Summer Uses of Breast Milk

Breast milk is one of the purest substances on earth. Thanks to its vast nutrients, breast milk has powerful healing properties that make it an incredible summertime solution for minor ailments. We’re exploring the phenomenal summer uses of breast milk to help your baby, and entire family for that matter, heal the ouchies faster than ever before.

Insect Bites & Stings: The bugs are out big time during the summer months. If your little one gets bitten or stung, rub some breast milk on the sore area to reduce itchiness and swelling.

Summer Uses of Breast MilkSunburns: A squirmy baby may cause you to miss a spot or two with sunscreen leaving an uncomfortable sunburn. Gently massage cold breast milk over the area several times daily to alleviate the burning sensation and accelerate the healing process.

Cuts & Scrapes: When your family spends more time outdoors, cuts and scraps are bound to happen. Dabbing nutrient-rich breast milk onto wounds can help them heal faster because it has powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties.

Diaper Rash: Diaper rashes can certainly happen year round but they are quite common in the summer when your baby sits in sand or is exposed to chlorine and other pool chemicals. Breast milk is the best all-natural solution for soothing and clearing up diaper rash.

Ear Infections: Summer excursions and travel may cause your baby to get sick. After periods of congestion, ear infections are very common among infants. Also, pool and ocean water that gets into the ear can breed bacteria that cause ear infections. Place a few drops of breast milk in your baby’s ear canal and let it work its magic to help relieve the pain from fluid-build up.

Soap: Keep your baby’s skin and hands clean with all-natural breast milk soap. Using breast milk and just a few other ingredients like essential oils, you can create your own fragrant baby soap to moisturize and nourish your baby’s skin.

Smoothies: Breast milk is wonderful for hydrating and cooling off your baby with extraordinary nutrients. Blend fruits and veggies with your breast milk for a delicious refreshing summertime smoothie.

Ice Pops: While others are enjoying less nutritious summertime snacks your baby can cool off with a breast milk ice pop. Flavored with fruit or served in “original” flavor, your baby will learn to love popsicles from an early age.

What are your favorite summer uses of breast milk?

Sources: Mom365, Code Name Mama, and Scary Mommy

Loving Moments Champions Breastfeeding Moms Through Nursing Bra Donation During World Breastfeeding Week

 

CLEVELAND, OH (July 11, 2017) – In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, premier intimate apparel brand, Loving Moments by Leading Lady, announces it will donate $350,000 worth of Leading Lady and Loving Moments nursing bras, alongside related nursing products, to be distributed among more than 375 breastfeeding support groups nationwide.

Available at Walmart and Walmart.com, Loving Moments by Leading Lady is a line of truly affordable maternity and nursing apparel for all occasions – supporting women at every stage of motherhood.

“Breastfeeding is a life-saving and life-changing experience for mothers and babies, especially in areas with high infant mortality rates,” said Mark Corrado, third generation owner of Loving Moments by Leading Lady. “Every mom deserves the chance to breastfeed and give her baby the healthiest start in life. Our annual nursing bra donation provides the necessary resources to breastfeeding groups to help mothers successfully breastfeed.”

The nursing bra donation will be distributed to breastfeeding support organizations nationwide including local chapters of WIC (the USDA’s Women, Infant and Children program), La Leche League, ROSE (Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere), BMBFA (Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association), Best for Babes, hospitals and other community groups, and is expected to reach approximately 21,000 moms.

Celebrated annually from August 1st-7th, World Breastfeeding Week encourages breastfeeding and the improvement of children’s health around the globe. In support of this mission, the donation solidifies Loving Moments by Leading Lady’s commitment to mothers who work hard every day to nourish their babies and contribute to a sustainable world.

Through providing supportive and accessible nursing products, breastfeeding education and advocacy, and reaching mothers at a grassroots level to encourage and applaud their breastfeeding journeys, Loving Moments by Leading Lady fosters respect and caring within the breastfeeding community.

 

About Loving Moments:
Loving Moments by Leading Lady’s maternity to nursing collection features comfortable, affordable, stylish bras and camis available at Walmart, Walmart.com and Amazon.com. The breastfeeding-friendly line embraces the lifestyle of new motherhood.

Website: http://lovingmomentsbras.com |Instagram/Facebook: @lovingmomentsbras| Twitter: @lovingmomentsbr

The Advantages of a Padded Nursing Bra

To your baby you represent everything that is soft, comfortable, safe, secure and loving. When it comes to nursing bras, you deserve all of these same features. And that’s exactly what you get in a Loving Moments padded nursing bra. Today we’re sharing the advantages of a padded nursing bra.

The Advantages of a Padded Nursing BraA Padded Nursing Bra is Comfortable

Couldn’t we all use a little extra cushion? Comfort is essential when you’re a breastfeeding mom and the softness of a padded nursing bra adds the cushiony comfort you need and deserve. When combined with the other signature comfort features of our Loving Moments nursing bras, you’ll find whole new meaning behind the term comfort bras.

A Padded Nursing Bra Can Soothe Sensitive Breasts

Sore nipples and tender breasts are sometimes the unfortunate reality of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Pregnancy hormones often irritate breasts and early breastfeeding or developmental changes in your baby (like budding teeth) can lead to sore nipples. These times call for nothing but softness against your sensitive breasts, which a padded nursing bra can offer.

A Padded Nursing Bra Gives You a Beautiful Natural Shape

Even when you’re nursing, you’ll want a gorgeous curved silhouette to make you look and few great. Padding helps smooth out imperfections and create a look that is most flattering to your figure.

A Padded Nursing Bra Offers Modesty

Thanks to our baby’s awesome stimulation and suckling, breastfeeding often leaves nipples erect for minutes to hours after feeding. A padded nursing bra offers modesty by hiding erect nipples to avoid embarrassment.

A Padded Nursing Bra can Minimize the Appearance of Breast Size Differences

Milk fluctuations are also normal during breastfeeding, which can leave breasts looking a bit lopsided. Plus, some babies have a breast preference where one breast is always drained and the other is fuller. A padded nursing bra can balance your look to avoid a noticeable difference in breast size.

A Padded Nursing Bra Prevents Embarrassing Leakage

When it’s close to feeding or pumping times (and sometimes even when it’s not) your breasts may leak milk. A padded nursing bra can prevent such embarrassments because it absorbs leaked milk before it reaches your shirt.

A Padded Nursing Bra Adds Extra Support

Padding not only cushions your breasts, it also helps support them. That’s why Loving Moments offers padding in several types of nursing bras including padded nursing sports bras, padded underwire nursing bras and padded wireless nursing bras. The lift you’ll get from padding and other strategic features of our nursing bras offers extra support for your breasts at a time when you need it most.

What’s your favorite feature of a padded nursing bra?

Alternative Feeding Device: Supplemental Nutrition System

Alternative Feeding Device: Supplemental Nutrition SystemEven during its hardest times, breastfeeding is a beautiful gift to your baby. When things aren’t going as you expected – as sometimes happens with breastfeeding – it’s important to remember your goals and look for solutions to meet your challenges. In certain situations an alternative feeding device called a supplemental nutrition system is a wonderful way to help new mothers continue to breastfeed while also offering expressed milk at the same time.

Here’s how a supplemental nutrition system works:

A supplemental nutrition system is an alternative feeding device where a tube connects a bottle or bag of expressed breast milk to the outside of the mother’s breast. The bottle or bag usually hangs around the mother’s neck or to her side and the tube is taped to her breast. When the baby latches onto her mother’s nipple, she also takes the small tube in her mouth. As she sucks, she receives breast milk directly from her mother and from the tube simultaneously.

Ideal times to use a supplemental nutrition system:

A supplemental nutrition system can be used at several critical times to establish healthy breastfeeding practices. Adoptive mothers and mothers who are relactating often choose this method to help stimulate their milk supply but also ensure their babies are getting the nutrition and satisfaction of breast milk through the tube.

Mothers who are trying to establish a healthy milk supply or who tend to have low milk supplies at certain times of day may also use a supplemental nutrition system. Since lactation is both a stimulation and supply-and-demand response, the more often a baby is at her mother’s breast and empties the breast, the more milk a mother will produce. By using a supplemental nutrition system, babies can help boost their mother’s milk supply while also getting enough milk through supplementation, all at the same time. It’s natural for mothers’ milk supply to ebb and flow based on her menstrual cycle (if it has returned), diet, lifestyle habits, medications or even the body’s natural rhythms at certain times of day. If supplementing with expressed breast milk is necessary, it can be done while breastfeeding using a supplemental nutrition system.

Benefits of a supplemental nutrition system:

Initiating breastfeeding and maintaining a breastfeeding routine can be challenging. All too often mothers give up due to low milk supply or other impediments. However, a supplemental feeding device can help babies learn to breastfeed and continue to breast feed despite many common issues. This type of alternative feeding device allows babies and mothers to learn to breastfeed by breastfeeding. It’s a hands-on experience for everyone! This can be especially important for preemies who struggle to latch and suck.

Using a supplemental nutrition system can often put a mother’s mind at ease because she knows her baby has access to plenty of milk. As her baby enjoys the amazing nutrients in breast milk, mom is boosting her milk supply with each feeding. Plus, it is done simultaneously so moms don’t have to breastfeed and then supplement afterwards. Other alternative feeding devices may pose a problem when shifting to, or back to, breastfeeding as babies get used to the way they are being fed pretty quickly. For example, some experts believe babies who are bottle fed can form nipple confusion when going from bottle to breast.

Additionally, a supplemental nutrition system allows mothers and babies to stay close to one another through a loving breastfeeding embrace. Skin-to-skin contact, eye contact, warmth and a secure hold are all part of the breastfeeding experience that benefit babies and mothers. Other forms feeding options do not allow the same closeness as this alternative feeding device.

Sources: Ask Dr. Sears, International Breastfeeding Centre and KellyMom

 

New Study Finds Breastfeeding Supports Lowered Risk of Heart Disease

It takes a lot of heart to breastfeed, and now research shows it benefits a mom’s heart too, even more than previously expected.

The benefits of breastfeeding are astounding for both babies and mothers on so many levels. Physically, emotionally and mentally, breastfeeding yields healthier babies and moms alike. A new study from China published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found yet another phenomenal positive correlation between breastfeeding and a mother’s health: breastfeeding supports lowered risk of heart disease and stroke.

New Study Finds Breastfeeding Supports Lowered Risk of Heart DiseaseThe observational research examined data from over 280,000 Chinese women. Those who breastfed their babies were 9% less likely to have heart disease and 8% less likely to have a stroke than women who did not breastfeed. Additionally, the study found that for every 6 months more a mother breastfed, their risk of heart disease and stroke lowered by 3-4%. Mothers who breastfed for up to 2 years were 18% less likely to have heart disease and 17% less likely to have a stroke.

The research does not indicate that moms who did not or could not breastfeed were more likely to have heart disease or stroke, only that they didn’t reap the lowered risk benefit that breastfeeding offers.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women (and men) in the U.S. so any positive findings pointing to lowered risk are extremely important in the medical community. Along with a healthy diet, regular physical activity and wise lifestyle choices, breastfeeding may become another advantageous way to lower risk factors for heart disease and stroke, the leading cause of disability in the U.S.

Although researchers don’t know exactly why breastfeeding supports lowered risk of heart disease, they have several speculations. Previous studies showed short-term benefits of breastfeeding for mothers to include lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as quicker weight loss after pregnancy. These short term benefits may have a long term effects on heart disease.

Furthermore, breastfeeding is thought to “reset” the metabolism after pregnancy. During pregnancy the body stores fat to sustain and energize both moms and babies during gestation. After childbirth, a new mom’s body no longer needs the fat reserves and breastfeeding helps eliminate them more efficiently and effectively. This is why many moms report amazing postpartum weight loss while breastfeeding.

Also, moms who breastfeed may be more likely to make smarter health decisions. Breastfeeding shows great care and concern for the health of babies, and moms who are informed and conscientious about the health of their children may also take on best practices for their own health, including cardiovascular health.

This incredible news about how breastfeeding supports lowered risk of heart disease is yet another win for breastfeeding. Literally and figuratively, breastfeeding fosters strong hearts!

Sources: Medical News Today, Time Magazine and USA Today

Breastfeeding, Oxytocin and the Mother-Child Bond

ThBreastfeeding, Oxytocin and the Mother-Child Bonde bond between a mother and her child is one unlike any on earth and it’s deep-rooted in biology. Some may call it motherly instinct but it’s actually related to the hormones a mother releases during pregnancy, childbirth and beyond. Oxytocin is a major player in the mother-child bond and it is also a key ingredient in producing breast milk. Join us as we explore breastfeeding, oxytocin and the mother-child bond.

Oxytocin is a hormone best known for its contribution to feelings of love and bonding. Beyond breastfeeding and baby bonding, oxytocin is also elevated in other loving, intimate relationships such as those with a spouse, close friends or family members.

Oxytocin is present throughout pregnancy and is what triggers the onset of labor. Pitocin, a drug used to induce labor, is synthetic oxytocin. Then, after childbirth oxytocin helps kick-start the milk production process.

In a study from Bar-Ilan University in Israel published in Psychological Science researchers discovered several interesting findings about oxytocin and the mother-child bond. They found that mothers with the highest levels of oxytocin throughout pregnancy and in the first month postpartum were generally more loving towards their babies. This was especially true of the mothers with high oxytocin levels in their first trimester of pregnancy.

As defined by this study, loving behaviors included mothers who had a special level of attachment to their baby. Researchers observed the way mothers touched, gazed, sang and spoke to their babies as well as how they performed certain motherly duties such as feeding and bathing them. Loving behavior also included protecting the child and concerns for the baby’s safety and welfare.

This fascinating research on oxytocin illuminates the complex evolutionary mother-child bond. But it also begs the question, how does a mother stimulate oxytocin to help create this natural bond? The amazing news is that oxytocin can be fueled in a variety of ways…and the best way is breastfeeding!

Breastfeeding triggers many hormonal responses, one of which is the release of oxytocin that not only helps produce breast milk, but also bonds a mother to her baby. Additionally, making connections with others – a spouse, children, friends, family – elevates oxytocin. Other ways to stimulate oxytocin include: prayer, meditation, engaging in a hobby, having a pet, dancing, sexual intercourse, participating in a group and singing.

Nurturing your baby may be second nature to you thanks to oxytocin. You can continue to foster your mother-child bond by elevating your oxytocin levels through meaningful connections, finding joy in life and breastfeeding.

Sources: Aha! Parenting, Parents Magazine and Psychological Science

Budgeting with a Baby

Budgeting with a BabyFor such adorable small people, babies can run up quite a tab. Between safety essentials like car seats and cribs, medical expenses, diapers, clothes and toys, babies are both priceless and expensive at the same time. That’s why we’re sharing smart tips for budgeting with a baby.

Check out these “budgeting with a baby” ideas to keep some extra dough in your wallet:

Register for Necessities Only

Yes, it is so tempting to click or point that price wand at every precious outfit in the baby superstore but it’s not the wisest financial choice. Instead register for important items that you’ll surely need like diapers, wipes, towels, sheets, and a baby bathtub. Think ahead to what you’ll definitely need in the future, such as a highchair or car seats for the next stage. While some friends and family may not stick to the list, many will help you fill out the “must have” list without needing to pay for these items yourself.

Breastfeed and Make Baby Food

Breastfeeding is one of the best ways of budgeting with a baby. It’s free and natural, and extremely healthy for your baby too. If you’ll need a breast pump, check with your insurance company as many plans include free pumps for new moms. When it comes time to start solid foods, make your own rather than buying pre-made food. It is fresher, more nutritious and will save you mu-la. Remember: when you make healthier choices for your baby, you may save on medical bills over the course of your baby’s entire childhood.

Borrow or Buy Secondhand

Secondhand kids shops, yard sales and pop-up consignment sales are amazing ways to save money on baby clothes, toys and gear. Other than a few items you should buy new for safety purposes like car seats and cribs, these stores can save you big bucks. Alternatively, ask a friend who has a child older than yours if you can borrow items. Your baby will grow out of clothes and progress through the developmental stage of toys quickly so borrowing rather than buying makes a lot of sense.

Budget Wisely

When creating your baby budget, think through a variety of items and possibilities. Unless you use cloth diapers and wipes, you’ll need to purchase these items regularly, which can add up quickly. Buy them in bulk, buy generic brands, clip coupons and use savings apps to get the best deals on these essentials. Also consider medical costs that won’t be covered by your insurance. Often there is a portion of your hospital stay that you’ll have to pay out of pocket as well as co-pays for the many pediatrician visits within the first year. If you are paying for childcare, remember to budget for all 52 weeks of the year and use your flexible spending account if you’re able.

Find Free Activities

Offering your baby a variety of experiences does not have to be costly. Libraries, community centers and parks often offer free activities that are open to the public. Take advantage of them whenever possible. Or simply scheduling playdates and visiting someone else’s home can be a fun new experience for your little one.

Invest in the Future

Having gobs of toys isn’t necessary for babies. Especially when your little one is so young a few sensory-driven toys are all she’ll need to keep her mind stimulated. Ask friends and family members who want to give your baby holiday or birthday gifts to make a donation to her college fund instead. She won’t know the difference now and she’ll certainly appreciate it in the future.

Take Advantage of Tax Breaks

Tax-free weekends and tax deductions can save you a bundle of money. Wait to buy items when you can avoid sales tax and do your research on tax deductions that can save you up to 35% on childcare costs.

Sources: Parents, WebMD and Mint

Breastfed Baby Weight Gain

Many moms see their baby’s weight gain as a badge of honor because sometimes it is a result of the great efforts and long hours they’ve put into breastfeeding. While milk intake alone is not the only indication of breastfed baby weight gain, it is a significant part of the picture. Today we’re taking a look at average breastfed baby weight gain and the factors that influence your baby’s weight.

One of the biggest struggles for new moms who are breastfeeding for the first time is knowing whether or not their babies are taking in an adequate amount of milk. Because there are no measurement marks in breastfeeding, you Breastfed Baby Weight Gainhave to utilize other indicators including your baby’s weight gain, wet and soiled diapers and your baby’s level of satisfaction.

Keep in mind babies go through growth spurts frequently so even babies who are getting plenty of milk may feed more frequently than 2-3 hours. The number of times your baby may want to feed in a day is not necessarily a sign of low milk supply. And of course babies may be fussy for reasons other than being hungry so sometimes using mood as an indicator of breast milk satisfaction is not a true test. That’s why monitoring weight gain is so important to moms who breastfeed.

Average Breastfed Baby Weight Gain

According to Dr. Sears, most breastfed babies gain between 4 and 7 ounces in their first week, approximately 1 to 2 pounds per month for the first six months, and around 1 pound per month from six to 12 months. These are averages and may vary from baby-to-baby. Also, it’s important to remember that a 5-7% weight loss within three to four days after birth is completely normal. Usually if 10% or more weight loss has occurred, your doctor will recommend a breastfeeding evaluation to ensure your baby is feeding properly. This may include a visit to a lactation consultant who can evaluate your baby’s latch, positioning, milk supply and other potential barriers to breastfeeding success.

Most babies are weighted at least daily after birth during their initial hospital stay. Then they are weighed again at their first pediatrician appointment, which is usually five to seven days after birth. When determining your baby’s weight gain, consistency is crucial. Go by the weight indicated on the pediatrician’s scale when your baby is completely naked including diaper-less. Different scales can offer seemingly minor fluctuations, but with a newborn, every ounce counts. If you are concerned about your baby’s weight gain or lack thereof, you can ask to pop into your pediatrician’s office for a quick weigh in as necessary.

Other Factors that Influence Breastfed Baby Weight Gain

Body type and activity level also influence your baby’s weight gain. Babies who tend to be long and lean usually gain length faster than weight, which is still an indication of growth. Other babies are plumper and gain weight faster than length. If your baby is extremely active – whether rolling, crawling, cruising or walking – she will burn more calories and perhaps not gain as much weight as more sedentary babies. That doesn’t mean she’s not getting enough to eat, but rather she’s putting the breast milk to good use right away.

Additionally, babies who are breastfed on demand and sleep near their mothers during infancy are more likely to grow faster. They are easily able to eat frequently and let their mothers know when they need milk.

If you are concerned about your baby’s weight gain, consult your pediatrician and consider visiting a lactation consultant to ensure your baby is feeding efficiently.

Sources: Ask Dr. Sears and KellyMom

 

Breastfeeding a Toddler: Truths and Myths

If you’ve made it over the one year milestone of breastfeeding, congratulations mama, you’ve done an amazing job! As you now know, every stage of breastfeeding is met with its own triumphs and challenges and breastfeeding a toddler is no exception. Many moms feel pressured to wean at one year but that should be a personal decision. Today we’re exploring the truths and myths of breastfeeding a toddler to help you make the healthiest choice for you and your baby.

Truth: Breastfeeding a toddler continues to benefit your baby’s health.

Your breast milk changes to meet the needs of your little one throughout your breastfeeding journey. That’s why the AAP and other health organizations across the globe encourage continued breastfeeding beyond one year. Your toddler is now getting more robust nutrients, especially those required for brain development and physical activity. The antibodies in your breast milk also adapt to protect your toddler from a range of foreign substances that are now in her daily life.

Myth: Breastfeeding a toddler leads to emotional and social problems.

Being a source of comfort and security for your toddler only bolsters her self-confidence. Studies show that breastfed toddlers do not form unhealthy attachments to their mothers, but rather a loving bond built of trust and respect. And they also develop a normal sense of independence within this special relationship.

Breastfeeding a Toddler: Truths and MythsTruth: Toddlers may be wiggly and touchy while nursing.

Your toddler is probably a bundle of energy so sitting still to nurse may not be in her repertoire. This can make breastfeeding difficult or uncomfortable for moms, even when both mom and toddler want to continue breastfeeding. If your little one tends to tug at your breasts, skin or hair, move her hand and ask her to be gentle with mommy. A long necklace that your toddler can play with while nursing may also be useful. If your toddler wants to do acrobatics while breastfeeding, stop the session and explain that you cannot give her milk until she can sit still. Other forms of distraction such as telling a story or singing may engage your toddler for long enough to enjoy her milk. You’ll probably notice that your baby’s positioning and latch have changed in toddlerhood. This relaxed state is normal and completely fine as long as it works for both of you.

Myth: Toddlers who nurse for short periods of time are ready to wean.

All the breastfeeding you’ve done for the past year or more has taught your toddler to be very efficient at the breast. She may nurse briefly but still be able to get plenty of milk because her suckle is stronger. Additionally, as your toddler eats more solid foods, she may not want quite as much breast milk. Any breast milk she gets is fantastic for her body though so weaning due to short feedings is not necessary.

Truth: Breastfeeding in public may be more difficult.

Toddlers are keenly aware of the world around them and may be particularly challenging to breastfeed in public due to their inability to stay still and the environmental distractions. You may find it easier to breastfeed before heading out and after coming home, or you can do it in your car. Bring along a snack to tide your toddler over until you can get to a less distracting spot to breastfeed. Also, others may be quite critical of you for breastfeeding a toddler in public. This is no reason not to do it, but do be prepared with a quick polite response for those with negative comments.

Myth: You’re well past sore nipples.

Sore nipples can rear their painful heads again while breastfeeding a toddler. The emergence of teeth is usually the culprit, not only because they may bite you but also because your baby has to latch differently with a few new additions in her mouth. Food residue can also lead to sore nipples. Use the same lanolin-based cream you used when your little one was a newborn to soothe the pain.

Truth: Using respectful words to request breast milk is wise.

When left to their own devices, toddlers may come up with their own ways to ask for breast milk, some of which may be a little crude. If you want to control how breasts and breastfeeding are addressed, start using the words you prefer early to set a positive example for your toddler.

Myth: You’ve graduated from nighttime nursing.

Teething, nightmares and separation anxiety are all legitimate reasons your toddler may wake up in the middle of the night. Nursing is a great way to calm, reassure and soothe your toddler back to sleep.

Truth: Your breast milk will fluctuate with your menstrual cycle.

It is common for your milk supply to be low just before and at the beginning of your period, and your milk may taste different to your toddler as well. Allow for extra nursing during this time to ensure your little one gets as much as she wants.

Myth: You must wean if you get pregnant with another baby.

In most cases toddlers can breastfeed throughout your pregnancy and even once the baby has arrived. Your breast milk will change to meet the needs of both your toddler and the new baby.

Sources: KellyMom and Today’s Parent

Relactation: Return to Breastfeeding

True or false, moms: Once you stop breastfeeding you lose your milk forever? The answer is False. It is entirely possible to return to breastfeeding after a lactation gap, and no we’re not talking about having another baby. Relactation is the process of rebuilding your milk supply after having a baby and taking a break from breastfeeding. (This is different than induced lactation, which occurs when a woman builds a milk supply but has never been pregnant.)

If you’re hoping to return to breastfeeding, here’s the scoop on relactation:

Relactation: Return to BreastfeedingWhile there is little research on relactation, statistics show success rates are pretty high when mothers take the proper steps. The factors that influence success are: having a baby four months or younger, having only a short lactation gap, your baby’s willingness to feed at the breast and seeking professional support. First let’s look at how relactation is even possible.

During pregnancy and childbirth, your body is preparing for breastfeeding by mixing up a cocktail of hormones that will produce breast milk. Your breasts are also changing to best meet the needs of your baby’s most nutritious source of food. Once your baby is born, stimulation of the nipple triggers the hormone prolactin, which is necessary to produce breast milk. When you have a lactation gap (and amazingly even if you’ve never been pregnant or given birth), stimulating the nipple is how relactation can occur.

As is typical of all breastfeeding, putting your baby on the breast often and draining the breast as much as possible is critical for relactation. Feeding 10-12 times a day, that’s every 2-3 hours, is usually the best way to jumpstart your milk supply. The more stimulation, the more likely you are to restart the production of milk and build a healthy milk supply. Also make sure your baby is feeding effectively with a good latch.

It is also essential to drain your breasts thoroughly with each feeding. Find your baby’s favorite breastfeeding positions and activities to keep your baby interested and engaged in breastfeeding. Breast compressions – squeezing your breasts to encourage milk to drain – may be helpful and keep a trickle of milk coming so your baby will stay on the breast. Another way to keep your baby on the breast is using a supplemental nursing system that feeds your baby from both the breast and a tube of milk at the same time.

If your baby is not willing or able to drain your breasts, pumping is the next best option. Pumping after or in-between feedings is a good idea if your baby is not feeding as often as you would like. A double electric pump is the most efficient way to express milk besides your baby himself.

Milk supply is often the issue that leads to early weaning. If this is why you stopped breastfeeding in the first place, work hard to not run into the same issue. Besides frequent and thorough feedings, spend as much time with your baby as possible and engage in lots of skin-to-skin contact. You may want to take lactation supplements known as galactagogues, such as fenugreek and blessed thistle, or drink a lactation tea.

Relactation usually takes around one month to achieve. Most moms who are able to relactate work with a professional lactation consultant to strategize the best methods for reestablishing milk supply and ensuring their babies are getting enough nourishment during the process.

Sources: LaLecheLeague, KellyMom, MotherLove and Belly Belly