Freebie Friday: 1 FREE L-CERP From Gold Lactation: “Promoting Self-Management of Breast & Nipple Pain During Breastfeeding” by Dr. Ruth Lucas

Freebie Friday

Looking for a FREE CERP for IBCLC certification or recertification? Or just looking to expand your lactation knowledge base? Well, either way, we’ve got you covered thanks to Gold Lactation.

Wondering what this presentation is all about? Dr. Ruth Lucas PhD, RLC, CLS will be speaking on: “Promoting Self-Management of Breast and Nipple Pain During Breastfeeding.” So mark your calendars for Monday, September 9, 2019. You can reserve your FREE seat here.  Sign-up is free and you’ll be given free viewing access for 4 weeks.

Thanks for the freebie Gold Lactation!

Do you have an idea for FREEBIE FRIDAY? Don’t be shy! Please do share – I promise to give you full credit. If you’re a company, private practice, NGO, etc. and have a FREE opportunity or item to offer to Galactablog readers, please drop me a line. As long as you are WHO Code Compliant, you’ll be given full consideration.

You can contact me here or email me at: galactablog@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Lactation Program Review: Lactation Education Resources (LER) Lactation Consultant Training Program & Breastfeeding Specialist Certificate

Lactation Program Review: 

Lactation Education Resources (LER)

Lactation Consultant Training Program

with ‘ Certified Breastfeeding Specialist’ Certificate (CBS)

Reviewer: Bridget Whiteley-Ross, RN, CBS

Submitted July 9, 2019
Published Sept. 1, 2019

Year enrolled in Program: 2018

How long did it take you to complete the program? 1 year

Certification or Certificate Offered‘Certified Breastfeeding Specialist’ (CBS) certificate. See here for a detailed course syllabus.

Name of Instructor(s) – Vergie Hughes, MS, RN, IBCLC, FILCA and many others. Editor’s Note: See here – pg. 4 for complete list of LER Faculty Members.

Delivery of Program – Online delivery for 90 hours of lactation education 

Books & Materials RequiredBreastfeeding and Human Lactation 5th Edition. Editor’s Note: LER recommends these books for its courses.

Cost of Program (Including books, materials, application fees, etc.) – $900+ USD

See here for listings and cost of various lactation training programs offered by LER.

# of L-CERPs, Nursing Contact Hours, CEUs, CPEs, etc. offered – 90 L-CERPs, 90 Nursing Contact Hours and 90 CPE Level II.

Editor’s Note: If you don’t need all 90 hours, LER also has an option that offers 45 L-CERP’s, 45 Nursing Contact Hours and 45 CPE’s. See here for more details and pricing.

Do this program’s hours meet partial or full requirements for the IBCLC exam’s lactation specific training requirement?

Yes, it meets the full 90 hour IBCLC lactation education requirement.

What did you like about the program?

It had many highly qualified IBCLC instructors, covering a wide and thorough topic range on lactation and breastfeeding.

What did you dislike about the program?  

Some instructors style preferred more than others but all were very informative.

What would you change about the program? 

Lengthy but probably necessary.

How rigorous/time consuming did you find the program? 

A few hours a day will help certify you within several months.

Did you feel this particular program used current, evidence-based resources and training materials? Yes.

Do you feel the program was clear in the scope of practice in which you’re allowed to practice? Yes.

Was there clear delineation between this program’s scope of practice and that of an IBCLC? Yes.

Did the program discuss when and how to refer to an IBCLC if necessary? Yes.

Would you recommend this program to others?  Yes, I would.

Knowing what you know now, would you take this program again?

I would definitely take this program again

Do you feel the course and/or certification helped you obtain your goals?  It gave me a solid start toward IBCLC pathway.

Are you currently an IBCLC? Not yet, working on pathway 1 or 3, trying to figure best Pathway for my schedule.

Are you currently working in the lactation field? If yes, feel free to expand on your position. If no, feel free to describe what type of work you’re doing, if you’d like to be in the lactation field and what you feel are the barriers stopping you.

I’m a registered nurse who worked NICU for years and stopped working but kept an active license. I took a break to raise a family and exclusively breasted my four children, for over eight years, total. I had some issues breastfeeding that i was able to work through successfully and I’m an avid supporter of breastfeeding! I’m currently looking for a way to achieve the hours required to take the IBCLC and i’m finding this to be a bit tricky.

Does this particular program/credential require you to recertify? If so, how long does the credential last and what is required to recertify?

The ‘Certified Breastfeeding Specialist’ credential obtained from LER is valid for 5 years.

Any additional comments you’d like to add?

This course was excellent and addressed issues that increased my knowledge base greatly.

Would you like to write a review of a Lactation Training Program that you’ve taken? If so, don’t be shy! You can access the review form directly from Galactablog. Or online via Google Forms here.

See here for more information on LER’s lactation training programs, along with a comparison of similar lactation training programs.

**Disclaimer – The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the reviewer and do not reflect those of Galactablog. In order to remain objective and unbiased, Galactablog does not endorse or associate with any particular Lactation Training program. It is the reader’s responsibility to confirm program details (cost, dates, # of hours offered, program requirements, etc.) with the program itself as details can change once this post is published.

It’s also important to note that these views are not the only source of information about this particular lactation training program. See here for more program details in addition to a comparison of similar Lactation Training Programs. If you’re interested in Lactation Training Programs that offer a clinical practice component, see here.

Freebie Friday: Free Presentation, “Does Breastfeeding Protect Maternal Mental Health? The Role of Oxytocin & Stress” by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett from Gold Lactation


Kathleen Kendall-Tackett
PhD, IBCLC, FAPA

Gold Lactation is back with another freebie! This time it’s a free keynote presentation marking the beginning of its 2019 Gold Lactation Online Conference.

This year, the title of the Gold’s keynote presentation is:
“Does Breastfeeding Protect Maternal Mental Health? The Role of Oxytocin & Stress” by the esteemed Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, IBCLC, FAPA.

Best of all, this presentation is FREE! You can access the recording until April 19, 2019 (or until June 3, 2019 if you’re registered for Gold’s Conference). Sign up here for instant access to Kathleen’s talk.


FYI: CERPS are ONLY provided if you’re registered for Gold’s full 2019 Lactation Conference. If you’re not, you still have access to this FREE keynote presentation and will be awarded a Certificate of Attendance at no cost.


Do you have an idea for FREEBIE FRIDAY? Don’t be shy! Share it with Galactablog – you’ll be given full credit. If you’re a company, private practice, NGO, etc. and have a FREE opportunity or item to offer Galactablog readers, let us know. As long as you are WHO Code Compliant, you’ll be given full consideration.

You can contact us here or at galactablog@gmail.com


Tuesday’s Tips: Helpful Counseling Tips for Medications, Herbs & Galactagogues from Dr. Frank Nice


As a lactation specialist or one aspiring-to-be, you may find yourself getting asked questions regarding the safety of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs by your breastfeeding clients. Or maybe it’s not medications, but the safety of herbs or the use of Galactagogues.


As lactation professionals (and those aspiring to be), it’s essential we stay within the scope of our training and certification. Diagnosing and prescribing prescription and OTC medications, herbs and galactagogues are outside the scope of practice for IBCLCs (and other lactation specialists) – unless of course, you’re also a licensed health care provider who has the ability to diagnose and prescribe medication. What we CAN do as lactation specialists is to counsel our breastfeeding clients and provide them with evidence-based resources so that they can make an informed decision that is best for themselves and their family.


In the Middle East where I used to live and practice, it was not common practice to question your physician’s recommendations, ask questions, or even to begin an open dialogue about potential alternatives, risks and benefits, etc. To question your doctor was a big no-no and it was something that just wasn’t done.

But because my client’s (and their infant’s) health and well-being come first, I encouraged every single one to bring every single evidence-based resources to their health care provider – to ask questions, demand answers and to begin an open dialogue. Yes, I admit I probably committed a few cultural faux pas, but it was worth it.

I found this not only enabled those I worked with to make informed decisions that worked best for them and their families, but it EMPOWERED them as well. The cherry on top was that it also educated health care professionals on lactation issues, which was often desperately lacking. Due to this approach, I was able to establish working relationships with local health care providers and to network. It was a win-win.


Dr. Frank Nice, RPh, DPA, CPHP

You may be wondering where to start when counseling your breastfeeding families on prescription and OTC drugs, herbs and galactagogues. How do you go about it? What approach would you take? What questions should you be asking and answering? Well, thanks for Dr. Frank Nice over at Nice Breastfeeding, he’s got all of this covered.

He has shared a wealth of information in order to help you help your breastfeeding families. Best of all, it’s all FREE and immediately accessble – just click here for practical, relevant counseling tips that you can begin applying with soon as the situation arises.

This link is divided into 3 sections: 1) About Mom, 2) About Baby, 3) Useful PDFs (on several topics including but not limited to Domperidone, Galactalogues and Herbs, and Recreational Drugs). These are free, downloadable and are perfect resources to share with your breastfeeding families.

And don’t forget to encourage your clients to share these handouts with their health care providers – not only will this create an open dialogue of how to best approach their situation and meet their needs, but it will also help to educate health care providers as well.

There is also a helpful ‘Patient Resources’ section with  Useful Links that you can share with your expecting and breastfeeding clients. Again, these are free!


Dr. Frank Nice, RPh, DPA, CPHP,  founder of Nice Breastfeeding, has over 40+ experience specializing in medications and  breastfeeding. He has also authored 2 books: Nonprescription Drugs for the Breastfeeding Mother, 2nd Edition (2011) and The Galactogogue Recipe Book (2017).


“Stretching Conference Dollars in 2019” (Bonus: a list of lactation conferences with links to registrations) by Christy Jo Hendricks

Happy-New-Year-Status-2019


Happy New Year! And who can think of a better way to ring in the New Year than by intellectually stimulating your mind (and your hearts because we all know pretty much anything lactation-related makes our hearts happy). You may be asking, how do I enrich my knowledge-base and make my heart happy?


Christy Jo Hendricks, IBCLC, RLC, CLE, CCCE, CD

Well, that’s simple and the credit goes to Christy Jo, IBCLC, RLC, CD (DONA) & CAPPA CLE Faculty, owner of Birthing, Bonding & Breastfeeding, and her new, exciting initiative already in the works – Lactation University.

For those of you who weren’t aware, Christy Jo has also just recently founded an award-winning IBCLC prep coursewhich has a 100% IBCLE exam pass rate from its first year of students. Incredible, awe-inspiring and just plain brilliant!


Are you ready to see the list of all of the upcoming lactation conferences in 2019? Then just scroll down to the bottom of this post and you’ll find it there – with links to registration and costs. Thanks Christy Jo for making this so easy for us.


Are you wondering how the heck to chose which lactation conference to attend? Christy Jo has some helpful advice:


“The main considerations when selecting which educational opportunity to attend include: cost, location, date, speaker line-up and networking opportunities. Many attendees also make decisions based on who the conference will benefit, or the reputation of the organization hosting the event. Audiences may also select a conference if it provides Continuing Education Units or CEUs to attendees. I usually attend several low-cost, high-quality, local conferences and one or two international conferences annually.”


For more information on how Christy Jo stretches her hard-earned pennies to be able to take advantage (and afford) these incredible, enriching opportunities? Simply click here to find out.


Are you interested in what else Christy Jo is up to? My question is, how does she sleep?! She has so much to offer – so it’s definitely worth checking her out. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, her professional blog, professional lactation website and more, including, but not limited to helpful and practical lactation education items that are perfect for home and hospital visits, trainings and breastfeeding classes and a picture book portraying real families breastfeeding, which goes a long way in normalizing breastfeeding titled, “Mommy Feeds Baby.”


And don’t forget to sign up for Birthing, Bonding and Breastfeeding’s (BBB) FREE newsletter here


Free Drug Safety & Lactation Resource List

Free Drug Safety & Lactation Resource List


Author’s Note:  This post used to be a static page. I turned it into a blog post to make it more accessible and easier to search. Providing lactation support is hard enough, it’s my goal to make whatever I can easier and simplified for lactation specialists and those aspiring-to-be.


Do your clients ever call you wondering if a particular medication is compatible with breastfeeding? Many times nursing mothers are told to “pump and dump” or wean by their physicians when in fact, it’s unnecessary. Other times, it’s assumed if a medication is over-the-counter or an herb, it’s completely safe. This is not always the case.


Check below for the most widely used evidence-based resources in order to evaluate drug risk and safety during lactation. This list is arranged by alphabetical order and is by no means exhaustive, so if you’ve found another database or resource helpful, let me know so I can add it.


Questions for lactation professionals and nursing mothers to consider when evaluating risk levels of drugs, herbs, chemicals, etc. during lactation:

1) Will the drug, etc. affect my baby?
2) Will the drug, etc. affect lactation?
3) What are the risks of weaning?
4) What are the options?

For tips on how to counsel your breastfeeding clients on medications, galactagogues and herbs, see these tips by Dr. Frank J. Nice, RPh, DPA, CPHP.


Electronic Databases 


Breastfeeding Network –  Provides FREE Fact Sheets on a wide array of drugs, medical procedures and health conditions and compatibility with breastfeeding available here. These are great to share with your clients (and to encourage them to print them out and discuss safety concerns or potential alternatives with their health care provider). Also provides a detailed description of an ‘Introduction to the Safety of Drugs Passing Through Breastmilk’ here. For common FAQs concerning breastfeeding and generic medications, see here. Also contains general ‘Information on Breastfeeding’here, ‘Thinking about Breastfeeding’ here, ‘Breastfeeding and Perinatal Mental Health’ here and common ‘Questions about your Baby’here.

TIP: when using drug search databases: Since drug names can differ by country and even more so if it’s a generic vs. name brand drug, if the drug you are searching does not show up in the database search engine, then google that particular drug for the active ingredient and search by that instead.

e-lactancia – Compiled by pediatricians affiliated with APILAM. Uses risk levels 0 (no risk) -3 (very high risk). Covers “medical prescriptions, phytotherapy (plants), homeopathy and other alternative products, cosmetic and medical procedures, contaminants, maternal and infant diseases and more.” For common FAQs concerning lactation and medications, see here. Very easy to use and understand. A great resource to share with families so they can look up their own medications. Available in English and Spanish.

Infant Risk Center – Researched and compiled by Dr. Thomas Hale, PhD and author of the renowned and widely used medical lactation risk and reference guide, ‘Hale’s Medications and Mothers’ Milk.’ This reference guide is updated every 2 years, with the most recent edition published in 2017 and a new edition coming out in 2019). This resource uses lactation risk categories 1 (safest) – 5 (contraindicated). It covers prescription medications, chemicals, herbals, vitamins and radioisotopes/radiocontrast agents. This reference guide is also affiliated with the Infant Risk Center at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. A detailed description of ‘Drug Entry Into Human Milk’ is available here. If you have a question regarding a particular drug, you can call a free helpline at (806) 352 – 2519.

Medications & Mother’s Milk is an electronic database also established by Dr. Hale. Annual subscriptions are available at varied prices for individuals and groups/institutions. Mobile apps are also available for both androids and iOS – one is for healthcare professionals ($9.99) and the other is a simplified version for parents ($3.99). You can view options here.

LactMed – Sponsored by the National Institute for Health (NIH)’s US National Library of Medicine TOXNET Toxicology Data Network. It provides peer-reviewed, fully referenced, evidence-based resources. Users can look up lactation risk of both drugs and chemicals. This site is highly medicalized and may be too versed in “medical speak” for the average consumer to fully understand. LactMed also offers a mobile free app for both android and iOS.

MotherRisk – Sponsored by The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. It provides evidence-based information about the compatibility of prescription and over-the-counter medications, herbal products, chemicals, radiation, chronic diseases, infections, occupational, environmental, and other exposures during pregnancy and lactation. Also covers general FAQs about medications and lactation. Various brochures are available here. Offers a FREE MotherRisk Hotline: 1-877-439-2744, which is open Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 12pm and 1 to 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.


Additional Drug Safety & Lactation Resources


Breastfeeding &  Human Lactation Study Center (which is a part of the Division of Neonatology at University of Rochester Medical Center’s Golisano Children’s Hospital) under the direction of Ruth A. Lawrence, M.D. Healthcare professionals can call (585) 275-0088 at no cost for information on drug risk and compatibility and to consult on difficult breastfeeding issues. Note: This hotline is for healthcare professionals ONLY, not for parents or your breastfeeding clients. For more information, see here. See here for a breastfeeding site geared specifically toward your breastfeeding clients and families.

Cindy Curtis, RNC, IBCLC, CCE, CD of Breastfeeding Online has compiled a comprehensive and beautifully organized list of lactation risk and compatibility with direct links to articles on breastfeeding and alcohol, herbals, epidurals, antidepressants, social drugs, cigarettes, prescription and non-prescription drugs and more. This is an accessible and quite handy resource to share with your breastfeeding clients or lactation specialists-in-training.

Frank J. Nice, RPH, DPA, CPHP of Nice Breastfeeding has written several books on medications and compatibility with breastfeeding: ‘Nonprescription Drugs for the Breastfeeding Mother’ (2017) here. ‘Recreational Drugs and Drugs Used to Treat Addicted Mothers: Impact on Pregnancy and Breastfeeding’ (2016) available here. ‘The Galactagogue Recipe Book’ (2017) which discusses dosage, uses, and cautions of galactogogues here. There are free downloadable pdfs on a wide array of lactation and drug risk categories including herbs and galactagogues, recreational drug use and Domperidone are available hereFree patient resources with helpful links are available here. You can find information for healthcare providers on how to counsel breastfeeding mothers who have drug-related questions here.

International Breastfeeding Centre established by Dr. Jack Newman, MD, IBCLC provides a general overview of maternal medications and breastfeeding in a Q&A blog post format, addressing general FAQs, whether or not to continue breastfeeding, how drugs get into breast milk and lactation compatibility with specific medications here. If you have a question about a particular drug’s compatibility with breastfeeding (or you’re dealing with a difficult breastfeeding case in general and would like some guidance and feedback), Dr. Newman answers emails from Lactation Specialists at no charge here. Information sheets on a wide array of lactation topics are available here, many of which are translated into different languages here.

Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC of Kellymom has compiled lists of lactation risk databases in English and other languages, common FAQs on specific drugs, treatments and medical procedures, lactation risk resources and a detailed list of reference links here.This is an accessible, easy to understand resource to share with your breastfeeding clients.

La Leche League International (LLLI) has also published some articles and FAQ fact sheets on medications and breastfeeding. It also has a comprehensive resource of hyperlinked articles addressing breastfeeding with maternal illness, conditions, diseases and  if medications/treatments are compatible. LLLI’s site, including it’s articles (typically written  for mothers and parents by mothers (who are also breastfeeding counselors), are fantastic reat resources to share with nursing mothers and families as they are easily accessible, usually short and sweet, and written for an audience without a medical background. Just click on the title(s) below:

Wendy Jones, BSc, MSc, PhD, MRPharmS of Breastfeeding and Medication.This comprehensive site includes free downloadable Fact Sheets, evidence-based useful links on medication and breastfeeding, E-Learning Packages/Training Packs, aimed at GPs (latest cost was £40.00), which can be purchased here. She has also authored the books, “Breastfeeding and Medication.” (2018) and “Why Mothers’ Medication Matters” (2017).


Herbs & Breastfeeding


Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC of kellymom.com has created a simple, accessible resource list of specific herbals and natural treatment and compatibility with lactation here. For information on marijuana and breastfeeding, see here. These are both fantastic, easy to read and understand resources to share with your breastfeeding clients.

Sheila Humphrey, BSc, RN, IBCLC has written the ‘The Nursing Mother’s Herbal’ (2003) available here, which discusses the effects of a wide array of herbs, dietary supplements and natural remedies on lactation and lactation-related maladies such as mastitis, plugged ducts, thrush and more. Her book is organized into Herb Safety Categories A (no contraindications) – E (Avoid. Toxic plant with no justifiable medical use). See here for a more thorough description of the Herb Safety Categories and see here for a review of her book from LLLI.


This list is by no means exhaustive. If you have a evidence-based resource on drug safety and lactation that you recommend and it’s not included in the list, then please, send me a message with a description and relevant info so that I can include it. Thanks a bunch, xx

Freebie Friday: FREE Podcast on “Marijuana & Breastfeeding”


Yup, it’s the end of the week already. That means it’s time for FREEBIE FRIDAY! This week’s freebie is a FREE Podcast on “Marijuana and Breastfeeding”
by Anne Eglash MD, IBCLC and Karen Bodnar MD, IBCLC.


From the Institute for the Advancement of Breastfeeding & Lactation Education (IABLE) website:

“Join us to learn about the 2018 American Academy of Pediatrics statement on marijuana during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Dr. Bodnar summarizes the major points in the AAP’s 2018 statement on marijuana during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Learn the latest recommendations on how to counsel families regarding perinatal marijuana use!”

It was originally recorded in September 2018, but don’t worry, it’s still available as a podcast for free. Just click here to listen to it.

Quick tip: When you click on the link to view the Podcast, check out the “Programs” header on the left side of the site. You’ll find lots more FREE lactation resources including Podcasts, Videos, Breastfeeding Handouts, Breastfeeding Education for Healthcare Providers, Clinical
Questions for the Week, Conferences and more.

Happy listening (and learning). Oh, Happy Friday too!


Do you have an idea for FREEBIE FRIDAY? Don’t be shy! Share it with Galactablog – you will be given full credit. If you’re a company, private practice, NGO, etc. and have a FREE opportunity or item to offer to Galactablog readers, let us know. As long as you are WHO Code Compliant, you’ll be given full consideration. You can contact us here or email: galactablog@gmail.com. 

Freebie Friday: Free 0.25 L- CERP from Medscape – Earn in 30 minutes or less! + More Freebies!


Are you a new IBCLC who is trying to earn CERPS? Or maybe you’re a seasoned IBCLC who needs to recertify soon (or eventually). Or perhaps you’re an aspiring IBCLC who is piecemealing free/low-cost CERPs together to obtain the 90 hours of lactation education required to sit for the IBCLC exam. Maybe, you just love reading and learning new things! Whatever your case, this week’s freebie is definitely relevant to you (make sure to continue scrolling down, because there’s more freebies at the bottom of this post).

You may be asking yourself, “Well, what do I have to do to obtain this FREE 0.25 CERP)?” It’s quite easy actually and takes 30 minutes or less. All you do is read this article, How Does Marijuana Use Affect Lactating Mothers? by Diana Phillips & Charles P. Vega, MD and answer some questions. You must answer 75% of the questions correctly to obtain the CERP. That’s it! You get a free 0.25 L-CERP + some new knowledge.


Make sure to check out Medscape’s Multispecialty Activities: CME & Education site – There is a wide array of multispecialty FREE accredited activities you can do to earn FREE CERPs, continuing education credits and even to fulfill licensure requirements. This is not only relevant to IBCLCs but for other types of health professionals as well. Registration is FREE and you can sign up here for daily or weekly email updates if you choose.


On a personal note, I can’t take credit for this freebie myself – the credit goes to Debra Swank, RN BSN IBCLC who shared this fantastic find in a private lactation group. Thanks Debra, we appreciate you keeping us in the loop!


Do you have an idea for FREEBIE FRIDAY? Don’t be shy! Share it with Galactablog – you will be given full credit. If you’re a company, private practice, NGO, etc. and have a FREE opportunity or item to offer to Galactablog readers, let us know. As long as you are WHO Code Compliant, you’ll be given full consideration. You can contact us here or email: galactablog@gmail.com. 

Freebie Friday: “Lactation Business Coaching with Annie & Leah: Launching your Lactation Business” (Free Podcast)


Annie Frisbie, IBCLC, creator of  Paperless Private Practice and author of IBCLC Private Practice Essential Toolkit and Leah Jolly, BA, IBCLC, RLC  with Bay Area Breastfeeding are offering their Lactation Business Coaching podcast for free. Yup you read that right, it’s FREE! 


Click here to listen to Episode 1. If you prefer to go through iTunes directly, you can find the podcast here. Annie and Leah are a have a great rapport. They are a joy to listen to. I think they need their own reality show! I can’t wait for Episode 2.


Annie and Leah welcome your questions, comments and even ideas for future podcast topics here (or you can leave a comment on their show page). Reviews on iTunes are also welcome. You can find them on Facebook too!



Do you have an idea for FREEBIE FRIDAY? Don’t be shy! Share it with Galactablog – you will be given full credit. If you’re a company, private practice, NGO, etc. and have a FREE opportunity or item to offer to Galactablog readers, let us know. As long as you are WHO Code Compliant, you’ll be given full consideration. You can contact us here or email: galactablog@gmail.com. 

Guest Post: “Supporting Women Through Relactation” by Lucy Ruddle, IBCLC

Supporting Women Through Relactation

by Lucy Ruddle, IBCLC

Lucy Ruddle, IBCLC

Editor’s Introduction: Lucy Ruddle is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) who resides in the United Kingdom (UK). She’s a mother who has successfully relactated herself and runs a UK-based relactation Facebook group. She specializes in relactation and breastfeeding grief (which we all know often go hand-in-hand). If you’d like to learn more about Lucy, you can find her on Facebook here. She also has a fantastic blog where she’s published a wide array of lactation-related posts and resources.


Author’s note on language: Throughout this article, I refer to “Breastfeeding” however, I am aware that not everyone who lactates identifies with this specific term. The term “Chestfeeding” may be preferred – please do use whichever language you feel most comfortable with. I have used a broad range of terms such as Mother, Mum, she, they, person, parent etc. throughout this article. It is my aim to embody the diversity of language individuals relate to in the field of lactation.


It’s a bit of a mythical beast, relactation. It’s talked about across the parenting forums and Facebook groups around the world. It seems that barely an “I’ve stopped breastfeeding and I feel awful” post goes by without someone saying, “You know you can relactate, right?” And yet even in the field of lactation, practitioners aren’t always sure how to support parents asking them if it’s really possible to bring their milk back.


Let me start by saying a clear “YES”, relactation absolutely is possible. If humans can induce lactation, then, of course, they can produce milk after doing so once before. There are anecdotal reports of Grandmothers relactating to feed their grandchildren, and many of us are aware of the outstanding work currently happening to support refuges to rebuild milk supply so they can safely feed their babies.


However, what I often hear is women being told to “Just put baby to the breast.” Which seems very logical to be fair, so this may come as a surprise… “Just put baby to the breast” rarely works. I run a relactation group on Facebook and have relactated myself. Over the last 5 years, I have lost count of how many women I have supported through this process. I have also lost count of how many babies simply will not latch to an empty breast. These babies have been taking a bottle for at least a couple of weeks, and usually, they were exposed to one before mum stopped breastfeeding altogether. They are used to a silicone teat dripping or pouring a steady flow of milk straight down their throats. They rarely have the patience to play around with a breast which isn’t giving up the goods.

Of course, we should encourage mum to find out if baby will latch. Let’s be honest, a willing baby makes rebuilding milk supply a lot easier. BUT if baby won’t attach, and the adult keeps pushing the matter, then we are on a fast track to breast aversion. Let’s take this thing, breastfeeding, which is supposed to be connecting and lovely, and turn it into a battlefield, shall we? No. If baby doesn’t want to latch, then we drop the rope, as it were.

Lucy demonstrating her suggestion of bottle feeding near the breast.

Instead, parents can work on building in skin-to-skin contact. This may be through co-bathing, babywearing, baby massage etc. A lovely and easy way to get in regular and prolonged skin to skin is while feeding with the bottle. Mum can hold the bottle close to her breast and snuggle baby in close. This starts to rebuild the association that milk and breasts are related, and helps the parent to feel close and bonded to baby. When parents are feeling relaxed and close to their babies relactation tends to go a lot better. In fact, this is really important.

Here’s what tends to happen when someone wants to relactate: They are overwhelmed with guilt, shame, anger, confusion and grief for their experience of breastfeeding. The need to erase those feelings is so strong that they throw themselves into pumping, taking herbs, and demanding their GP prescribes Domperidone. And then, when things don’t happen quickly – they burn out and stop. They tell themselves they really can’t breastfeed, they have failed not once, but twice. That is potentially deeply damaging and we need to support families to avoid this happening.

When we instead focus on what parents actually miss about breastfeeding, we often learn that it boils down to the closeness.

We can recreate this with skin-to-skin contact and we can help Mum to learn that she is good and wise, and tuned into her Babe’s needs even without breastmilk. Once her healing here begins, the pumping won’t feel so desperate. She won’t be in such a hurry, won’t need quick results. She can think more clearly, be open to the idea that this might take many weeks, and that perhaps she will only be able to partially breastfeed until solids are introduced.

Once the hurt and grief are subsiding we can also begin to talk with the family about how breastfeeding is only a tiny bit about nutrition, and perhaps the breast/chest can become a lovely safe, relaxing space for reassurance, sleep and pain relief. Skin-to-skin – it’s my number one recommendation for relactation.

While Mum is rediscovering close, physical connection with her baby she can begin to rebuild her supply. A good breast pump isn’t essential, but if it’s an option then it will most likely make the process quicker. Mum needs to be pumping as close to 8x a day as she can manage, never going longer than 6 hours between pumping sessions. 15-20 minutes each breast is about right in the early days, finishing up with 5 minutes of hand expression. Generally, drops are seen quite quickly – days rather than weeks. The key here is consistency though. The breasts must be stimulated often to keep prolactin high and to keep the growing milk supply flowing so the breasts replace what’s been removed plus a bit more.

I firmly believe that our role as breastfeeding practitioners here isn’t to pressure the parent into expressing a certain number of times each day but to support them to find ways to pump as often as they feel able.

We can talk about putting baby in a bouncy chair which can be rocked with a foot while pumping, we can suggest roping in friends and family to hold baby, bring meals, run through a load of laundry, look after older siblings. We can encourage pumping to be seen as a chance for the parent to put their feet up with a favourite TV show or audio book. The list of creative ways to help pumping feel sustainable and less of a chore is endless.

Telling someone to pump every 2 – 3 hours for potentially several weeks, and then not helping that person find ways to achieve that goal is, in my opinion, unkind and only carrying out half a job.

The transition from bottle to breast needs to be carefully managed. As supply increases, the breast should be offered at regular intervals (no more than once every few days until baby is willing to latch, and once baby is happy at the breast, it can be offered before and after bottle feeds, or any time that just feels good) and pump afterward. Paced bottle feeding may give baby opportunity to show satiety cues and avoid overfeeding as they take more from the breast, but evidence to support this is woefully lacking. Frequent weight checks with a breastfeeding-friendly provider are very important and responding to any drop in centiles with an increase in supplements and pumping will protect Mother and baby as they work through this tricky part of their journey.

This is the point parents often begin to worry they can’t make enough milk, so they need a lot of emotional support as well as education around normal feeding behaviour and signs that baby is getting enough to help them transition to full breastfeeding and maintain it long term.

Gentle, empathic, positive care, focusing on how incredible mum is, how well her baby is growing, how dedicated she is, how connected to her baby she is etc., will all help bolster confidence in herself, her baby, and her body.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of counseling and listening skills when dealing with a family wanting to relactate. These parents are often hurting intensely and are vulnerable to PND and low self-esteem. Relactation can be a powerful way to empower a family, and the correct support can genuinely facilitate that and change lives.


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