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General idea that it takes 6 weeks to establish breastfeeding - any references?

(7 Posts)
peppapighastakenovermylife Mon 20-Jul-09 12:55:10

Firstly, I know that it doesnt always take 6 weeks to establish breastfeeding and can take much less or more but it seems to be the time a lot of books / HP's etc estimate that it should be settled by.

Does anyone have a reference for this? I am at the end of my tether searching the net, books and journals looking for some evidence to show for this 6 weeks mark - or is it anecdotal?

Any ideas? I need some justification as I have used it in my phd as a cut off point for something and need to back it up - Im not sure anecdotes work with scary examiners blush

tiktok Mon 20-Jul-09 13:14:49

peppa - I hate to say it, but I don't know of anything to back this up. A lot of breastfeeding knowledge is anecdotal, and my own feeling is that this 6 week 'point' is arbitrary and far too prescriptive. But that's anecdotal wink.

I mean, everything we know about breastfeeding shows that changes in its execution are a process, not an event.

You could look up the work on endocrine and autocrine lactation - breastfeeding changes from one to the other over time, but you will find the work on the timing of this is a bit contradictory.

'Establishing' breastfeeding is so much more than a physiological, bio-chemical process anyway - it's a human behaviour (actually, two humans), and subject to all the social, cultural, emotional etc etc viscissitudes (sp?) of that.

Use it as a cut off point, and say why, acknowledging that you have not been able to find an academic reference for saying it, maybe?

peppapighastakenovermylife Mon 20-Jul-09 14:00:17

Thanks tiktok - could I quote you do you think wink

Tiktok (2009) maintains that...

tiktok Mon 20-Jul-09 14:02:33

Go ahead.

I am sure the examiners will be well-impressed...hmm

nightshade Mon 20-Jul-09 14:12:45

second that. i felt with dd, that although bf was established quickly and easily within the first few days, it was about six weeks before i was able to cope with anything other than feeding.

it takes that long to start to understand the demands of your baby, its particular way/length/pattern of feeding, how long you may have to shower/dress/cook in between feeds and to be able to weave other tasks into your day.

during the first six to eight weeks, they are like baby birds and just seem to require a constant supply of sustinance.

audreyraines Mon 20-Jul-09 15:16:32

Anecdotal, but I was feeling terrible for struggling still at 6 weeks with latching and feeding and a lactation consultant said to me this was REALLY normal, that breastfeeding could often take 6-8 weeks to really get going, but they didn't say this upfront because it would scare too many women!

tiktok Mon 20-Jul-09 16:30:56

The thing is, it varies.

You can't separate out the physical side of milk being fine and easily-let-down blah blah from the emotional and everything else side of caring for a new little 100 per cent dependent person.

No one should expect everything to be fine and dandy and predictable in the first week, but if there are still major issues at three months then something really isn't right....so 6 weeks is the roughest of rough guides, I suppose....anecdotally, natch

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