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Sentara nurse and lactation consultant discusses milk sharing, supply stimulation

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 3:04 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - While many families are struggling to find baby formula, some mothers are turning to milk banks.

Allyson Michaels, a certified lactation consultant with Sentara, says the practice of formal milk sharing is safe. Though, the process to donate or receive can be intricate.

“The supply [of formula] has been markedly decreased, severely impacted, and everybody’s now scrambling to find alternates of what to do,” Michaels said. “It’s very, very hard on families’ mental health to have to deal with this.”

She says donation is one way to help. For many, this brings up questions of how to promote re-lactation or induce it.

Michaels says re-lactation is the process of getting the body to start making milk again, while inducing is for women who have never been pregnant before but want to generate milk.

“Maybe they have adopted a child and they want to be able to give that child breast milk,” Michaels said.

She says hormones and frequent stimulation from pumping can help increase or start milk supply. A woman who has had children many years ago can still induce lactation again. Michaels says women re-lactating who have breast fed recently may have more supply than a woman who has not in a while.

Call Lactation Services at SMJH at 434-654-8440 for milk sharing services.

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