Is it Too late to Breastfeed?
Often, the hospital provides such a chaotic environment that when mixed with the flood of human emotion after childbirth, mothers become confused and anxious. But is it too late to breastfeed?
Many, may decide that they cannot handle breastfeeding or face some challenges with lactation at the time that make them decide against it. Then, when the storm settles and you are home with baby, you might find yourself regretting your decision. This may have you wondering if it is too late to try and breastfeed.
Relactating yourself is the process of re-stimulating your milk supply after you have had a baby. As you know, your milk falls within a few days of delivery. If you aren’t breastfeeding, it can be largely reduced by your baby’s one month birthday.
However, if you want to try and breastfeed – you still can. Relactating is not for the faint of heart, it takes hard work and dedication – but it is possible. The first important thing you need to be successful is desire.
The next step is to begin bringing your baby to the breast. You might want to start by getting a nursing kit, that will allow your baby to take the breast while being given formula from a small hidden tube that you wear. This way, your baby will taste the milk and be eager to try and nurse.
Once your baby latches on well, relactating is easier. You also have to be committed to nursing often. When you cant nurse, you should use a breast pump to try and build up your milk supply. Milk supply is determined based on supply and demand. Since your baby will demand a lot, nursing or pumping every 2-3 hours is optimal.
And yes, even at night. In the beginning, your job is to simulate you baby’s thirst so that you will be able to produce enough milk to satisfy your baby’s nutritional needs.
When your milk start coming in, provided your baby latches on properly – you will be able to resume or restart the natural nursing process. Because hormones are involved in the process, don’t be worried if you feel cramps or have surges of emotion that are similar to how you felt when you got pregnant. You may even cease having periods.
Relactating isn’t easy. But it is definitely a possibility. Experts agree that it is most successful within a month of your child’s birth. That being said, there are plenty of women who have been able to relactate themselves months and months after giving birth.
The trick is being patient with yourself. Stimulating your nipples, feeding often and helping your baby to transition back to the breast can be a bit of a struggle at first. Your baby may seem edgy or frustrated in the beginning, but will adapt well as long as you remain calm and persistent.
There is no doubt about the fact that breastfeeding is a healthy option for your baby. And luckily, you do have a second chance if you choose to take it. At the same time, you should be able to feel confident and comfortable with any and all the choices that you make for your child. If breastfeeding is not for you, then don’t feel like a bad mom and instead embrace these precious first moments.