There are many moms who, after trying to breastfeed in those first few days and weeks after baby is born, feel like giving up. Some stick it out, some don’t. Now, it doesn’t make you a bad mom if you’re unable or unwilling to breastfeed. Yet, it often happens that you’ll start to feel some regret down the road, wishing that you had been able to breastfeed.
The good news is that it’s not too late to start breastfeeding, as long as your baby is still on the bottle. While it’s easiest to breastfeed if you start right away after he’s born, you can still start up and give it another chance down the road.
The key issue, if you start breastfeeding late, is the amount of milk you produce. After a little while, your milk supply will start to dry up. That being said, you can induce lactation. Stimulation of the breast, especially in the weeks following pregnancy, can help to stimulate lactation, and start things going again.
If you start breastfeeding after the age of one week old, you might consider using a breast pump to get things started. You can use a breast pump every two or three hours. Using it on a regular basis can stimulate lactation, bringing you to the point where (eventually) you’re going to produce enough to feed your baby.
This process – of starting breast milk production up again at some point after pregnancy – is known as “relactation.” It can be more difficult to get started, but once you’re started you may have no problem producing enough for baby.
Another issue you’re going to face if you start later on is getting your baby to move from bottle to breast. She’ll probably have a hard time of it at first, and she may not take to it right away. She will probably hesitate, but if you consistently offer her the breast she’s likely to catch on before too long.
If you’re interested in starting breastfeeding down the road, talk to a lactation consultant or your doctor. They may have any number of resources that can help you get started, and can also be a source of support.