Relactation with PCOS and Reduction

posted 1 year ago in Babies
Post # 2
360 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I haven’t tried to relactate so I don’t have any advice. However, I am a member of a group called ‘PRIVATE Breastfeeding and Beyond’ on Facebook and there are a lot of lactation consultants who are members and experienced breastfeeding mums who offer brilliant advice. I would join and post your question there. 

Post # 3
806 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

I had a breast reduction too. My son had zero latch and hypoglycemia at birth (he had to stay in the nursery and was on formula), so I tried pumping with the hospital pump (I was in there for a week). It was frustrating and I had about as much luck as you did. I did better when I used my hands to massage and help things along, but it was just so much work with very little yield. When I tried the medela pump at home, I got nothing so there’s a chance a hospital grade pump might help a bit, but I wouldn’t expect miracles. 

Post # 4
917 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

I have PCOS but no breast reduction. I also could only pump ~10-30mls at a time (baby was in NICU) and eventually gave up at 6 weeks pp. My lactation consultant suggested relactation, but said it would basically work only if you could spend the majority of the day skin to skin with baby and letting them latch/nurse as often as they wanted with no soother. She told me pumping was less effective, even with a hospital grade pump. You can also try a supplemental nursing system to let baby latch while drinking formula. It’s supposed to help with stimulation to start producing milk.

Do you want to try relactation, or is your doctor pushing it because “breast is best”? My lactation consultant was kind, but pushed the SNS on me and it just stressed me out more. Relactation is possible but very hard, so you should only do it if it would make you happier and not more stressed. Nothing wrong with formula at all; my baby’s been exclusively formula since six weeks (and really 90% formula beige that) and he’s perfectly healthy. 

Post # 5
563 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I struggled to breastfeed our firstborn and gave up after a couple of months. Then, in a fit of PPD, I decided I would take him to our children’s hospital and work with the LCs there to try to get back on the wagon so to speak. It was frankly- a total disaster. I had fair production and none of the issues you’ve mentioned and I would not repeat the experience. If you haven’t been breastfeeding for a month, and had extremely low production to begin with- it sounds like you’ve likely been supplementing with formula and likely, your babe is doing just fine. So unless you’re completely committed and can prepare yourself for a ton of work (that may ultimately yield no reward), then id just stick with your current feeding mechanism. My son ended up being bottle/formula fed and he’s now three and amazing. Turns out- as they say, fed is best. 

Post # 6
1863 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

View original reply
mp647 :  How badly do you really want to do this?  I am generally a believer in “where there is a will, there is a way” but this sounds like a really hard thing to do.  I exclusive pumped because my daughter would not nurse, and I can tell you that was hard even with ample milk supply.  If your baby is healthy, you may want to put your mental & physical energy, time, and effort into the many other valuable aspects of parenting.  Trying to re-establish a milk supply that wasn’t strong to begin with sounds like a nightmare to me, and a hormonal roller coaster on top of that.  So, first I would ask yourself if you really want to do it.

If it really matters a lot to you, then go ahead and give it your best shot.  Try different pumps, eat a bunch of oatmeal etc, spend a lot of time with your baby.  You might very well respond better to a different pump.  You will learn what best stimulates your body to get a let down.  In my mind it was always kind of similar to how men ejaculate… what works for one person’s body might not be the same for someone else.  You can also try adjusting the speed and suction of the pump.  Strong suction is not always best.  In your case, I would definitely work with a lactation consultant.  Take the time to find one you like, because in my experience many of them were jerks. I would imagine this will be an undertaking that will require your dedication 24 hours a day around the clock. Good luck in whatever you choose!

Post # 7
1446 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Have you spoken with an IBCLC about relactating? I think you probably need some hands on advice so that you have the best shot at achieving your goals. Aside from that, I would recommend doing lots of skin to skin, allowing baby free and frequent access to the breast, bedsharing and allowing baby to comfort suck at the breast even if you don’t yet have milk.

Post # 8
8747 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

View original reply
mp647 :  I had very low supply to start (also only getting about an ounce a day in those early weeks) and the hospital grade pumped absolutely helped. As did drinking tons of water, eating oatmeal, taking supplements, etc.  HOWEVER I didn’t take a break for a month and it still took me until week 7 to be able to do all breastmilk (including a bottle I pumped in the morning to feed at night when my supply would dip) and 9 weeks to be able to do all feedings at the breast. 

I think where there is a will there’s a way but it would be an uphill battle. My IBCLC said even adoptive mothers who have never been pregnant can be made to lactate so you have a step ahead of the game, but you may never get to full lacation and may need to combo feed. I would consider the reasons you stopped and why you want to restart to decide if it’s worth trying and consider that your baby will start solids in a couple months and most babies nurse less at that time.

I’m a huge breastfeeding supporter and I went on to nurse for 20 months, but a relaxed and happy momma is the best momma no matter how your kid gets fed. 

Post # 9
670 posts
Busy bee

Similar to other posters, I struggled with milk supply (baby was in the NICU, pumping did nothing for me and I wasn’t able to fully try breastfeeding until 6-7 weeks PP due to a broken collar bone and hemotoma on the back of his head) – so I echo the PPs when I ask who is pushing for this. Establishing milk supply is extremely tough let along re-establishing after a month of not pumping. I attempted to do this but didn’t get anywhere – I had a portable pump and a hospital grade one, the hospital grade one was way better. If you’re doing this because of feeling pressured or guilty or judged – I feel you. Sometimes formula feeding can feel like the loneliest choice in the world. People often make comments, even unintentional ones, that can really hurt – they have no idea how difficult it is to not breastfeed. In the end though, fed is best and establishing a healthy, happpy relationship with your baby is the most important. While breastfeeding is ideal if you can make it work there are some great upsides to bottle feeding. When I needed a break, my mom, dad or husband could easily takeover, this allowed him to bond better with the baby.  Also, you can still bond with your baby through skin to skin, bath time and cuddles – just be sure to treat bottle feeding like you do breastfeeding by holding the baby super close to your chest and making eye contact. There is a reason we have baby formula and it’s for situations like yours. 

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