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How to restore lactation after stress, illness, lactostasis and a long break

The formation of breast milk is associated with certain hormonal processes in a woman’s body. With the right attachment of the baby to the breast and the proper organization of breastfeeding, the milk cannot suddenly disappear. It takes time.

And there are always specific reasons that affect the decrease in milk secretion. If desired, a nursing mother is able to resume this process.

Each situation requires individual consideration. But there are general recommendations on how to restore lactation.

To understand the reasons for which a woman has to think about the restoration of lactation, you first need to understand the principle of milk production.

In the first weeks after delivery, prolactin levels are very high in the body of a nursing mother. It is a key lactation hormone that stimulates the primary formation of secretions in the breast. After a month or a bit later, its concentration decreases.

Milk production is supported by frequent stimulation of the breast, namely the nipple and areola. It occurs in the process of sucking or decanting.

It can be said that the maternal breast works on the principle “demand creates supply”. That is, the more often breast stimulation occurs, the higher the milk production will be.

And the more milk comes out, the more and is formed. And vice versa.

Thus, to maintain lactation, two conditions are necessary: ​​frequent stimulation of the breast and its qualitative emptying.

It is important to know that milk will not disappear if:

  • baby truly captures the chest. In this case, the mother does not feel pain or discomfort. She hears the baby swallowing, but there are no other sounds (smacking, clattering);
  • mom is properly expressed. There is no pain, but milk is well separated by drops or streams;
  • adjusted harmonious mode of feeding or decanting. Infants up to two to three months feed on demand. Older babies are applied to the chest at least 10-12 times a day. If the mother for some reason does not have the opportunity to attach the child to the breast, she should decant in the rhythm of feeding and also during the night;
  • there are night feedings. Be sure to apply the crumb several times during the night. After all, at night the greatest secretion of prolactin is noted.

Consequently, a decrease in milk secretion may occur if:

  • there are errors in the application;
  • pumping is done incorrectly;
  • per day less than ten applications or decantations;
  • there are long breaks between feedings;
  • no night feedings.

There are many assumptions in various sources, why breast milk has disappeared from a nursing mother, and how to restore it now. Among them are often causes that do not have a direct effect on the amount of production of breast milk. They may or may not be a prerequisite for launching this process.

And it depends on the circumstances and actions of the mother.

  • Sensations . Mom is under the influence of bright negative emotions and can not relax. Putting the child to the chest, she notices that he does not swallow. Or does not experience the usual sensations in the allocation of milk. She begins to feel that the milk is gone. And the matter is stress.
  • Reality. Stress, excitement, doubt – all these experiences have a negative effect on the separation of milk from the breast, that is, on the reflex of oxytocin. The hormone oxytocin is produced before and during feeding. It is he who causes the milk to leave the alveoli and ducts. If a nursing woman is under stress, after experiencing anxiety, oxytocin will be produced very reluctantly. This will not allow the milk to leave the breast, and the mother may be worried that it has disappeared.
  • Actions . Relax, forget about the experiences and immerse yourself in pleasant thoughts. Drink a cup of warm, tasty drink, take a comfortable shower, get distracted by a positive lesson. Having coped with stress, mother can safely feed her baby. Oxytocin production will resume, and the milk will actively flow from the breast.
  • Sensations . Malaise, weakness and other unpleasant signs of illness darken the life of a nursing mother. Sometimes she may not even be able to feed her child or remember how many times a day she put it. After recovery, the woman pays attention to the absence of the usual symptoms of milk discharge: tingling in the chest, milk leaking, deep sucking and swallowing of the baby. The conclusion is born that the milk has disappeared after the disease.
  • Reality. Being a mother does not always allow her to continue to fully take care of her baby. Sometimes she can not observe and comfortable rhythm of feeding. Therefore, application is less frequent, and milk production slows down. But the reason for this is not the disease itself, but rather frequent emptying of the breast.
  • Actions . To restore the previous volumes of breast milk, you need to give the mother’s body more incentives to produce it. Specific recommendations depend on the age of the crumbs and circumstances. On average, the child should be applied and / or decanted every two to three hours, and better still more often.

  • Sensations . In one or several lobes, stagnation of the secret appears. The formation of seals in which the skin can redden. Sometimes symptoms of fever develop and the temperature rises. Mom often tries to attach the child to the affected breast, but the seal may disappear and come back again, or not leave at all. Some are trying to decant the milk “to the last drop” and actively knead the “lumps”, despite the painfulness of these manipulations. It happens that a baby doesn’t manage to capture a crowded and tense chest correctly. A woman may temporarily stop feeding or reduce the number of attachments. And after lactostasis, she notices that she has less milk.
  • Reality. Frequent attachments do not help deduce the secret from stagnant lobes. The baby feeds on the fact that it is easily separated from the breast. And the problem share remains overcrowded. Under these conditions, the milk will not disappear, because the body receives enough signals to produce it.
    But if the mother reduces or stops breastfeeding altogether, the concentration of prolactin falls. When a woman resorts to a traumatic straightening, she can damage the ducts. This violates the outflow of fluid and leads to new stagnation. Some of the shares remain overflowed for a long time, so the formation of milk in them decreases.
  • Actions . If mom noticed that after lactostasis, the milk seemed to have disappeared or became less, it is important to ensure frequent stimulation and effective emptying of the breast. You can combine the usual mode of feeding with additional pumping. This will accelerate the return of the previous volumes of milk.

  • Sensations . For some reason, the mother could not breastfeed the baby at the right time. After a few hours (depending on the situation), the breasts may become full and heavy. There is a feeling of discomfort. A woman can try to cope with it by pumping, and can be ignored. After resuming feeding after a long break, the mother may notice that there is less milk.
  • Reality. If we are talking about a pause of a few hours, then during this time almost nothing will change. This time is not enough to significantly reduce the amount of milk. And, especially, for its complete disappearance. When there is a break of several days and even weeks, and the mother does not support lactation by decanting, the milk secretion is inhibited.
  • Actions . How to restore breastfeeding? To establish the previous mode of feeding will not be enough. As in other cases, it is important to give the child frequent access to the breast. It makes sense to additionally decant between feedings.

A common misconception while reducing milk production is the opinion that it is “burned out”. In terms of physiology, this term is not related to lactation.

When the breast remains filled for a long time, part of the milk is sucked back into the blood. Under no conditions in the body of a woman there are no processes that could be associated with this word.

Sometimes, having decided that the milk suddenly disappeared, the women stop breastfeeding the baby in the usual way. Instead, they try to decant, measure the volume of the resulting liquid, worry, and begin to think about the introduction of a supplement.

Each situation is unique in its own way. It takes a deep immersion in the problem to give detailed advice for a particular case.

But there are six general recommendations on how to return lactation and restore the previous volumes of breast milk.

  1. Frequent application. Infants up to three months feed on demand. They have free access to the chest. Offer breast need for any concern. After three months, babies should be applied at least 12 times a day.
  2. Decanting This extra measure is used in between feedings. If it is not possible to apply a crumb often, you need to stimulate the breast in the rhythm of feeding or about 12 times a day.
  3. Feeding “in a circle.” When the baby stops swallowing, offer him a second breast. When he copes with it, you can again shift it to the first side. For one feeding, you can do this several times.
  4. Monitor the correctness of action. Sometimes mothers fail to achieve the desired result due to errors in applying and pumping. This is a fundamental point, which largely affects the rate of return of milk. If the mother is difficult to cope with these nuances on her own, she can always seek help from a breastfeeding consultant.
  5. Exclude or minimize communication with substitutes. It is desirable that the child meets its need for sucking only with the help of her mother’s breast. Soothers and nipple bottles reduce the number of attachments, slowing down the process of lactation recovery. In addition, their use can adversely affect the quality of the grip and breast sucking technique. Some children can successfully combine the breast and nipple, and some – not. It is important to take this into account and soberly assess your own situation.
  6. Weight control. In order for mom to be sure that the baby has enough of her milk, you should regularly evaluate his supplements. For this, the child is initially weighed and the weight is fixed on that day. After three days, the procedure is repeated. Calculated difference in weight for three days, that is, gain. Then divide this figure into three and consider the average daily increase. If this figure is 20 grams or more, then milk is sufficient. If the increase is less, then you need to look for the reason for this result. This procedure is repeated until the average daily increase does not exceed at least 20 g. After that, weight control is carried out for some time once a week, and then monthly.

To assess the weight of the baby, it is not necessary to buy special children’s scales. You can do this for free in the children’s clinic, on electronic scales in the supermarket or with the help of the balance sheet.

Bench scales do not fit, because they give a large calculation error.

In an effort to establish breastfeeding as soon as possible, some mothers are ready to resort to any means and means. Such an active position is commendable.

But there are a number of tips that can not significantly help a woman in this matter.

  • Special teas for lactation. As part of the purchase of teas marked “to increase lactation” – a variety of herbal mixtures. The influence of most herbs on the body of a nursing mother and her infant has not been studied. Moreover, nettle, fennel, anise and cumin, which are often included in such mixtures, have a first (nettle) and second (remaining plants) risk level for a lactating woman and her baby.
  • Drink plenty of water. Often you can hear that for mom to increase lactation it’s recommended to drink two to three liters of fluid a day. This is an unnecessary measure. It should drink thirst, an average of a liter and a half per day. It is worth remembering what affects the formation of milk. And in order for its production to stop due to the lack of water in the body of a woman, she must have a severe stage of dehydration.
  • Pills . They also include plants and herbs, the effect of which has not been studied in nursing mothers. Some components may cause individual intolerance or an allergic reaction. Their use in isolation from the main recommendations to increase lactation will not bring results.

If a nursing mother is faced with a decrease in milk production, it is in her power to resume this process. This statement is true for any age of the baby.

If you follow the advice clearly and diligently on how to restore lactation after a break or other circumstances, in a few weeks mother will be able to once again enjoy the harmonious process of breastfeeding.

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