk completely from the breast.

[Read : Pumping And Expressing Breast Milk]

2. Effective Feeding

Effective feeding is also helpful in inducing relactation. But make sure to have skin-to-skin touch with the baby. Also, try to put your breast deeper in your baby’s mouth so they can suck adequately. You may feel a little pain while latching your baby or you may experience little pain in the breast if your baby isn’t sucking milk properly.

3. Try Breast Compression Frequently

Breast compression is also helpful in inducing relactation. However, ensure to compress your breast when your baby is done feeding or falling asleep. Compression can work as a pump to empty the breast, and regular compression can induce lactation in women.

4. Supplemental Nursing System

You can also consider SNS to induce relactation. This allows your babies to receive adequate formula enhancement at the beast while milk production has been stimulated by this method. Also, feeding methods such as SNS, spoon, and cup can increase the chances of relactation. This method is helpful for women with slow milk flow who want to get back to breastfeeding.

[Read : Cup Feeding a Baby]

5. Opt For a Galactagogue

You can also try galactagogue (a supplement) that helps induce hormones to improve the milk supply. But the supplement doesn’t work alone without breast stimulation and skin-to-skin contact with babies. Also, consult with doctors before using such supplements.

When Should You Consider Stopping Relactation?

Relactation is tedious work, and it may come with various challenges. It requires women’s physical and mental well-being because the success of the relactation will depend on both factors. However, if a month has already passed while trying everything to achieve lactation with no positive result, it may be a sign you need to stop trying. In addition, you can also stop pressuring yourself for relactation if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the procedures and steps involved.

Babies generally rely on breastfeeding to get their nourishment and proper growth. However, some women have to discontinue breastfeeding due to illness, lack of supply, and other reasons. But if a woman wants to continue to breastfeed, they can follow relactation. In addition to the above practices, keep yourself hydrated and pump regularly. Also, timely consult with doctors to take proper guidance about relactation. You should stop practicing if you haven’t seen any changes or results within one month.


1. What is the Success Rate of Relactation?

The success rate will depend on various factors, including the time of stopping breastfeeding and also physical well-being. However, the relactation success rate is around 75-80% in women with complete relactation and partial relactation.

2. When You Relactate, Do You Get Colostrum?

Colostrum may or may not appear during relactation.

3. Can I Relactate After Milk Dries Up?

Yes, women can relactate even after milk dries up. Relactation means that you start producing milk again once you have stopped nursing your baby. And its milk supply can be regained with a relactation procedure.

4. How Much Milk Will I be Able to Produce?

A woman can produce 2 oz to 4 oz of milk during each session. However, the amount may be stretched overnight when you don’t breastfeed your baby for long.

5. Can Relactation be Painful?

Relactation is not as easy as it seems to be. Some women may experience pain, while some don’t feel pain. You may experience a little pain in the breast while breast pumping or compression.

Read Also: 10 Best Foods To Increase Breast Milk

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

Responses (0)

Please check a captcha

Want curated content sharply tailored for your exact stage of parenting?

Discover great local businesses around you for your kids.

Get regular updates, great recommendations and other right stuff at the right time.


Our site uses cookies to make your experience on this site even better. We hope you think that is sweet.