Breastfeeding is always the best way to feed babies. However, not all babies are lucky enough to have mothers who can produce enough milk to provide for their daily feeding requirement. Some mothers never produce any at all. Some mothers quit breastfeeding in favor of milk formulas. If you are having a hard time producing milk, you can induce lactation, which, in most cases, can actually produce milk in your breasts so that you can breastfeed. If you decide to relactate or induce lactation, you need to be extra patient because the process can take a long time.
Seek the help of a lactation consultant. A good lactation consultant will assist you and will even supervise you closely during the process of relactation or inducing lactation. Your lactation consultant will advise you on the various options that you have to succeed, as well as the tools and equipment. For example, your lactation consultant may suggest that you use a breast pump. He or she will help you learn how to use one, as well as suggest an optimal schedule for pumping. Your lactation consultant may also prescribe medicines and supplements that you need.
Consider using a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). Many women have reported high rates of success with the SNS method. Especially if you have breastfed your baby in the recent past, the SNS technique can easily stimulate your body to start producing milk again. The SNS kit comes with helpful instructions for use, and you can get help from your lactation consultant for such matters as how to assemble the contraption, how to wear the system, and how to latch your baby onto it.
Combine your use of the SNS with your use of a high-quality breast pump. Together with SNS, your use of a breast pump can significantly accelerate your relactation, especially if you have never tried breastfeeding before or if you give birth to your baby four months earlier. Your lactation consultant will advise you of the best pumping schedule, though in most cases you will need to draw milk (or pump your breasts) about 8 to 12 times a day (i.e., once every two to three hours).
Save your milk. Each time you pump your breasts, even if they produce very little milk, save every drop. Store your collected milk in sterile bottles and keep them inside the refrigerator. Make sure the milk is consumed within 24 hours after you have collected it. Feed your baby with your breast milk using the SNS first, and then follow up with formula milk if the amount is insufficient.
Try herbal supplements and/or prescription medicine. Your lactation consultant will be able to assist you in choosing which supplement or medication to take. Never self-prescribe. It is always a safe choice to consult with your lactation consultant regarding pills and supplements that you will take. Some medications, such as Reglan, do increase your milk production but can be harmful if used for a long time.
Feeding one’s infant is one of the joys of motherhood. Yet, not producing enough milk to feed your baby should not be taken as an inadequacy; instead, you can think of it as an opportunity to bond with your baby and a challenge to continue providing for your baby.