cluster feeding

What is Cluster Feeding?
What is cluster feeding. How I keep calm when my baby wants to nurse frequently.

Cluster Feeding is when a baby nurses frequently  for several hours at a time. You may experience this when your baby is actively nursing for 20 -30 minutes and then dozes off for a few minutes. You attempt to unlatch and put them down and they start rooting or screaming or a combination of both as if they never ate. You nurse again for another 20 minutes, unlatch and baby seems sleep so you try to put them down again and the cycle begins. You start to wonder if your milk supply is low, but it’s not.

Cluster feeding can be  a result of your baby needing to be comforted at your breast, a growth spurt, or your baby’s way of getting your body to make more milk.

Some babies may want to eat frequently in the evening time and less in the day time.

If your expectation is that your baby will nurse on a schedule, you’ll need to change it because some babies may want to nurse frequently over a period of a few hours and then sleep for a long stretch of time.

Cluster feeding can coincide with a growth spurt which generally happens at 2-3 weeks, 6 week, 3 months and 6 months.

What’s important to know is that this is very normal! You may feel pressure from a relative (husband, sister in law, grandmother etc.) to bottle feed and supplement during their fussy times but that is not necessary.

What I do to keep my sanity when my baby is cluster feeding:

I keep snacks and drinks near by.
I browse through pinterest or social media on my phone.
I read a book.
I watch tv.
I take breaks when needed. If I have been holding the baby for a really long time and nursing while attempting to get her to sleep I put her down in the bouncer or hand her to my husband while I go in another room for a few minutes. (This really helps, even 5 or 10 minutes of not holding the baby).

Note: A baby that wants to feed frequently and is fussy while nursing that is not gaining weight and is not getting enough wet/dirty diapers may indicate that your milk supply is low. Consult a healthcare professional for help. 

MORE BREASTFEEDING TIPS

Breastfeeding Tips for Moms

Breast milk storage guidelines

How to increase your milk supply in 24 hours

Lactation Treats for increasing your milk supply

 

 

How often should you pump

How often should breastfeeding women pump breast milk
If you’re exclusively pumping meaning that you don’t nurse your baby, you only use a breast pump to express your milk then it’s important to know how often you should be pumping. In the beginning when you are establishing your milk supply you should pump 8 to 12 times a day. Some lactation specialists recommend 8 to 10 rather than 12.

Gasp…12 times a day. I know that seems like a lot but in the beginning you really want to establish a good supply so pumping often is key. Now you will probably hear that you should set a clock for every 3 hours to breastfeed. That’s a great idea but it doesn’t work that way for everyone. 3 hours can turn into 4 easily and you’ll find yourself stressing out because you missed your pumping time. What the La Leche League International recommends is setting goals throughout the day and having a plan for pumping.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. I am grateful for your support of this site in this way.

When I first started exclusively pumping I had a pretty set schedule that paralleled my daughter’s feeding schedule at the hospital. It was a 2-5-8-11 schedule. Basically she ate at 2am, 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm and 11pm. So the nurse recommended I follow a similar schedule that guaranteed I got in 8 pumping sessions a day.

A few tips for making sure you are pumping enough throughout the day:

  • “Aim for 10, work for 8, never go under 6” –The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (TWAOB)
  • “Place 8 or 10 pieces of candy near your pump and each time you pump eat a piece. By the end of the day they should be gone.”-TWAOB
  • Find a series on Netflix to watch and each time you pump watch an episode. This helps keep you entertained and for me personally it kept me from falling asleep at 2am.
  • Use a breastfeeding app to keep track of how often and how long you pump.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you missed a pumping session. Pump as soon as you remember.
  • In the beginning don’t sleep through the night, get up and pump. One of my nurses told me not to go longer than 4 hours without pumping when you’re trying to establish your supply.
  • “Adding a short nursing session is helpful, if you’re having trouble pumping often.” –KellyMom

Once your baby is a few months old you may find that you can get by with pumping just 6 times a day and manage to maintain your supply.

Read more about Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Books to Read

What a Breastfeeding Mom’s Search History looks like

10 Reasons why you should breastfeed

Breast Milk Storage Guidelines

Tips on freezing your milk

Breastfeeding Styles to consider

Different ways to feed your baby
Different ways to breastfeed your newborn baby

You’re expecting a baby and not sure whether you want to breastfeed or formula feed. While there are gang of women who are adamant about which is best, I just want to offer you some basic information about how to feed your baby.

I should note that Breastfeeding is my preferred choice( obviously I own a business based solely on breastfeeding) . 

Exclusive Breastfeeding

Women who exclusively breastfeed “straight from the tap” don’t offer the baby any other food or drink exclusively for the first 6 months. Usually at 6 months, pediatricians recommend introducing solid foods (pureed of course) in addition to your breast milk.

Exclusive Pumping

Women who exclusively pump do not directly nurse their baby. They use a breast pump to remove the milk from their breast and feed it to the baby in a bottle. I started off exclusively pumping because my daughter was born prematurely and received my milk through a feeding tube and worked her way up to a bottle and eventually we were able to nurse and I no longer had to exclusively pump. If you will be returning to work after giving birth, learning about pumping will greatly benefit you.

Nursing and Pumping

Women who nurse and pump will nurse their baby at the breast in addition to pump their milk to feed in a bottle. This is a common practice especially for working moms. Some moms will pump at work and only offer the breast at home.

Pumping and Supplementing

Women who pump and supplement will use a breast pump to remove their milk and offer formula for some feedings. I’ve found that moms who do this generally do it because of a perceived low milk supply. Or if your baby is underweight some pediatricians may advise you to offer formula to add calories…Long story I had to do this in the beginning even though I had an oversupply, I’ll explain later.

Nursing and Supplementing

If you can’t or choose not to pump but aren’t able to be around your baby 24/7 then nursing and supplementing would be an option. This allows you to nurse your baby when you’re together and feed them formula when you’re away for longer periods of time.

Formula Fed

If you can’t or choose not to breastfeed then there is still a way to feed your baby and that is using formula. As I mentioned I support breastfeeding 100% but I also support feeding your baby 110%. A fed baby is the goal and while breastfeeding offers so many benefits to mom and baby, it may not be your cup of tea and that’s okay. Don’t ever let someone put you down for choosing to feed your baby this way.

Donor Milk

A not so common option but available to moms is donor milk. Sometimes moms have an oversupply or extra milk and choose to donate it to a milk bank. The milk bank offers milk to babies who need it (often it’s NICU babies).

Well that about sums up the different ways to feed your baby. I hope this was informative and I’m sure you’re about to do a google search on some of the options I’ve presented. If you have any questions please leave a comment below or send me an email. If you’d like to talk to other moms who are breastfeeding, you can join the Moms Make Milk Facebook Group. It’s a private group for breastfeeding support.

Clair McCoy 1About Clair

Clair is a wife, mom and entrepreneur. She loves sharing breastfeeding tips with other moms and encouraging women to breastfeed. She is the owner of Moms Make Milk and His Money 101. You can read more about Clair’s experience with breastfeeding on the About Page.

 

Read more about Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding Books to Read

What a Breastfeeding Mom’s Search History looks like

10 Reasons why you should breastfeed

Top 5 things to pack in your hospital bag for breastfeeding

 

What I’ve googled since I started Breastfeeding

So before you started breastfeeding you probably rarely used the terms “latch” “pumping” or “duct.” Now you’re breastfeeding and you find these words are often a part of your vocabulary.

What I've googled since I started breastfeeding

What’s really interesting is the fact your google search history probably gives away that you are a breastfeeding mom and you often feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. Am I right? If you’re like me you probably do a google search for everything. Read below and see how many of these things you’ve googled since you started breastfeeding.

  • How do I know if I got a good latch?
  • What’s the best position for breastfeeding?
  • How long should I breastfeed?
  • How do I quit breastfeeding?
  • How do I make more breast milk?
  • How do I know if I make enough breast milk?
  • Why is my breast milk soapy smelling?
  • How long can I leave breast milk out?
  • How do I freeze breast milk?
  • What is nipple confusion?
  • How do I get rid of a clogged duct?
  • Why is my baby so fussy after nursing?
  • Can I eat sushi while breastfeeding?
  • Can I get pregnant if I’m breastfeeding?
  • Can I take (insert medicine name) while breastfeeding?
  • Is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding?
  • How do I pump and dump?

 

I’m pretty positive that you’ve googled at least one of these questions before! While I don’t have all of these answers posted on my site, you can certainly ask your question to a group of over 300 moms who have either breastfed in the past or are currently breastfeeding in the Moms Make Milk Facebook Group. It’s a private group and no one outside of the group can see what you post. It’s a really supportive environment and I’d love for you to be a part. All you have to do is request to join and I’ll add you to the group.

Before you leave, check out these posts:

10 ways to increase your breast milk supply in 24 hours

Breastfeeding Affirmation

How to freeze breast milk

Breast milk storage guidelines

 

Breast Milk Storage Guildlines

Expressed Breast Milk Storage Guidelines for every breastfeeding mom who pumps. You worked hard to get those ounces or even milliliters of breast milk, now what do you do? If you don’t plan to feed it to your baby right away here is what you should know about storing breast milk.

Storing Breast Milk. Breast Milk Storage Guidelines you need to know. Great to save in your phone as a reference for storing breast milk.

You can save this image in your phone, tablet or email for future reference. It’s great to have on hand because trust me sometimes you get “mom brain” and can’t remember whether you can leave the milk out for 3 hours or not.

The hospital where I gave birth gave me a magnet to place on my fridge and it really came in handy. I hope this is helpful and please share it with a breastfeeding mom.

Related post

Clair McCoy 1About Clair

Clair is a stay at home who breastfed her preemie daughter for year. Her breastfeeding journey began in the NICU and she loves sharing breastfeeding tips with other moms as well as offering support. She started Moms Make Milk in February 2015 and plans to continue providing support for breastfeeding moms through her blog and social media. You can read more about Clair ….

Breastfeeding Affirmation

 

I love affirmations for encouragement and reminders. This breastfeeding affirmation is great to read and recite daily to improve your confidence.

Breastfeeding Affirmation

 

Some days you just don’t feel like breastfeeding, or getting that extra pumping session in. I’ve been there and I get it. I want to remind you that this is such a short time in your life and you will get your breast and body back to yourself. God designed your body to be able to breastfeed. You are more than capable of making enough milk for your baby. For now let’s cherish the moments and make the choice to enjoy your breastfeeding journey!

 

Love,

clair sig

How to freeze your breast milk

Top 5 Things to pack in your hospital bag

Increase your breast milk supply in 24 hours

Join the Breastfeeding Support Group

Buy Lactation Cookies to increase your milk supply

 

Check out the Lactation Smoothie Ebook to increase your breast milk supply with delicious smoothie recipes.

Breastfeeding Tips: Freezing Breast Milk

Breastfeeding Tips: Freezing Breast Milk
How to freeze breast milk for breastfeeding moms

First let’s celebrate that you have breast milk to freeze! (Go Girl!) Here are some tips to make freezing your breast milk a little easier. Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. I am grateful for your support of this site in this way.

Tips on Freezing Breast Milk for Breastfeeding Moms

  1. Use bags instead of bottles. While bottles are totally okay, trust me I used bottles for the first month or two until I discovered how easy it was to thaw a bag of breast milk instead of a bottle. Bags take up less space. I loved the Lansinoh Storage Bags for storing breast milk.

    Easy Way to Freeze Breast Milk

  2. Store your milk in the middle of the freezer. Like most food and beverage items, storing in the middle of the freezer will help keep the milk at a consistent temperature as opposed to the freezer door.
  3. Store in a deep freezer. So I know most people may not have that option, but if you have one use it. Your milk can stay frozen for up to a year in a deep freezer. While breast milk stored in a normal freezer is good for up to 6 months. (Read more about how long you can freeze your milk here).  If you’re interested in buying a deep freezer check your local newspaper for one. You can find a used deep freezer in really good condition for a fraction of the cost.
  4. Don’t fill storage containers all the way to the top. Milk expands as it freezes so it’s good to leave a little room.
  5. Freeze smaller quantities of breast milk. I would recommend freezing 2 to 4 ounces per bag or bottle. Freezing less may prevent you from thawing milk that doesn’t get used.

Bonus Tip: Make sure you seal and close your containers tight. There is nothing like spilling freshly pumped milk on the counter/sink/floor. (I’ve done this)

Back to Breastfeeding Tips

How often should you pump

Breastmilk storage guidelines

Breastfeeding books to read

Have you tried Moms Make Milk Lactation Cookies?

How to handle visitors when you’re breastfeeding

How to handle visitors when you’re breastfeeding.

You are in the beginning days of breastfeeding and still trying to get hang of it. Meanwhile your family and friends are so excited that you had a baby and they can’t wait to stress you out visit you and the baby. Here’s how to handle visitors the polite way when you’re breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding around Visitors at home and in the hospital

 

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. I am grateful for your support of this site in this way.

VISITORS IN THE HOSPITAL

It may seem like you have absolutely no privacy in a hospital. Especially after you give birth, but if you would prefer you can have all your visitors screened at the nursing station or just ask the nurse if they can place a sign on your door that says “Breastfeeding Mom please knock” or “Nursing Mother please knock.” Your friends and family won’t be offended that you asked them to knock before entering. One of the cool things about my hospital was that there was a little curtain between the door and my bed which gave me a little more privacy.

VISITORS AT HOME

Okay so it’s a little easier at home because you can just go in another room to nurse the baby or ask them to leave. … Rude much… not really. It’s okay to tell your people that you would rather nurse in private. Let them chill out for 15-20 minutes while you feed your baby.

If you’re tired let them know that you are tired and kindly ask them to leave. Most people will understand even your grandmother. Don’t be too proud to ask for help if you want someone to hold the baby while you take a shower or pick something up from the store on the way to visit you. You will be exhausted after having a baby and not to mention the lack of sleep with a newborn.

NURSING COVERS

nursingcoverpromo

If you are like me and you prefer to cover up when you nurse your baby around other people. A Nursing cover is just what you need. I got a free one from Udder Covers and I want you ladies to get your free nursing cover using the code e63493 . Nursing covers normally cost $35, but by using the code e63493 you’ll get yours for free! All you have to do is pay for shipping and you’ll receive your FREE nursing cover in the mail. They are very stylish and come in a variety of colors. I love how light they are and you don’t have to worry about anyone seeing your boobs (I would try to be politically correct here and say breast but umm this is a breastfeeding website). You can use that same code on some of the other great products they sell as well.

Carseat Canopy

Nursing Pillow

Breast Pads

Baby Leggings 

Can I just say that when people visit you at home after you have a baby I get that they want to see the baby and hold him/her. That’s cool but if you don’t mind can you call first and let a girl know that you’re coming. Trust me when I say they will understand that your house is a mess, in fact if they’re a good friend/relative they may offer to clean up for you or bring a meal. …In a perfect world I guess.

 

leaving so soon, have you read these posts?


Increase your breastmilk supply in 24 hours

Top 5 things to pack in your hospital bag

Have you met Clair

BREASTFEEDING AFFIRMATION TO IMPROVE YOUR CONFIDENCE

 

Top 5 Things to put in your hospital bag

Top

Top 5 things to put in your breastfeeding hospital bag for after delivery. These are essentials for moms who plan to start breastfeeding their newborn baby after delivery. Your lactation consultant/nurse will come to your room to help you learn how to latch your baby and/or use the breast pump. My daughter was born 8 weeks early so I started off using a breast pump and after about 3 weeks I was able to start nursing her.

 

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. I am grateful for your support of this site in this way.

Below are my top 5 things for a breastfeeding mom to bring to the hospital for use after delivery.

      1. Nursing Bra: The first days after delivery your breast won’t be that full/heavy but this makes life easier mainly for access. In the beginning just a simple no-wire nursing bra works fine. It kind of looks like a sports bra.
      2. Nursing Pads: You will want to buy stock in these. LOL just kidding girls. Seriously though, nursing pads are these small circular pads that cover your nipple area and helps prevent leakage on your lovely clothes. Check to see if your nurse has some that you can use. I’m all for freebies. You’ll really want to go ahead and buy these before hand though. Amazon, Target,Wal Mart, Babies R’ US etc. all sell them. I bought them in larger quantities once I found the brand that I liked best. My top two choices were Lansinoh Nursing pads and Avent. I should note that they make reusable ones as well, that you can wash in your machine. Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
      3. Nipple Cream: Yep that’s a thing. You’re going to want some. Again your nurse may have a sample for you to use. I suggest that you start applying this on Day 1. If you’ve been browsing the internet you have probably heard about cracked/bleeding nipples(this is normal and it can happen). Put this stuff on and thank me later. There are a variety of brands and they are sold at most baby stores as well. Lansinoh is a well known brand that I love. One tube actually lasted me a year. I stopped using it after a few months… oh except that time she started biting and then I started using it again. (Sorry not trying to weird you out, but I like to be transparent). Want a free nursing cover from Udder Covers! Enter code E63493 at checkout. 
        Use Promotion Code e63493 TODAY!
      4. Boppy: Apparently this is like a top shower gift. A Boppy is basically a nursing pillow. Even if you don’t breastfeed this thing is still awesome. I would often find myself using a Boppy when I wasn’t even near the baby. Don’t judge me… Nursing pillows are a great way to find a good latch position and makes breastfeeding more comfortable. An added benefit is that it helps keep that sweet little baby off of your stomach if you are recovering from a c-section. Go ahead and add it to your registry if you don’t already have one. My sister purchased one in 2010 and I used it in 2012/2013 then she used it again for her 2nd child in 2014. They hold up for a long time, so it’s worth the money.
      5. Nursing gown/tank top: You will get tired of the fabulous and posh hospital gown so pack your own nursing gown or tank top for easy access.

Have you nursed before? What are some things you found to be essential for breastfeeding in the beginning? Comment below.


How to handle visitors and company when you’re a breastfeeding mom.

My favorite books for breastfeeding Moms.