Navigating the Formula Shortage: Is Relactation Even Right for You? 

To all new parents struggling with the shortage of infant formula: Your frustrations are real, your stress is normal and you are not alone.

At Pacify, our nationwide network of doulas and lactation consultants are video chatting live, every day, with pregnant people and new parents who are understandably scared about this formula shortage. In our eyes, infant feeding issues and questions are always an emergency – and they become even more urgent when formula is limited.

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For many parents, formula is a critical part of their baby’s nutrition. Breastfeeding isn’t an option for many in the LGBTQ+ community, people who take certain types of medication, parents who have adopted babies, and people who are survivors of sexual trauma. Some parents cannot produce enough milk and some parents simply don’t want to breastfeed. No matter how parents feed their babies, they should be respected and supported.

While it’s not the right option for everyone, some parents have called Pacify with questions about increasing their milk supply after they have slowed or stopped breastfeeding. This process is called relactation. Relactation can help parents of infants replace or supplement formula feedings during this shortage.

Here are a few tips for parents considering relactating:
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  • Set a reasonable relactation goal. Aim to supplement your formula feeding with breastmilk. Adding one or two breast milk feedings per-day can help make your formula supply last longer – it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
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  • Put your baby skin-to-skin often. Putting your baby next to your chest triggers a physiological response to support milk production. This is an important first step in trying to relactate.
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  • Try to breastfeed or pump. Try to breastfeed or pump at least 8-12 times per 24 hour period for 15-20 minutes.
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  • Remember, you don’t have to breastfeed. Pumping and putting your breast milk in a bottle is an option.

Whether or not relactation is possible, parents can call Pacify 24/7 with any infant feeding questions.

While we cannot help parents access the formula they need, we can provide clear advice from kind providers during this formula shortage.

If you want to speak with one of our Pacify experts about feeding your baby during this formula shortage, download the Pacify app and use the code GETHELPNOW at sign-up. We’re offering this for free until June 30.

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