It will take time for your body to adjust to breastfeeding, and for you and your baby to get used to each other. But if you’re wondering when breastfeeding gets easier, this short guide explains what to expect from the first few days, weeks, and months of breastfeeding.
If you’re yet to have your baby, then it’s a good idea to learn as much as you can about breastfeeding before the birth. If you have a good idea of what to expect, then you might find it easier to adjust. For more, read our full guide to preparing for breastfeeding.
How Long Does It Take to Adjust to Breastfeeding?
For most women, breastfeeding starts to get easier within 6 to 8 weeks. It’s totally normal for breastfeeding to feel challenging and first. And while some women adjust quickly, for many others it’s not so straightforward. Even if this isn’t your firstborn, all babies are different, so you may not have the same experience from one baby to the next.
In your first couple of weeks, you’ll be learning at the same time as your baby. You’ll have to get to grips with a lot of things at once, including how to latch your baby onto your breast, the best positions for feeding, the best times for feeding, and so on.
You may also have to adjust to using pumps to establish your supply. For more on pumps, read our full guide to combining pumping with breastfeeding.
This is a lot to get used to! So don’t worry if it feels like a struggle at first. Just remember: It will get easier as you, your body, and your baby adjust.
What is the Hardest Day for Breastfeeding?
Again, the hardest day for breastfeeding will vary from woman to woman. Though for most women, the first couple of weeks will be the most challenging. This is partially because, at this stage, everything will be new for both you and your baby. Plus, you may still feel physically and emotionally drained from giving birth. And on top of this, in those early days, your baby will want to feed little and often.
Some newborns feed once an hour. Others feed up to 12 times in a 24-hour period. So for some new mums, it can feel like all you’re doing is breastfeeding!
But after a week or so, your baby will start feeding for longer each time. Plus, you’ll start to notice longer gaps between feeds. What’s more, after that first challenging week, you should already be on the path to finding a routine and positions that work for both you and your baby.
If you’re really struggling in those first few weeks, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your doctor or midwife will be able to advise you on the best positions and techniques to help you and your baby adjust.
Why Does Breastfeeding Get Easier at 6 Weeks?
After six weeks or so of breastfeeding, you’ll have established your milk supply. This means that you’ll be producing enough milk to fully satisfy your baby with each feeding. Also, by this point, you and your baby should feel used to each other. You’ll have mastered your technique, and you’ll likely have a fairly regular routine.
You may still have some challenges. For example, your baby may experience a growth spurt, causing them to feed more often than normal. A sudden interruption to your routine at this stage might be frustrating, not to mention exhausting. But this too will pass, and before you know it, things will be regular again.
What Age Do Babies Get Quicker at Breastfeeding?
Babies tend to get more efficient at breastfeeding from six weeks on. They’ll have greater control of their mouth, head, and neck, which means they’ll get better at getting the milk they need.
This can mean that, after six weeks, your baby may appear to get quicker at feeding. But even if they’re spending less time at your breast, it doesn’t mean they’re feeding less. They’re just getting better at doing it, and they may also start to appear more settled between feeds.
Your baby will go through a few growth spurts in the first few months of their life. And as we mentioned above, this might disrupt your breastfeeding routine. Yet this increased feeding usually only lasts a few days. And from six months onwards they may be ready to start eating solid foods alongside breastfeeding, which will make things even easier.
What To Do If Breastfeeding Isn’t Getting Any Easier
So you’ve been breastfeeding for a few weeks now, and you’re still struggling. Maybe your baby’s still not latching properly, it’s still too uncomfortable or painful, or you’re not confident your baby’s getting all the milk they need.
If things aren’t getting any easier, then reach out for help. Talk to your doctor or midwife. As well as advising on tips and techniques, they can also check for any underlying problems that might make breastfeeding more difficult.
You could also reach our for advice from your health visitor or your local breastfeeding support worker or support group. Sometimes speaking to others that are going through the same challenges may help.
- How to prepare for breastfeeding – pregnancy and post-partum.
- What is the let-down reflex when breastfeeding?
- How to combine breastfeeding and pumping.
- How to break the breastfeeding sleep association.
We also have a range of sustainable baby products. This includes reusable breast pads that will help you stay clean and dry while you’re nursing.
Take a look at our range of comfortable and eco-friendly reusable breast pads.