Relactation to Those Who Wish to Swift from Formula to Breastfeeding

published in Tabloid Nakita – 622/March 2011 edition


Basically, we, the breastfeeding advocates are not the victims of polemic presence of bacteria E. Sakazakii in infant formula. With or without the news about this bacteria, we continue with our campaign: to support, promote and protect breastfeeding in Indonesia. Nevertheless, I must admit, this is a moment to remind the community on the importance of breastfeeding, and to return giving breastmilk.

Reason for not using breastmilk substitute:


  1. The formula milk ingredients. The formula milk comes from cow milk in which the composition has been altered similar to breastfeed milk. Unfortunately, the formula milk has been added un-natural composition which does not exist in cow milk such as DHA, AA, sfingomielin, lactofferin, etc. The cow milk composition is very limited compares to breastfeed milk and it doesn’t change according to baby’s needs.


  1. Bottles and nipples rubber. These tools contain of a kind of plastics that have to be hygienic and clean at all times. Therefore, these tools must be sterilized. To sterilize the bottles and nipples rubber, it requires some sort of fuels and water. Moreover, the use of nipples rubber causes confusion to the nipples itself (the condition in which babies are difficult to attach to their moms’ nipples while they are breastfeeding their babies directly). In addition, there will be possible early teeth dysfunctional.


  1. Sanitation and access to water. In order to make formulated milk there has the need to use clean and boiled water. For your knowledge, only less than 50% of Jakarta people have access to water pipe and 90% of these water has been contaminated by coli bacteria (according to BPS 2006)


  1. Nature and pollution. Bottles and nipples rubber need plastics, glass and silicon in the process which are all requires some recycling work. In the making they also need factories, distributions and packaging which cause pollution issues.


  1. The consumption illustration of this formulated milk on a baby requires a minimum of 7 cans per month at Rp. 60.000 per can. This means a mother has to prepare at least Rp.420.000,- per month. It leaves us to a question, what happen to the unfortunate poor people when they have to buy formulated milk?


Basically, we, the supporters for the breastfeeding movement aren’t the victims of this polemic, whether this news appear or not, we will continue stick to our campaign: to support, promote and protects the breastfeeding in Indonesia.


However, I must admit that this is one of the precise moment to re-invite people and jog their memory on how important the breastfeeding process to their children


What does this mean?


If a mother has an infant aged 0-2 years, she is able to perform relactation. A relactation is a practice of a mother returning to breastfeeding her baby directly from her breasts after a certain period of time she hasn’t perform any breastfeeding or partially breastfeed (combine breastfeed with food or drink other than breastfeed milk) for a reason.


Relactation can be started with a strong will to return to breastfeeding again. Mothers may take their husbands along and their other family members, perhaps the closest people to support mothers in performing relactation. The younger the baby the easier relactation can be done and work.


Relactation steps:

  1. Stop all uses of nipples rubber and bottles, give milk or other food by using a glass or spoon of your own, so the baby forgets about the nipples rubber and wants to sip from mommy.


  1. Increase physical skin contact between the mother and the baby. This skin contact may cause the lactation hormone to work as it is designed to fit the baby’s mouth in order to sip the nipples. Another uses is to be able to smell mother’s scent and tight a closer bond to the mother.


  1. When the baby starts to breastfeed directly from the mother, prepare an NGT hose or pipette to drop / channel the liquid into the container. Place the container in a higher spot than the mother’s breast. This container may contain cow milk or formulated milk which is being consumed by the baby at the time. Put the tip of the hose into the container fills with liquid, while on the other end is attached on the breast, right near the nipples. We do this stage so that when the baby closing in to the mother in a breastfeed position will not get frustrated with the amount of the breastfeed milk is still very little. This process also can lure the production of the milk as the baby’s sippimg may accelerate the hormone to work.


  1. Adjust the position and placement when breastfeeding. Find the right and comfortable position for the mother and the baby. If the baby feeling uncomfortable with the position (usually because he isn’t used to being breastfed) then spend time to get closer longer. Always communicate with the baby, engage a small talk about the lactation process that need to get through together.


  1. Ask someone for a favor to hold the cow milk container so that it goes through smoothly. If you are using a pipette, other can help by dropping the liquid right on top of the nipple. Make sure the drop doesn’t stop so the baby don’t get frustrated again. When no one is aroung, then hang the container around the mother’s neck, or just place it on the table.


  1. If the baby has been having other liquid than breastfed milk, for instance formulated milk, then use this milk as liquid in the relactation container. Little by little, reduce the amount of the formulated milk with breastfeeding milk, as the stimulation made by the baby to mom,  the breast will produce more milk and ready to pump.


  1. Pumping the breastfeeding milk. Producing milk from breast can stimulate the lactation hormone to start engaging again and increase the milk supply. Pumping the milk can be done after breastfeeding the baby directly (not before). Pumping can also be done by hand or pump tool


  1. Prepare the amount of time and high level of patience in doing the relactation process as this process can be measured by time frame. It all depends on the intention and effort made by each individual.


  1. Contact the Lactation Counselor nearby whenever mothers need practical assistance in applying the re-breastfeeding steps.


Then, for children above 2 years old, the breastfeeding will no longer be needed by thourough consideration that the children are old enough to eat the home-made meal with nutrional-balanced pattern.


Many people come up to me and ask whether or not they should be given milk? Milk is one of the protein, in which we can get from food such as soybeans, tofu, eggs etc.


Let’s think of the long term solution from this formulated milk contained bacteria. It’s not too late to return to breastfeeding milk, let’s save the future of the nation’s generation.


*from various sources