Experiential perceptions of relactation: A phenomenological study

Amy Lommen, Blakely Brown, Dusten Hollist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Relactation is the process of re-establishing a breast milk supply that has diminished or ceased. Objective: This study aimed to explore the lived experiences of women living in Montana who chose to attempt relactation. Methods: A phenomenological approach was used to understand the lived experiences of 10 women in Montana who attempted relactation. In-depth interviews were conducted, and a 21-item categorical and open-ended demographic and experiential questionnaire was completed. Results: An overarching theme that could have affected the initial breastfeeding experience, and furthered the need for relactation, was having a difficult baby. Examples of being difficult included colic, latching issues, or a lack of bonding felt by the participant. Conclusion: When asked about the experience of relactation, participants reflected on the emotional aspects of the process rather than the physical process. The most common feelings expressed were rejection, anger, stress, and failure. Future studies could examine what factors are present with women who continue nursing versus factors that are absent in women who discontinue nursing difficult babies, which could help prevent the need for relactation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-503
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Human Lactation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 21 2015


  • breast milk
  • breastfeeding
  • colic
  • phenomenology
  • relactation


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