Relactating- Am I a mentalist?(17 Posts)
Little bit of our history:
I am a first timer and my son was born 13 weeks ago- it was quite a traumatic birth followed by some pretty shit breastfeeding support. I have whopping 34H boobs and kinda flat nipples, and the wee man has tongue tie (which I don't feel comfortable with dividing) so I rented a Medela Symphony and pumped til 8 weeks- I was also giving him some formula feeds along side the EBM. I switched over to 100% formula at 8 weeks as I was getting stressed out trying to find times to pump during the day when my husband was at work.
Now, I have had a rest and got DS into a really good, predictable routine, I am massive regrets about switching to formula. Curiosity (and a glass of wine) on Friday night led me to have a half-hearted go at my boobs with a manual pump. I got a few little drops and since then have started feeling 'stirrings' in my nips and have been leaking. I discussed it with DH yesterday and said I wanted to have another go at expressing, and hopefully manage to coax baby onto the breast (probably using nipple shields).
I suppose what I want to know is whether I'm on a hiding to nothing and should not put myself through the hassle/left it too long OR is it worth giving it a go? Any success stories?
No experience of re lactating but I also have a 13 week old baby and stopped breastfeeding at 8 weeks. A few days ago he had a gunky eye and I could still squeeze a teaspoonful easily to drip in it. It looked very watery though and was salty to the taste (sorry to anyone who thinks tasting your own breast milk is gross). I think I have read before that starting again is possible within 6 weeks with some work, but presumably this isn't an exact length of time. I always had a lot of milk (oversupply I suspect) and it was quite difficult to stop (very full breasts when dropping feeds) and my suspicion is that with dedicated expressing and putting my son to the breast I could probably re lactate to some extent again. However I suspect he may have lost the skill. If I hold him horizontally he no longer looks for my breast.
You could just try pumping again and see how you get on. I think you would be wise to seek some advice from a lactation consultant though.
PS - any tips on how to get my own 13 week old into a predictable routine would be most welcome! I am jealous of that part of your post
CorBlimeyTrousers I hope your little boy's eye is better now!
Re DS's routine...I just realised a few weeks ago that he actually needed to be put down for regular naps rather than me looking at him, fussing in his bouncing chair and trying to will him to sleep. Now he has a fairly regular 2 hours awake-two hours asleep daytime pattern. He's a good little chap!
I read your post and my instinct was to say that you have misplaced guilt about switching to formula - your reasons were valid. I think the idea of trying breast again is to assuage that guilt - rather than accept that you made the best decision possible at the time for you and your baby and family.
That said I also believe that you should do what you want and if you feel really strongly about it and that it would make you feel better then go ahead - but I don't understand why you wouldn't want to do something about the tongue tie - why not try and make it easier for the little guy as it will be hard work for both you and him surely?
I agree with nuttybananas that you shouldn't feel guilty. I felt a great deal of guilt when I stopped (trying to) breastfeed DS1 but I seem to have accepted it more easily with DS2, perhaps because I managed longer this time, or perhaps because I know that in the end it's not the most important thing about being a good mum.
We did have DS2's tongue tie snipped when he was 2 weeks old. Yes he cried but not for long. It really wasn't that bad. Didn't seem to make a whole lot of difference to breastfeeding though.
I don't so much feel guilty as feel I could handle it better now, if you see what I mean? I didn't want to get his tongue tie snipped because it just didn't sit well with me-I'm not sure exactly why though!
I've ordered a dual electric pump so will give it a try- if it doesn't happen, I can put the pump away for the next baby.
Good luck! I think it's brilliant you are going to try it. I use an electric pump for a once daily daddy bottle feed (and a mummy wants a glass of wine, so can't feed!) and love it!
You'll still have milk (and capacity to icrease) but it is a draining thing to do.
I would as a minimum suggest herbal supplements. Depending how serious you are - Google 'supplementary feeders' for a tactic to get him to practice nipple feeding without frustration,
I had my sons tongue tie snipped at 3 weeks, it made a massive difference to his feeding.
I would reconsider getting the procedure done, or at least get more information about it. When they are young it is very quick to do and to heal. Aswell as early feeding issues, tongue tie can affect weaning and eating later on, along with affecting speech if there is not a full range of tongue movement.
With regards to relactation, it is possible but not necessarily easy at this stage, you will have to continue to supplement while you build supply. Perhaps getting a prescription for domperidone to increase supply will be helpful if your GP will do it.
A little update
I have managed to do it! DS get two 4oz bottles of expressed milk a day as I was pumping about an ounce each session but, as of last night I've been getting 1oz per boob each double pumping session of 25 mins. My goal was a bottle of EBM by Christmas but I'm now able to give him 3 bottles of EBM a day. 3 down, 4 to go!
Hard work to get started but I'm beginning to reap rewards!
Well done! How often are you having to express?
Every 2-3 hours in the day, and once in the night. About 8 times a day for around 20-25 mins a time.
Well done! I saw this thread originally and wondered how you got on. I got to this stage a few weeks ago and once I had a decent amount of milk in my boobs it took about 2 weeks to persuade my dd to give the boobs a go again. Sadly I had to stop, but I just wanted you to know that you can get them back to the breast. I did it without nipple shields and everything. I think the 'nipple sandwich' technique is what did it for me, and just offering boob all the time. Oh and I kept trying to trick her by switching bottles for boobs mid feed. Once she'd got on and realised there was milk to be had - that was it!
Have you heard about Power Pumping? It's an interesting technique for boosting supply when pumping. Essentially, you leave the pump out somewhere you go by often, and pump for a few minutes each time you go by it. You only need to sterilise the pump (and store any milk) every six hours, so this doesn't have to be a lot of work.
If you're interested in feeding directly, and you're not keen on getting his tongue tie revised, then nipple shields might be an option? (They can be good for babies with tongue ties, and also for mums with flat or flattish nipples.)
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