“Hi, I’m a new mother, and I have a doubt: how can I know that breastfeeding is already established? All those we consult tell us what happens between the fourth and sixth week of the baby’s life, others that after 15 days it is already established… How can we know?”
We will try to explain what we mean by the concept of “established breastfeeding”.
The first thing we need to know is that babies learn to breastfeed inside the womb because all their reflexes must be ready as soon as they are born in order to look for the breast, latch and breastfeed. So they spend weeks in the uterus sucking, swallowing (swallowing reflex) and turning their face when the placenta rubs their cheeks (search reflex).
And the same thing happens to parents. During pregnancy, we can prepare, read, think about, inform and even go to support groups to see mothers breastfeed. But until the baby is born and we get to try it out, we don’t pass the real test of breastfeeding.
So, to approve the practical part, we’re going to need several weeks. These weeks will allow us to put all the parties involved into practice and begin to understand how breastfeeding works.
What are the signs that will tell me that everything is going well?
What we must remember is that breastfeeding has to be pleasant for the mother and effective for the baby, that is the key that will give us a first idea of whether or not breastfeeding is established. Usually, after 4-6 weeks, the mother should not have any pain or discomfort when breastfeeding. If she has sore nipples or pain, this indicates that something is not yet entrenched and may need more help.
In addition, the baby should be happy and gain weight, which means that she should gain a minimum of 20-30 grams per day from birth to 6 weeks of age. If the baby doesn’t gain weight properly, we can’t claim victory. It is necessary to seek appropriate advice to get the situation under control as soon as possible.
If, on the other hand, both parties are evolving positively, we can consider that the mother and the baby have passed the test with distinction. The gland will begin to work almost automatically, the mother will feel safer and more able to understand what the baby needs and, of course, our little one will be an expert. From that moment on, unless something extraordinary happens, breastfeeding will flow on its own. However, the fact that it flows alone does not mean that there are no doubts, other difficulties, increases in demand, changes in the baby or that breastfeeding will always be the same.
Do you have any other questions?
You can find more information about all things breastfeeding in our free app, LactApp for iPhone or Android. In the contact section of the app, you can find an in-app consultation channel, where our experts will answer your questions.