RELACTATION – A review of experience and recommendations for practice

Elizabeth Hormann and Felicity Savage.

World Health Organization
Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, 1998


WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for at least the first 4 and if possible the first 6 months of an infant’s life, and continued breastfeeding with adequate complementary food for up to two years of age or more. Yet many infants stop breastfeeding in the first few weeks or months and, as a result, are at increased risk of illness, malnutrition and death.

Breastfeeding can however be re-established. A woman who has stopped breastfeeding her child, recently or in the past, can resume the production of breastmilk for her own or an adopted infant, even without a further pregnancy. This potentially life-saving measure is called relactation. Many women who relactate can produce enough milk to breastfeed an infant exclusively. A woman who has never been pregnant can also establish lactation, although the amount of milk produced is less often adequate for exclusive breastfeeding. This is called induced lactation.

In the past relactation and induced lactation were considered exceptional experiences and were not well researched. However, there are now sufficient reports to show that most women can relactate if they are motivated and have adequate information and support. Effective techniques have been learned empirically and enough is known to provide practical guidelines to enable mothers to relactate. It is the purpose of this review to make relevant information available to health workers caring for women and children who may be in need of such help.

A teljes dokumentum letölthető a WHO oldaláról.