What is the minimum aount of time to give it when trying to BF?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
What is the minimum aount of time to give it when trying to BF?
15
Tue, 03-06-2012 - 3:26pm

If you where asked by a mother wanting to BF how much time she should give to BF'ing when problems arise before she considers throwing in the towel what would you say to her? Assume here that we are talking about BF problems that are overcomable and not ones that would indicate clearly on that BF was a lost cause such insignificant glandular tissue in breast or some other issue that made BF'ing imposable or most likely impossible.

I sometimes hear from mothers who say BF'ing at say only a 2-3 weeks and I think to myself that seems a way to early given that the problems they described as having are not the kind that would make continuing to try and BF'ing as likely waste of time. I do realize that every mother has a different limit as to how much they can give to making BF'ing work, especially if they are dealing with severe BF issues but even so I do think that if you truly want to give BF'ing a good shot then there is a minimum that i would recommend you put into say at least 6 weeks, maybe more depending on the issue you are dealing with. I think that for some it may be advantages to consider at least continuing with partial BF'ing as I do support combo-feeding over completely switching to formula though i think exclusive BF'ing for 6 months is still the ideal to strive for. Now fo course if some mother feels she has has truly reached her limit with regard to BF issues before 6 weeks and couldn't take another day of trying to BF beyond that regardless of her chances of possible success or if she simply decides that BF'ing is not that important to her to justify working through her BF issue any longer then she has every right to quit BF'ing early. I do however think that some people fool themselves into believing that only giving BF'ing a few weeks or whatever was more then enough time to know they were not likely to succeed with BF'ing. Of course some moms just don't want to admit they gave up early becuase BF'ing wasn't that important to them and they simply did for that long due to pressure for their doctor, husband, friend, etc. Other give up so early becuase they are mislead into believing trying to BF any would have little or no chance of success or they are simply giving no support or poor support such that they are give up due to not having any solutions to their BF issues or the solutions they are given make the problems worse.

I think that for those moms that likely could overcome their BF issues if the just stick with it a little while longer, it would be very helpful if someone provided them with success stories from moms in similar situations who manage to overcome their BF issues and succeed. This would also help them see what kind of solutions worked for other moms.

There is another issue this brings up which we have discussed on this board before and that is when should a lactivist/BF supporter or doctor/LC/nurse/etc. thrown in the towel when it comes to BF support and stop pushing another mom to just stick with it a while longer. Where do you draw the line between encouraging mothers not to give up to easily vs pushing them to continued beyond that point they likely will succeed which could breed resentment? When I have offered support to moms trying to BF who had significant BF issue they where to overcome, I have tried to express that I believe there case is not a lost cause just yet while not making them feel like they would be horrible mothers if they choose to throw in the towel and declare this their limit as far a trying to BF goes. I usually try to convey that while it's ultimately up to them to decide how far to go with trying to BF, I believe that have a good shot at succeeding if they just give it a bit more time and then go into why I believe that.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
charleen2008 wrote:

If you where asked by a mother wanting to BF how much time she should give to BF'ing when problems arise before she considers throwing in the towel what would you say to her? Assume here that we are talking about BF problems that are overcomable and not ones that would indicate clearly on that BF was a lost cause such insignificant glandular tissue in breast or some other issue that made BF'ing imposable or most likely impossible.

I sometimes hear from mothers who say BF'ing at say only a 2-3 weeks and I think to myself that seems a way to early given that the problems they described as having are not the kind that would make continuing to try and BF'ing as likely waste of time.

I too hear of cases where mothers try once or for several days or weeks, and decide it is too hard, and they are unable to do it. Clearly this is not long enough. Both the mother and baby are still learning at that stage.

How long is long enough to learn? I would say the 6 weeks mark might be closer. But I also think that 6 weeks is not long enough. Why? Even if a mother does work through many of the difficulties in 6 weeks, she may still be at the point where breastfeeding has consisted mainly of working through difficulties. That depends - it is not this long for all mothers.

I think the mother should then double that time, to say three months, and experience breastfeeding going weel for an equal length of time. I say this because a realistic decision cannot be made if you are still at the point where everything seems difficult. I would want a mother to experience a period where things were going well, so that she was able to appreciate how it can be.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006

>>Many new mothers wonder how long they should breastfeed their baby. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nursing for at least the first year of life, this may not be a realistic goal for all mothers. It is important to know that even if you only nurse your baby for a few weeks or even a few days, you will both receive many important benefits from the nursing relationship. Remember that you can always quit nursing at any time, but only if you give it a chance and see how things go.<<

http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/breastfeeding-benefits-how-they-add-up

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008

Any amount of breeastfeeding is better than none. However, I took it that Charleen meant - how long is reasonable to try for, if you are sincere about wanting to breastfeed.

Although a few days or a couple of weeks is better than no breastfeeding at all,I do really think that if you are having problems, that is not long enough to know whether you can overcome any issues.

It is also not long enough to get to the more relaxed enjoyable part of breastfeeding, when most women find it clicks into place and gets a whole lot easier. Unless you get to that point, and experience it for a while, you are making a decision that is possibly based on an assumption that it will always be as difficult as it can be for some women at the start.

Teresa

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2009
For me, I think six weeks is a realistic time frame. After DS was born, I had the hardest time breastfeeding. My sister told me to just make it to six weeks before making any kind of changes. Six weeks was the magic point for me. It was like an invisible line had been crossed and it was no longer a painful, miserable, exhausting experience for me anymore. At exactly six weeks, he latched on and there was no pain anymore. I remember trying to make it hour by hour to six weeks because it just seemed so far away at the time. With DD, I remembered that six weeks was the goal. Things were better with her by 4 or 5 weeks.

So, I try to encourage the new moms in my life (who ask my opinion) to stick with it for six weeks. I tell them it might be difficult and to ask for help if needed, but if you can get through it for six weeks then you should be able to get through the next year.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-16-2010

I think it depends on how things are going.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-29-2005
cmjenas wrote:
For me, I think six weeks is a realistic time frame. After DS was born, I had the hardest time breastfeeding. My sister told me to just make it to six weeks before making any kind of changes. Six weeks was the magic point for me. It was like an invisible line had been crossed and it was no longer a painful, miserable, exhausting experience for me anymore. At exactly six weeks, he latched on and there was no pain anymore. I remember trying to make it hour by hour to six weeks because it just seemed so far away at the time. With DD, I remembered that six weeks was the goal. Things were better with her by 4 or 5 weeks.

So, I try to encourage the new moms in my life (who ask my opinion) to stick with it for six weeks. I tell them it might be difficult and to ask for help if needed, but if you can get through it for six weeks then you should be able to get through the next year.

I say the same thing, except use "6-8 weeks."

 


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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-27-2006

I understand where you're coming from in saying 6 to 8 weeks, but my DD didn't turn the corner, so to speak, until about 12 weeks.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2009
gespenst wrote:
I say the same thing, except use "6-8 weeks."

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008

It sounds very much as though the inner determination is what kept you going. I too was utterly determined not to use formula, although any actual breastfeeding issues I had were ironed out before 12 weeks. Later on, W & P, with a tiny innefficient hand pump and not being able to pump caused its own set of problems. Again, inner determination was what forced me to make it work no matter what. Some of that was due to knowing the types of health issues both my husband and I have, and knowing how important BF would be for our particular children.

I guess when I hear of mothers who say they 'want to breastfeed', I do assume that they have the determination to succeed that I had. Whereas, it is probably more true to realise that each mother has a certain level of determination, and a certain level of what they can and cannot cope with.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010

At 6 weeks with Michael, I was constantly in pain and tears and I even prepared a bottle for him, ready to give up. He wouldn't take it.

My husband came home from work, found me sitting there crying, with a bottle next to me and he told me off. For some weird reason, that gave me the gumption to keep on going. With Michael, it did not get easier until he was about 5 months old.

One thing that concerns me when we say 6 weeks, is that baby goes thru a growth spurt around that time - so just when baby is demanding to nurse more often, is when they are often telling them it is OK to quit. Which seems self-defeating - and makes more women quit than would if they understood that this was just temporary and the sooner you give in to it and nurse more often, the sooner it passes.

I remembered the marathon nights when all I did was nurse Michael con tinuously - from about 7 PM till 11 PM, just switching sides ever half hour or so. If I wasn't planning on continuing, that certainly would have seemed like a good time to quit!

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