You want to induce lactation, but you don’t know how and what is the best breast pump to induce lactation?
It’s not as easy as it sounds and there’s a lot of information out there. Some sources will tell you that your body can do this on its own, while others say that you need to take medications or use breast pumps in order to stimulate milk production.
This article covers everything from the best natural ways to induce lactation, the most effective ways for inducing lactation and what kind of breast pump is best for inducing lactation. We’ll also cover how long it takes to get results with each method and how much time each approach requires.
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What is Induced Lactation?
Induced lactation is when a non-gestational parent chooses to start lactation to breastfeed or chestfeed their baby. Induced lactation is a process that can take months to accomplish and failure rates are relatively high.
This article will be focusing on ways in which you can induce lactation through the use of an electric breast pump, diet, herbs, medications, or a combination of these methods.
While breastfeeding is easy enough for many women, others struggle with it and have some breastfeeding issues.
Whether you’ve had difficulty in breastfeeding or not, induced lactation can be an option for some parents that wouldn’t otherwise have the option to breastfeed.
What is Relactation?
Sometimes a mother weans their baby from breastfeeding either by choice or because of medication or family emergency. When a mother want to reintroduce breastfeeding with their baby, this is referred to as relactation.
Relactation can be the same as induced lactation, but they are different. Relactation is when a mother has stopped breastfeeding and now wants to start again.
How to Induce Lactation
To induce lactation, you need the following things: Your commitment to producing breast milk for your baby A pump that is electric preferably Medela Pump in Style Advanced II, a Spectra S1 Or S2 Or S3 Plus or any hospital grade pump/any double electric pump Medela Symphony, Lansinoh Double Deluxe.
A good quality double electric pump is essential to stimulate the production of breast milk. Does it have to be electric? Yes; because you’ll need to be at home or wherever you want your baby to be located and will probably not go out much and turn on your manual breast pump.
How to Get Started on Induced Lactation?
Speak to a lactation consultant. They can come up with a personalized plan for you. There are natural ways to induce lactation and medications can be prescribed to help increase the production of breastmilk.
Natural Ways to Induce Lactation
Eating lactogenic foods
Eating lactogenic foods is an important part to induce lactation because they contain hormones that are crucial for lactation. Eat lots of high-fat foods including avocados, almonds, olives, coconut oil and almond butter. Natural herbs that can also help induce lactation include fenugreek, blessed thistle, goat’s rue and slippery elm. Drink a ton of water; Water helps increase the production of breastmilk. You should be drinking at least 2 liters a day or 4 quarts/litres per day.
Take herbs to induce lactation.
Fenugreek is the most popular herb that’s been identified as a galactagogue or “milk-maker”. You may also try blessed thistle, fennel, anise, and alfalfa for inducing lactation. If you want to increase breastmilk production without medication then any of the herbs mentioned above can help kick-start your milk production.
Medications prescribed by doctors to induce lactation.
Hormone therapy is a common way to induce lactation. When you are pregnant and postpartum, your body produces certain hormones to start the production of breast milk. Medications given by your doctor can immolate that.
Estrogen – Promote milk production for new moms having trouble producing enough milk after pregnancy are often prescribed estrogen, which has been shown to increase breast milk supply in these cases. If you’re looking to induce lactation, talk with your doctor about whether or not you should try it.
Oxytocin – This medication is available in an intramuscular injection and can be prescribed to induce lactation for women who have had breast reduction surgery, babies with cleft palates, premature infants, couples who want a child but the woman has low production of breastmilk and/or instances of low milk supply following pregnancy.
Prolactin Inhibitors – These medications inhibit lactation and are often prescribed if a mother is breastfeeding more than one child at the same time and/or she wants to stop breast milk production if her baby is over a year old.
Supplemental Nursing System
Supplementing nursing system is another way to induce lactation. SNS is where you feed your baby at the breast with a tube taped to you. The donor milk or formula is pushed through the tube for your baby to eat but you are also getting the stimulation to induce lactation. There is a pump that you use to send the milk through the tube. Any hospital grade pump will work. You can also feed your baby at the breast with this method, but they would need to be supplemented with donor milk or formula.
Breast massage and hand expressing while you are breastfeeding your new baby will also help the milk flow sooner. The hand expression with your baby sucking will be enough nipple stimulation to help induce lactation. If done often enough, this can help you produce extra milk and be an efficient way to transfer milk while your baby nurses.
Use a hospital-grade pump
Using hospital-grade breast pumps gives you the best breast stimulation to help with induced lactation. A double electric breast pump can be extremely helpful and save you a lot more time than using single pumps and manual pumps.
Start pumping every 2 – 3 hours between feedings from your baby. If you are working outside the home and cannot pump at work, then hire a daycare provider to provide care for your baby so that they can breastfeed on demand. Any quality breast pump will give you great stimulation to produce more colostrum and/or breastmilk.
When to start the protocol for inducing lactation and how long it takes: When you are ready to begin treatment, talk with your doctor about when he or she would like you to start producing breast milk so that they can give you information on how long it will take to get your milk production up and running.
This protocol would take around two to three weeks to work. It can be quickened or slower depending on the individual woman and their supply of breastmilk. This protocol will need to be repeated at least twice a day for eight weeks. If you want to continue producing breast milk after this protocol, then you should do it all together as often as you can, but it is not necessary to keep producing breast milk.
Protocol for inducing lactation
The first protocol for inducing lactation: Days 1-4 – Breastfeed (or pump) every 2 – 3 hours counting from the time of your last feeding/ pumping session on day 1 until you go to bed at night.
Days 5 – 8
Continue the same protocol as above, but increase the time between feedings to 3 – 4 hours. Have your baby sleep next to you or if there is a caregiver for your baby for these days, then have them nurse on demand. On day 5 of this protocol do not pump during the day until after you go to bed at night.
Days 9 – 12
Continue the same protocol as above with the time between feedings being increased to 6 hours.
Days 13 – 16
Breastfeed (or pump) every 8 hours during the day and night. Give your baby a chance to sleep for longer periods of time on his or her own, rather than continuously feeding at the breast or pumping all the time.
If you want to continue inducing lactation and have decided that you will be supplementing your baby with donor milk or formula while he or she is breastfeeding, then pumping a little bit in addition to breastfeeding should be enough stimulation to keep the supply going. If not, then it may take another protocol of induced lactation. You can always go back to breastfeeding (or pumping) every 2 hours if you do not have enough breastmilk. You also need to make sure that the baby is getting milk at some point even if it’s a small amount.
If your baby is very young and cannot take food yet, then they will need donor breastmilk or formula to supplement while you are doing this protocol. This is a good time to pump and build up a freezer stash of milk so that your baby will have feedings available when he or she can start taking food.
If you do not want to continue breastfeeding, then after the 8 week protocol you may decide to stop inducing lactation at this time.
How Long do I have to Pump to induce lactation?
It can take about 2 months depending on the person. If you have time and know you want to induce lactation then start as soon as possible so you will have enough time to produce breast milk before the baby arrives.
Your baby will need to be fed breast milk or formula while you are inducing lactation.
Inducing lactation can take a few days up to 2 months. Talk with your doctor about when you would like to start producing so that they can tell you how long it will take for your body to produce breast milk.
Is Inducing Lactation with Herbs Safe?
With taking any supplement you should talk to your medical care provider to make sure that it is safe.
Mothers, including myself, have seen the difference in what herbs can do for increasing your milk production. If you are looking into trying this route just be sure to talk to your doctor to see if it is right for you first.
How do I Induce Lactation?
Inducing lactation takes time, effort and commitment. You will need to dedicate the time needed by following the protocol as you are breastfeeding your baby or doing a pump-feeding routine during this period. When inducing lactation it is important to note that the mother does not have to be pregnant in order for their body to make breast milk. This is totally different from the protocol in order to breastfeed a newborn baby. You just have to plan how you will be breastfeeding your baby or pumping during this time period between 2 and 8 weeks depending on which protocol that you choose.
You can also start inducing lactation up to 6 months after giving birth if you are trying to relactate.
Related article: Spectra S1 VS Spectra S2 – Which One is Right for You?
Induced Lactation Protocols: How will you know if it’s working?
The first thing that you need to do is keep track of how long it has been since your last feeding, pumping session or sleep time. You should be on a timer and make note of the time so that you can see how long it takes to get the right amount of stimulation. You will not be able to tell if you are in fact stimulating your body to make breast milk until you have been doing this protocol consistently over a period of time, but don’t give up too soon. It may take 2 weeks for you to notice that your breasts are beginning to feel fuller and possibly more tender. You may also notice that your let down is beginning to happen while you are breastfeeding the baby or pumping.
You will need to be consistent in order for this induced lactation protocol to work. Breastfeeding every 2 hours around the clock during the day and at night if necessary, pumping every 3-4 hours around the clock will stimulate your body to make breast milk. You can use a night time feeding or pumping so that you don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night if you are uncomfortable and oversleeping.
If you don’t see any change in your breasts after 2-4 weeks then it’s best to take some time off from the protocol to let your body rest. If you are still not producing breast milk after 2 months then try again in another month or two if you really want to continue inducing lactation.
It is very hard to tell when this induced lactation protocol will work depending on which one that you choose so don’t give up too soon!
What are the Best Breast Pumps to Induce Lactation?
Will induced lactation produce the same breast milk as a birth mother?
You will not produce any colostrum since there are no pregnancy hormones to help produce this. But other than that you can be producing the perfect breast milk for your baby when they need it!
Related article: 9 Best Breastfeeding Tips for Producing More Milk
Things to avoid when trying to induce lactation
Try to stay away from caffeine and alcohol because they can keep you awake at night or disrupt your sleep; if you’re not getting a good night’s rest, then it could affect the hormones that are needed for breastmilk production. Your body releases two important hormones when you’re asleep: prolactin and oxytocin. These hormones help your body to produce breast milk.
Certain medications such as the birth control pill can also hurt breast milk production. So be sure to talk to your doctor or lactation expert. They wil be able to make sure any medications that you are taking aren’t hurting your chances of producing much milk.
If you are able to get sufficient sleep and eat lactogenic foods, then there is a pretty good chance that you can increase your breastmilk supply. Even by at least 20 ounces per day. If not, then it’s also recommended to take a lactogenic supplement.
When you are a new parent that wants to breastfeed but cannot because of an issue such as adoption, adoptive mothers and mothers who want to start relactation can be done. It will take time and effort, but is possible with the right tools. One of the most important things for inducing lactation is having access to quality breastfeeding products. Products like pumps or herbs and support – this way your body has all it needs in order to produce milk! The best brands/models are Spectra S1 Plus, Spectra S2, Medela Symphony, Spectra 9 Plus, Medela freestyle Flex, BellaBaby Double Electric, and Medela Sonata Smart. Give these high-quality models a try if you plan on inducing lactation or need help getting started.
Soon you will be snuggling your baby in your favorite nursery glider and nursing them to sleep. It can be a lot of work but so worth it in the end!
Note to the reader: The following protocols were written by experienced breastfeeding mothers and lactation counselors. If you are interested in inducing lactation then we suggest that you talk to an international board certified lactation consultant. We cannot take any responsibility for any discrepancies or errors as they may have occurred