You might think that, if you don’t start breastfeeding your baby right from the beginning, that it’s not an option. Of course, it’s ideal to breastfeed right from the start. However, if you did start out feeding your baby formula and have decided that you’d like to give breastfeeding a try (or another try) it’s not impossible.
The fact of the matter is that every woman lactates (barring a health condition that prevents it). A woman who is not pregnant and never has been produces small amounts of what could become breast milk. Pregnancy helps prepare your body for breastfeeding, of course, and once you do breastfeed your body will respond to your baby’s need.
You see, as you breastfeed your baby, your body is going to produce more milk. The more milk that your baby drinks, the more that you’re going to lactate. Likewise, if you’re not breastfeeding your body is going to slow down its production of milk.
That production doesn’t stop, however. If you allow your baby to start to breastfeed later on, your body will start to produce more and more breast milk until your body is making enough to make sure that the nutritional needs of your baby are met.
If you are trying to breast feed late and you find that you aren’t producing quite enough milk to satisfy baby at first, don’t be discouraged. One thing you can do to help nature along is to induce lactation by using a breast pump regularly. You should use the pump every three hours or so until you are producing enough milk to satisfy your baby without using the pump. Of course, this also gives you breast milk which you can use to bottle feed your baby if need be, helping her to receive more and more of her nutrition through breast milk, which has been shown to be considerably more healthy for babies than infant formula.
The other thing that can be challenging is getting your baby to make the switch from the bottle to your breast. Be patient, however. This will take time, but she will get the hang of things soon enough. If you have trouble, consider talking to a lactation consultant. She may be able to give you some good advice about getting things going.