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Can Breast Milk Come Back After Drying Up?

Can Breast Milk Come Back After Drying Up

Most moms usually dry up after they’ve stopped breastfeeding for several weeks or months. However, based on what my mom friends tell me, they can relactate again, especially when needed. 

Relactating can be done because of various motivations, like wanting to breastfeed again or wanting to donate breast milk to those who need it. 

Today, I’ll discuss how to relactate and why it’s important. This can also be very useful for moms who don’t have breast milk after they’ve delivered their baby. 

Can Breast Milk Come Back After Drying Up?

One of the common questions I read on the internet is if relactation is possible. Based on my observation, it’s a concern among parents who don’t want to breastfeed. 

Thankfully, relactation is possible. It may take some time and effort, but it is possible. If there’s one word to describe the whole process, it is that it’s a challenge. 

The process isn’t easy for all parents since some moms would relactate faster than others. 

From what I’ve researched, relactation can take as fast as a few days. Nonetheless, there are a few helpful tips you can do to speed up the process, like the following:

However, some studies show that when you relactate, the milk supply isn’t the same as before. Some parents might resort to formula milk, especially if there isn’t enough breast milk. 

What Is Relactation?

What Is Relactation

Relactation is a process where the body has to start producing milk again. This happens when moms want to start breastfeeding again after several weeks or months of stopping.

It’s commonly experienced by mothers who had a previous child or even among first-time moms who need to increase their milk supply

Mothers have their own motivation for wanting to relactate. Some of the reasons I’ve discovered include the following:

  • Inability to breastfeed after birth, which stopped milk production 
  • Switching from formula milk to breast milk 
  • Donating breast milk to babies in need 

Regardless of your motivation, always ask your doctor for the best ways to start your relactation process.

Why Would You Want to Relactate?

Why Would You Want to Relactate

Relactation isn’t always easy, and not many mothers are successful. Nevertheless, it never hurts to keep trying. Below, I’ve discussed reasons why some mothers choose to relactate:

Change in Work Conditions

Some moms who return to work after giving birth don’t breastfeed their babies. They aren’t able to pump or hand express milk because of their schedule. As a result, they use formula milk instead. 

By the time their schedule has freed up and they’re ready to breastfeed, they’ll have to relactate to get a steady milk supply. 

Formula Intolerance

Some moms choose to use formula milk rather than breast milk. Unfortunately, some babies have an intolerance to the formula. 

As a result, moms have to relactate and find ways to naturally increase their breast milk at home. 

Medical Conditions

Some mothers undergo treatment or medical care for health conditions, preventing them from breastfeeding. 

They might be taking some medicine or ingesting food that could affect the quality of their breast milk. 

But once the condition has passed, mothers choose to relactate to finally provide their baby with breast milk. 

How Can You Relactate?

How Can You Relactate

Many moms share their success stories on how they were able to relactate. I’ve listed some of them here to help you find a solution that works for you:

Try Breastfeeding Three Times a Day

A good way to start is by trying to breastfeed your baby. Give yourself 20 to 30 minutes to wait until there’s milk production. If there’s none, you can always try again after a few hours. 

Doing this helps signal your body that you want to produce milk. There may also be instances when one breast won’t produce milk as quickly as the other. 

Stay patient and continue this routine until you have a steady flow in both breasts. 

Use an Electric Breast Pump

If your baby doesn’t want to breastfeed, you can use an electric breast pump to stimulate milk production

You can start pumping for 15 minutes straight, at least every three hours. Continue doing this until you build a good supply. 

Store your breast milk properly so your baby can drink it later.

Seek Professional Help

The beauty of seeking help from your doctor is they can always give you effective solutions on how to relactate. 

Not just that, but they can also prescribe some medicines that could help, like birth control pills. 

Always contact your doctors if the medication doesn’t work or you’re experiencing adverse side effects. 

Your doctor can even give you a set of guidelines on what you should and shouldn’t do, like the foods you should avoid

Signs That You’re Relactating

Signs That You’re Relactating

After a while, you might see some signs of success that your relactation process is going well. I’ve listed some of those signs here:

Full and Tender Breasts

One of the first signs most moms share is that their breasts feel heavier and more tender than before. 

This is a good sign that the body has finally received the signal you’re trying to relactate. 

Leaking Milk 

Wet spots on your bra are a good sign that you’re relactating. If you notice this while at home, you can use a breast pump and collect as much milk as you can produce. 

Keep in mind that your left and right breast won’t leak at the same time. Not just that, but the other might produce more milk than the other. Don’t be frustrated when this happens. 

Increased Milk Production

Make sure to take note of how much milk you produce each time you pump

This is a good way to track if there’s any progress in your relactation. It’s always a good sign if your milk supply gradually increases each time you pump. 

Once you experience a letdown, take advantage of it and continue pumping. Make sure to eat nutritious food so your baby can take advantage of its benefits.


No relactation journey is the same since some mothers experience success faster than others! As long as you stay motivated and persistent, you can relactate in no time. 

Always ask for help from your doctor about the best steps you can take. They’ll be able to give you sound advice that can ease your mind through this journey. 

When you start feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, pause and breathe. Recompose your thoughts and remember why you’re trying to relactate in the first place. 

Josie Mariano
Josie Mariano

Hello, my name is Josie Mariano, and I’m proud to say I’m a soon-to-be mom.
Although my partner and I are still waiting for our firstborn to arrive, we’re already doing whatever it takes to prepare for our baby’s needs.
I’ve been joining a lot of parenting forums and asking my doctors for advice on how to prepare for my baby. They’ve all been very informative and I was able to spot the areas I still need to work on.
At the same time, I also rely on my mom for tips on what to do during my pregnancy journey.
With everything that I’ve learned so far, I’d like to share these experiences to fellow parents and soon-to-be parents!