Inducing Lactation & Re-Lactation

It’s worth noting that no matter which method of lactation induction you choose, working closely with an IBCLC is essential, and a strict and disciplined milk removal schedule is required. The only scientifically proven way to make more milk is to frequently remove milk. Throughout this post, we’ll refer to inducing lactation, but if you’re trying to re-lactate, the same principles apply.

There are several ways to induce lactation: hormone therapy, natural supplements, or even just frequent nipple stimulation.

Hormone Therapy
This is the most aggressive method to attempt lactation induction. The most commonly used protocol is called the Newman-Goldfarb Protocol – as in Jack Newman and Lenore Goldfarb. If you’re going to take this route, you absolutely must be working with a health professional to determine the best course of action for your situation.
Ideally, you start making some milk by the time baby arrives, and then putting baby to breast continues the stimulation of milk production. Any supplementation to feeding the baby should be done with a supplemental nursing system to increase milk production.
The above picture is a starter supplemental nursing system. It’s good if you’re supplementing a small amount. (link)
Above is a larger one. If you’re just getting started pumping but you want to supplement baby at the breast, I’d get this one. (link)
You’ll need to replace the SNS (at least the tubing) every month or so, depending on how often you’re using it.
This website talks about the Newman-Goldfarb protocol in a LOT more detail.

Natural Supplements
Some women can’t or don’t want to take prescription meds to attempt to induce lactation. In this case, there is anecdotal evidence about the efficacy of some natural supplements.
Even if you go this route, it’s important to work with your health care provider to be sure there won’t be any interactions with drugs you may already be taking. Even though these supplements are natural, there may still be side effects, so it’s important to pay attention. Before taking any natural supplements, please consult with your doctor — we are not medical professionals, and we cannot report on the efficacy or safety of these products.
As with the hormonal protocol, the most important part of using natural supplements to induce lactation is to pump, pump, pump. Strive to pump every 2-3 hours during the day and every 4 at night. Before any milk comes out, pump for 15 minutes; after you start making milk, pump for 5 minutes after the milk stops flowing.
Nipple stimulation
In this situation, you simply pump. Strive to pump every 2-3 hours during the day and every 4 at night.
In all of these situations, you want to use hand on pumping. Check out our post on pumping tips for getting the most out of your efforts.

Here are some resources that we’ve found helpful:
Lenore Goldfarb’s website —
Jack Newman’s website —
Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding – this book is so full of good info, and it is great to have a hard copy resource to look through. The revised edition (at the time of writing this) is only available on Canadian Amazon —

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