What is Cluster Feeding?
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