We’ve lost count of how many moms, while bottle feeding their babies, have said, “I wish I had breastfed my baby.” The good news is that it’s not too late. If your baby is still on the bottle, you can still breastfeed her.
Many young mothers have been misinformed when it comes to breastfeeding. They believe that once they have started bottle feeding, there is no going back to breast feed their babies. While it is true that breastfeeding is easiest if you start from the time baby is born and breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of baby’s life, it is NOT true that you can never breastfeed after you start bottle feeding.
All women lactate to one degree or another. Even women who have never been pregnant can often produce breast milk through induced lactation. Women produce more breast milk in response to increased stimulation of the breasts. Of course, it is easier for women who have recently had a baby, as the hormone levels in your body are already prepared for lactation. But it is possible for women with older babies, or even adoptive mothers, to breast feed their babies.
If your baby is less than a week old, you should be able to breastfeed him normally. Simply breastfeed him every two to three hours. If you are having trouble producing enough milk, use a breast pump regularly to increase your lactation.
If baby is older than a week old, you will want to use the breast pump every two to three hours until you are producing enough milk to feed your baby. This may take a while, but it is well worth your effort. Studies have repeatedly shown that breastfeeding provides tremendous benefits, both for moms and for their babies. The process of training your body to produce breast milk again like this is called relactation.
Of course, if your baby is used to bottle feeding, it may take some convincing to get her to try the breast. That’s OK. Don’t be afraid to keep trying, and don’t feel like you’ve failed if baby doesn’t take to it right away. Babies are sometimes hesitant about new things. She will eventually catch on if you consistently offer it to her.
Consider joining a breastfeeding support group or enlisting the help of a lactation coach. You will find that there are many people who are eager to help and encourage you in your efforts to breastfeed your baby.