Thursday, March 5, 2015

Relactation training with Arugaan

Last month, I had the opportunity to learn from Arugaan's Nanay Ines Fernandez and Nanay Rechilda about how to counsel women who wish to relactate.  Relactation means helping women who have stopped nursing their babies to go back to breastfeeding.  Another case is for adoptive moms who want to breastfeed their babies.

Nanay Ines explains the importance of lactation massages (which involves the whole body)

The most important thing I have learned is to believe in our capacity as women to produce milk and be comfortable with our own bodies.  Basically, we all have stored milk in our bodies waiting to be stimulated.  The best way to do is through lactation massages and direct feeding the baby.

For moms who haven't nursed their baby or had stopped breastfeeding for a long time, it is still possible to breastfeed but it involves a lot work so you have to be committed and keep an open mind.  The priority of course is making sure the baby is fed so this might involve giving the baby donated breast-milk.  This is usually given via cup and / or drip drop feeding.  Drip drop feeding involves letting milk drip via spoon to the mom breast as she directs feed her baby.  The beauty of this is it encourages the baby to direct feed  (by speeding up the milk flow).

In line with this, one of the things you have to be ready for is giving up the bottle all together.  You feed your baby direct, via cup, and in some cases, a wet nurse.  A baby and mom who aren't used to direct feeding may need help from a mommy-baby-nursing duo.  A nursing mom can help a non-nurser position properly and a nursing baby's latch can help proper stimulate a re-lactating mom's milk supply and flow.

The concept may seem new, intimidating and complicated for some, but it can be done.  This is also one of the ways that best shows how breastfeeding success involves support from the people around the mom and child.  

Why go through all the hard work? Moms who relactate do so for various reasons but the bottomline is they are motivated by the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks of not doing so.  Some moms felt they didn't get the proper support and information in the beginning and are hoping for a second chance.  It may not be easy but its time and energy well spent.  Of course, as breastfeeding peer counselors, we really hope that with the proper information and support, a mom will be able to breastfeed successfully from the start.  However, it is comforting to know that just in case things do not go as planned, there are other options.

with fellow trainees, Nanay Ines, Nanay Rech, and moms who helped us get some hands on experience during traning

Thank You to the ladies of LATCH and Arugaan for the opportunity :)

Photos courtesy of LATCH Facebook Page

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