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close this bookInfant Feeding in Emergencies - Module 2, Version 1.0 for Health and Nutrition Workers in Emergency Situations (ENN, IBFAN, Terre des hommes, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, WHO; 2004; 186 pages) View the PDF document
open this folder and view contentsCore Manual for Training, Practice and Reference
close this folderAdditional Material
close this folder6 Relactation
View the document6.1 Indications for relactation
View the document6.2 Conditions for relactation
View the document6.3 How to help a woman to relactate
View the document6.4 Feeding the infant during relactation
open this folder and view contents7 Breast conditions
open this folder and view contents8 The young severely malnourished infant
open this folder and view contents9 When infants are not breastfed
View the documentOverhead Figures for use as transparencies or flip chart
open this folder and view contentsAnnexes

6.1 Indications for relactation

Relactation means re-establishing (restarting) breastfeeding. It is the best way of providing milk feeds for infants who are not breastfeeding, especially in emergency settings when artificial feeding is dangerous.

If possible it should be done by the infant's mother, but, if she is not available, by a caregiver who is willing to be a wet nurse and undergo the appropriate health checks (see Part 5.7).

Full Assessment Step 2 identifies mothers or caregivers who are interested in relactation, and they should be referred for Further Help with breastfeeding, (see Part 5.1).

Age of mother

Most women can relactate if they want to, and can start producing breastmilk again. They can do this even if they have not breastfeed for several years and even after the menopause. Many women can produce enough milk to breastfeed an infant exclusively, or to feed more than one infant.

However, relactation is easier for women who stopped breastfeeding recently, or who are still breastfeeding occasionally.

Age of infant

Under six months

It is easier to relactate when the infant is under six months old. Every effort should be made to start or re-establish breastfeeding for this age group, when breastfeeding is especially valuable and should be exclusive.

Over six months

Previously breastfed infants as old as 12 months can also restart breastfeeding. Breastmilk is valuable also for these infants, particularly those who are sick, or who cannot tolerate artificial milk feeds.

Prevent the need for relactation by ensuring supportive conditions for all women and Basic Aid for breastfeeding whenever needed.

These are easier to provide than the skilled help needed for relactation.

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