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when is breastfeeding "established"?

(4 Posts)
Focusfocus Fri 13-Nov-15 13:35:16

In many threads that ask about introducing one bottle of formula to an EBF baby, amidst questions of supply, gut constitution etc, one term that's often used is "established breastfeeding". Can I ask what this means and what, if any, are some objective indicators that people are agreed on about this? Any HCPs around, or breastfeeding counsellors with access to the literature on this?

To put in context, my first baby is exactly 1 month old. He has been EBF since birth. I was leaking copious amounts of colostrum from Week 23 of pregnancy (enough to have collected many syringes of it towards the end of pregnancy) and my milk came in very early on Day 3 and he latched on like he had read a manual of some sort. It's been one month of EBF - he is not a snacker - he does cluster feed on some evenings, but largely his pattern is - big long feed with all the signs of good feeding, followed by nice 2 hour naps and waking time. At night - he wakes once - at 3 am. Of course there are bad nights and good nights I've described the general trend.

In terms of weight - the maximum he lost ever was about 5% and started gaining from Day 4 and has been gaining 200 grams each week. Nothing to be concerned about there. I've got good amounts of milk, that is easily let down, easily expressed by hand or pump of needed and he never cries, fusses or makes funny poos.

So, when will I know if breastfeeding is "established"? Is there an objective timeframe? That doesn't seem right as every woman and every baby is different. Any clues anyone by what this term means?

tiktok Fri 13-Nov-15 23:22:40

No good studies on this,*focus*. The suggestion to wait until bf is 'established' is based on experience and observation, plus an understanding of how bf works, and no actual trials.

By 'established', it means that supply is robust, that the mum is confident her baby is feeding well, the baby is thriving and happy. This happens as you suggest at different times for each mother and baby. You can't say 'after three weeks' or 'six weeks' or whatever.

I think in your case, a single bottle of formula will not damage your supply, from what you say. You will probably feel uncomfortable because of missing a feed. You will recover from that. If you were to give a bottle more than just a one off, you will notice the discomfort for some time - several weeks, I would guess, as you seem to have a copious supply.

You would prob find things more easy if you waited. Do you need to give formula now?

Focusfocus Fri 13-Nov-15 23:43:08

I gave him 100 ml hipp organic yesterday at night after his 11 pm massive Breastfeed. He had it and didn't wake for his 3,am. Which meAnt I got to sleep till 5 am my usual wake up timev(am an insomniac and find it impossible to sleep but that's another thread) and at 5 am I expressed my full breasts. He woke at 6:30 and had a satisfying feed and then the restd of the day was usual business of loads of BF. The expressed milk is in the freezer. So far so good - the advantages are that the insomniac and bone tired me got a couple of extra hours and that really helped.

tiktok Fri 13-Nov-15 23:49:49

OK - I think 6 hours without your breasts being 'used' is something to watch, though.....no worries about supply with a baby who's a bit older, with a good milk supply like yours, but at a month it's less cleat cut.

Whatevs -hope you find what works for you smile

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