What are the symptoms of relactation?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

Symptoms of relactation can vary from person to person, but there are some common signs to look out for. It’s important to note that relactation is the process of reestablishing breastfeeding after a period of not breastfeeding or minimal breastfeeding. Here are some symptoms that women may experience during relactation:

1. Breast or chest tenderness or swelling: One of the first signs of relactation is often breast or chest tenderness and swelling. This can occur on one or both sides and is usually a result of increased blood flow and milk production in the breast tissue.

2. Warmth of an area of the breast(s) or chest to the touch: As the milk production increases during relactation, some women may notice that the affected area feels warm to the touch. This is a normal response and indicates that the milk ducts are becoming active again.

3. Thickening of breast or chest tissue or a lump: In some cases, relactating women may experience thickening of the breast or chest tissue, or even the development of a lump. This can be due to the reactivation of milk glands and the growth of milk ducts. It’s important to note that any new lump or thickening should be checked by a healthcare provider to rule out any other potential causes.

4. Pain or a burning sensation continuously or while feeding the baby: Some women may experience pain or a burning sensation in the breast or chest area during relactation, especially while breastfeeding. This can be due to the increased sensitivity of the breast tissue as it adjusts to the increased stimulation.

5. Redness of some of the skin on the breast or chest: In rare cases, relactation may cause redness or inflammation of the skin in the breast or chest area. This can be a sign of an infection, such as mastitis, and should be evaluated by a healthcare provider.

It’s important to remember that these symptoms can vary in severity and duration from person to person. Some women may experience only mild discomfort, while others may have more pronounced symptoms. If you are considering relactation or experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s recommended to consult with a lactation consultant or healthcare provider who can provide guidance and support throughout the process.

In addition to these symptoms, it’s also worth noting that relactation can be an emotional journey for many women. It may bring up feelings of frustration, doubt, or even guilt. It’s important to seek emotional support and surround yourself with a supportive network during this time. Remember, every woman’s relactation journey is unique, and it’s okay to seek help and take things at your own pace.