When is it Too Late to Start Breastfeeding
Baby Toddler Development

When is it Too Late to Start Breastfeeding

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Are you considering breastfeeding and are wondering when is it too late to start breastfeeding? 

Breastfeeding is a natural, and actually, the most convenient and less costly nourishing method for children.

Experts recommend breastfeeding your baby for several benefits that it offers both the mother and the child. 

However, some mothers may not breastfeed their babies for various reasons, from personal preference to health issues.

And while this happens, there are times when one may decide to breastfeed after bottle-feeding their baby. 

That begs the question, when is it too late to start breastfeeding? Let’s find out.

1. Why stop breastfeeding? 

Breastfeeding is essential for various reasons.

For starters, breast milk contains vital antibodies that help fight off bacteria and viruses while lowering the baby’s risks of having allergies or asthma.

Breastfeeding also strengthens the bond that the mother shares with their babies.

So, why would anyone stop nursing the baby? There a couple of reasons why;

  • Severe postpartum depression and other maternal tissues 
  • Having a premature baby 
  • The inability of the baby to latch effectively  
  • Having an adopted child  
  • Babies born to surrogate parents 

2. When is it too late to start breastfeeding?

Experts recommend breastfeeding your baby for at least six months.

As mentioned earlier, some mothers may not breastfeed their babies during these first months, for whatever reason.

Others will breastfeed, switch to bottle-feeding and probably want to get back to breastfeeding. 

Well, there is some good news for anyone searching for answers; it is never too late to start breastfeeding. 

However, the process is mostly much easier for mothers that start nursing within the first 4 to 6 weeks postpartum.

But that’s not to say you can’t start after the fifth month or if you have adopted your baby.

Starting to nurse during this period might be difficult for some mothers, but you can still do it, and it gets better as you get used to it. 

3. How to start relactation 

Restarting breastfeeding after a hiatus is also referred to as relactation. You might not start producing milk immediately you start relactating. 

There is also no specific amount of time; it all depends on an individual. But, you start relactation, you can use the below methods to stimulate your breasts;

Ensure you have a skin-to-skin moment with the baby, even if they are not breastfeeding.

It will get themes accustomed to the skin-to-skin feeling that comes with breastfeeding.

Always keep your baby close to or on your body whenever possible. An excellent way to go about this is by using a sling or anything close to it. 

If the baby is not breastfeeding during this period, ensure they are always near your breast whenever you are bottle-feeding.

This ensures they are skin-to-skin, making it a little bit easier to transition to breastfeeding. 

Tips for successful relactation

If you want to start nursing after taking a break, you can use the below tips to ensure you succeed: 

  • Pumping frequently will stimulate the production of milk. You can pump after every two to three hours. Do not be discouraged by the little drops coming in initially. If you continue pumping, the milk production will have increased at the end of a week. 
  • Eating foods that help to increase the milk supply. Such foods will include malt Ovaltine and some lactation cookies. 
  • Offer the breast to the baby much frequently. If the baby shows some interest in breastfeeding, let him feed as often as he wants. It will help increase your milk production. 
  • Limit the use of pacifiers and bottles and let the baby use your breast for comfort; with time, they will start sucking a fair amount of breast milk. 

See more in: How To Get Back To Breastfeeding After Exclusively Pumping?

As you continue increasing your milk supply, it’s essential to keep feeding the baby with supplementary milk until you have made the milk flow stable and enough for your young one.

This will help keep the baby healthy and strong.

Fortunately, the answer to when is it too late to start breastfeeding is never.

While it is easier to begin breastfeeding immediately, you can always start weeks or months postpartum. 

Related Post: How Many Lactation Cookies Should I Eat a Day?

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Iesha Mulla

Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She's an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.

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