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Anyone managed to relactate after stopping breastfeeding?

(27 Posts)
Lucinda15 Thu 20-Jul-17 18:56:36

I have two children; DS who is 5years and DD who is 6 weeks old. After a difficult start with DS I breastfed him for 10 months. I thought after the initial problems with him, I could get through anything, and never considered not breastfeeding DD when she came alone. Unfortunately I very reluctantly gave up breastfeeding her after 3 terrible and very upsetting weeks, battling with poor latch, cracked nipples, thrush and mastitis. I had midwives and breastfeeding counsellors round almost daily, paid to have her checked for tongue tie (by professionally trained specialist midwife), went to cranial osteopath etc etc. I really tried everything and was in constant agony and the upheaval to our family was intense. i felt I couldn't go on and sadly gave up.

However, since then I've struggled with my feelings and have been incredibly sad about the way things have gone. I've cried an awful lot and and feel so guilty. I feel like a failure and feel I have let DD down. She now seems to have a dairy allergy which has only made my feelings worse. DS had a dairy allergy too but we managed to avoid the impact of this as I was breastfeeding. But in comparison, DD is has been struggling with different formulas and been very uncomfortable and now prescribed nutramagin which is ghastly stuff. I just feel so awful about the whole thing and can barely look at her when I'm feeding her because I feel so bad.

I'm seriously considering trying to relactate and wonder if anyone has done this? I understand it will take some commitment and round the clock feeding/pumping to get the supply back but is it incredibly difficult? I had a very good supply when breastfeeding, and fed hourly to two hourly for DD's first 3 weeks. I still have a small dribble when I hand express.

I'm just wondering if it's a realistic option. DH will take some convincing as the breastfeeding went so badly before and really exhausted us all. But I feel so desperate about the way things have gone it would mean so much if I could help her and get this going again.

Any experiences or tips and advice much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
EveryoneTalkAboutPopMusic Thu 20-Jul-17 19:43:10

Luncinda I haven't got any experience. I've heard of women who have managed it but that was with the help of a local, and very supportive BFC.

Could you ring one of the Bfing Helplines and talk to a BFC about your feelings, the possibility of relactation and to see if there are any local BFCs?

@tiktok should be able to give you some information if she is around smile

Biscusting Thu 20-Jul-17 19:53:39

Have you tried just latching her on when she's awake but not hungry? If she latches on and you can still hand express a bit of milk, I'd say you've got a really good chance.

Back to basics with lots of skin to skin and weirdly bathing together helps.

It's going to be super demanding on your time, will you not feel back to square one again? Sounds like you gave it a really good shot before. Another option is working on your feelings about BFing. You have not let your baby down, quite the opposite!
Your dedication to help her just shows how good a mum you are and it is this that is the single most important thing that will shape your daughter, not what type of milk she had.

RelaxMax Thu 20-Jul-17 19:59:35

You still have some milk, so you're in with a good chance.

I'd say:

- boost your supply to help build it back up, so fenugreek capsules, nursing tea, lots of oats, and make sure you're well hydrated

- look into supplemental nursing systems, I think medela sell one. That will encourage her to suckle.

- get a good pump eg hire a hospital grade double pump

- go back to basics. Loads of skin to skin, as much as you possibly can.

It's hard but do-able!

Stardustandicecream Thu 20-Jul-17 20:10:58

You don't need to persuade your dh - it's between you and your baby

Put her to your boob at night as much as possible and pump at night as much as possible too.

I've not done but I'd like to believe it's possible.

Stardustandicecream Thu 20-Jul-17 20:11:42

And drink lots and lots of water

dramalamma Thu 20-Jul-17 20:22:41

After only a few weeks and also while your dd is so young it will be much easier than later and longer - is say do it asap though if you can. Jelly im has some good info on how to do it if you can't get to a lactation consultant. I think you won't get closure if you don't try. I know people who've done it later than you - it will take a schedule and commitment to it but you can do it if you want to.

Lucinda15 Thu 20-Jul-17 20:56:06

Thanku all for the messages and advice. I'm scared and unsure what to do. When we thought she might be showing signs of an allergy, it had only been one week since I had given up and I was still able to get about 1-3 oz out by breastpump. I tried to build up the supply but was poorly prepared, tried to pump 3 times a day but was often rushed and sometimes delayed. My nipples started to crack after only 48 hours of this and I gave up again. It just felt hopeless. I'm just wondering if I really put some effort into it, make sure I'm take all the supplements I can, pumping and breastfeeding at night, maybe I can do it. But I'm daunted by it. And do wonder if I will be back to square one again with the pain and misery. But I feel miserable at the moment about everything so i think perhaps I should just go for it. DH thinks I'm flogging a dead horse and need to speak to someone about trying to come to terms with it and move on. I think maybe he is right but I wonder if i could give this a shot.

OP’s posts: |
EveryoneTalkAboutPopMusic Thu 20-Jul-17 21:06:53

I really do think it would be beneficial to talk this through with a BFC. Do you have the numbers?

Lucinda15 Thu 20-Jul-17 21:32:43

Yes I think so, somewhere. I will call them. I just find it so hard to come to terms with this. I hate giving her this horrible smelling formula. But I don't know if I can manage the relactation. I have my son just on school holidays now, and DH isn't on board with it and it would cause huge friction between us. I will call the helplines and see what they say.

OP’s posts: |
FusionChefGeoff Thu 20-Jul-17 21:41:14

I think the hospital grade pump will be really key in this.

rainbowduck Fri 21-Jul-17 03:16:08

Cracked nipples, try lanolin. Good luck!!!

icclemunchy Fri 21-Jul-17 03:43:33

It's possible to relactate although can be hard work. The fact that you still seem to have some milk is a really good sign.

I'd recommend la leche, either pop along to a meeting of you have one near you or call the helpline (it's 24 hours and manned by trained bf councillors who have fed babies themselves) they'll support you in getting the nursing journey you want be that eventually ebf or mix feeding

peaceloveandbiscuits Fri 21-Jul-17 03:57:33

Yes, I restarted breastfeeding when DS1 was 3m. I had been expressing so still had some milk but he was mostly on formula as I was so fed up of expressing. I went and had positioning checked and then spent a week at home feeding around the clock and just letting DS latch whenever he wanted to. We carried on breastfeeding until he was 14m in the end.

Please don't feel a failure. You did what was right for you and DD at the time. If breastfeeding doesn't work out, she'll be absolutely fine on the special formula and will thrive regardless. Please go easy on yourself. DS2 is also 6 weeks and I know you're still on such an hormonal rollercoaster.

3luckystars Fri 21-Jul-17 03:58:06

I gave up too soon too and cried and cried and cried. My baby went on neocate too and I felt so guilty, every bottle, every day. I did try to start breastfeeding again and read up a bit about it, but at that stage I was scared of it.

My friend came to visit, she is a grandmother now but is very very passionate about breastfeeding and I thought she would help me when she saw how devastated I was.
She just said that it would be an uphill battle, I could probably manage it if I really wanted to but maybe I should just give the special formula and stop being so hard on myself. She told me to consider my other children and that if it was my first baby, I could sit in bed for a week trying to reastablish breastfeeding but I didn't have that luxury now so maybe I should just focus on being the best mother to all of the family.
She also said that my baby didn't mind what she was being fed and not to ruin another second of this precious time being upset over this.

I was dumbfounded because at that point, nothing else mattered to me.

I did leave it go after that and it took a while to make peace with it but I did.

I think that feeding at the beginning is a huge percentage of the care you are giving a baby, but as time moves on it is less and less. So my baby is 12 months now and her food takes up maybe 10% of my day, whereas when she was born it was 95%, as the time goes on and the baby got bigger then the upset went away, probably because the hormones subsided (omg the sweating!) but also because she was having other foods anyway.

I'm so sorry you are going through this, it was a hugely emotional experience and it felt like the end of the world at the time but my sister kept saying 'I know it feels like the end of the world, but the baby is doing well and you did your best and in few months this won't feel like such a big deal at all' and I was just shaking my head 'but you don't understand!!!' But actually she was right. I do feel ok about it now.

I have been no help to you at all about your original question but I just wanted to say that I was on the front seat of that rollercoaster last year and it's hard so I just wanted to wish you well and I hope you get good support whatever you decide.

Lucinda15 Fri 21-Jul-17 05:58:59

3luckustars thank you for your post! I could have written it myself. The feelings and emotions you have felt have echoed what I've been going through. And, what your friend told you is essentially what so many around me have said, from midwives to my DH to my very pro-breastfeeding mum. They all said I needed to make the best decision for my family as it was impacting us all so much and I didn't have the time or energy to invest in making breastfeeding work. And my sister has said the same too. That my baby will thrive and she will be fine. And all the while, like you, I have been blubbing and shaking my head and not believing them and feeling so guilty and sad every time I feed my baby a bottle. I really appreciate hearing your experience, it has reassured me that I'm not alone in feeling like this and that you got over it eventually. Thank you.

I really appreciate all the advice, thank you everyone. I will put some more thought into it and discuss options within DH. I really want to try but I'm not sure I can put us all through it.

OP’s posts: |
knaffedoff Fri 21-Jul-17 06:38:36

Yes it can be done but as others have said, it will take alot of time and effort. Furthermore, if your child is dairy intolerant, you will need to adjust your own diet to reflect this as your own milk may affect baby's growth.

I did bf my dairy intolerant child, before we realised and I look at the pictures of him and wonder how no one noticed as he just always looked poorly / washed out and was not a happy baby. He did love his nutramigen, despite how it made me feel (yuk)

Erratica Fri 21-Jul-17 07:09:59

I second the above. Stopped feeding my youngest v quickly fir a variety of reasons. Regretted it and after 2-3 weeks looked at relactation. But by then he was distressed at attempts to BF. I had the others to care for so I just didn't have the time . I'm not going to lie I don't think I've fully got over this and he's at school. But it's my issue. He's fit and healthy and we've an incredible bond nonetheless.

pombal Fri 21-Jul-17 07:30:32

I did this with my second who was tongue tied at 6 weeks.

I followed the advice on Jack Newman's site, bought a relactation aid and went from there.

It's so hard. You can barely leave the house because you can't use the relactation device in public.

I didn't express with a pump just by hand because it was easy, quick, no washing up etc.
I didn't save what I expressed but the hand expressing meant I could do it often And that's the key to it.

You can give it a go BUT it's not do or die, if it's too much or you can't restart your supply - stop before you go mad and be happy you gave it your best shot.

My kids are older now and I never think about how I fed them when they were babies anymore.

Good luck OP

ChilliMum Fri 21-Jul-17 07:31:00

I did smile and it was easy but that was down to ds not me. However I didnt focus on relactating. I had given up as I was v ill (8 weeks) and then changed my mind once I felt better (10 -11 weeks ish) so I really just wanted to bf for the experience (dc was doing fine on formula).

I started by introducing 1 bf a day after lunch when I had time to just sit and relax. Dc had a bottle around 10 so I knew he would be hungry but not starving. He latched and fed so all OK (although was hungry soon after).

I started on the Monday and on the Saturday when I was eating my lunch dh made a bottle and tried to feed ds, he wouldn't take it , kept turning his head away and I realised he knew it was time for his bf!

Tbh that gave me the incentive and I started expanding the time so after lunch, then all afternoon, then through to evening, then first feed in the morning.

I never achieved exclusive breastfeeding but I dropped the last bottle when I started to wean at 6 months and we carried on bf till he was 2.5.

All that said, i know other people (through a breast feeding group) who worked really hard and had no luck and it was devastating. I think its mainly luck. If you really want to have a go just try but don't make too big a deal of it. At least you will know what ever happens you tried and then you can put it to bed once and for all. As long as you are enjoying your baby and you are both happy nothing else really matters.

Good luck with everything.

3luckystars Fri 21-Jul-17 17:43:34

Oh and also my very pro breastfeeding friend who advised me (that I mentioned above) gently suggested that i put the baby on anyway whenever I felt like it, after a feed or whenever, and look down and enjoy every precious second, even if she was only getting a few drops and even if it was for a short few days more, then I could slowly let it all naturally come to an end when I felt it was the right time. I had been so caught up and panicked that time was running out and trying to pump and increase my milk and get back to giving the baby 100% breastmilk again that I was stressed out of my head and couldn't see that this would be a lovely thing to do today, not thinking about supply or demand or anything, just doing what I wanted to do in that moment. And she also said to do exactly the same when bottle feeding, to look at her and her lovely mouth and her little eyelashes and treasure every minute.

When she said this it kind of took the heat out of it and that helped me too. Good luck x x

Lucinda15 Fri 21-Jul-17 18:01:40

Thanks everyone.

I called la leche league and had a good cry and chat to them. Oddly enough we discussed sort of what your friend suggested 3luckystars, the things about breastfeeding that I miss and that I can still do, such as skin to skin and bathing together and putting baby to breast if i wanted to and not thinking it has to be all or nothing. It really helped me relax and calm down and let go of some the grief.

And, consequently, chillimum I've like hearing about your experience, I had hoped this would be possible for us.

So this arvo I did just that, skin to skin, let baby have a feed and all went well and I was so happy. It didn't hurt at all, but when she came off my nipple was sore and cracked and bleeding again, after 3 weeks rest! And the other nipple started aching and looked blanched again, just like when we were breastfeeding and struggling. So it has taken one feed to get right back to square one. The problems haven't gone, and I feel I'm up against a brick wall. I have asked my HV to refer me to a breastfeeding counsellor/laceration consultant but I'm not sure what's available or how experienced they are. The nearest la leche league groups is quite a distance. I just feel so up against it. I'd love to try and get back to one or two feeds a day but my nipples seem so against breastfeeding!! I can't get it right. And everyone says my latchbis good but I instantly get these problems and pain. It's beyond frustrating and upsetting.

Meanwhile, my poor DD seems to be having real trouble adjusting to the dairy free formula. She seems worse on this than she did with the normal formula!! I want to stop it and go back to normal formula, but DH says we need to give it more than one day. It's unbearable seeing her struggle so much and wanting to breastfeed. I honestly don't think my boobs are capable of it this time. For some reason my nipples just keep cracking and bleeding and causing me so much pain.

I'm at a loss 😓

OP’s posts: |
BertieBotts Fri 21-Jul-17 18:12:48

If the latch is giving you pain and injury then it's not a good latch, even if it looks right. That doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong, it's just the way it happens sometimes.

I'm so sorry this is so difficult sad What about trying laid back breastfeeding/biological nurturing?

Lucinda15 Fri 21-Jul-17 18:15:20

Thanks bertiebots yes I tried that before with one of the breastfeeding counsellors. It's didn't go terribly well. Honestly, I think I've tried everything and it's always the same, difficult and painful latch. I feel exasperated with it.

OP’s posts: |
3luckystars Fri 21-Jul-17 18:46:13

You have to give the new formula at least a week, actually it's about 3 weeks before it's fully changed over, so deffo don't change again.

If you fancy giving me your address, I have multi Mam compresses still in fridge and I would love to send them on to you, they are still in date until 2019 and might really help? Just pm me if you want and I will post them to you and delete your address then.

You are doing so well, talk to everyone you can. You will figure it out and you will be ok. Your husband just probably wants you to be happy again so you might be surprised at his reaction. You and your baby will figure it out together x x

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