In around 3 or 6 weeks, you may notice that your baby is sleeping better. During the night, the sleeping happens in a long stretch. This might be good news but there is a downside. Your baby might be hungrier than ever! The baby may wake up ravenous. Suddenly your baby eats your breast like an all-up-can eat buffet! He/she is coming back for breastfeeding after a very short time again and again. This might be stressful for you, but this situation passes quickly.
What is Cluster feeding
What your hungry little buddy is doing is called Newborn Cluster feeding. This a smart way to produce more milk and the baby itself takes the responsibility to make this change to your body. The baby needs more milk than ever before because these 3 to 6 weeks is the time when the growth triggers. You may think that you might be producing less milk for your baby. But no. You are producing enough, but the baby needs more. And this is where your baby’s instinct knows that to get more milk, he/she needs to feed every 20 minutes. By doing this you are producing more milk and contributing to your baby’s growth. Spacing out feeding wouldn’t be nearly as efficient.
Newborn Cluster feeding, is it any good?
First of all, you may need to cluster feed your baby during day or night. Yes, it can happen anytime. You have to understand that, your baby’s tummy is tiny. As a result, they need to fill it up at regular intervals. Newborn cluster feeding is good. You can cluster feed your baby in rhythm to benefit both yourself and your child. Because after a cluster feeding session, you can ensure both you and your baby gets a sound sleep.
Here are some reasons why cluster feeding is beneficial:
- If you cluster feed at noontime, your baby gets a lot of nourishment which is beneficial during late afternoon hours when the milk quality might become low.
- Your baby will have a longer sleep after every cluster feeding period. As a result, you also will have a juicy time to sleep for a longer period of time.
- Milk supply will get high because of cluster feeding.
- Cluster feeds help a baby go through the growth spurts.
Here are some Cons of Newborn cluster feeding:
- Cluster feeding can increase your nipple soreness.
- Sometimes it is so unpredictable.
- It can be exhausting, both physically, mentally and emotionally.
Expert Answers Time Cluster feeding
How to deal with Cluster feeding
Cluster feeding sessions may be going on for more than two days. And if it lasts for more than a week, then there might be some problem. In this situation, check your baby’s weight. He/she might not be getting enough calories from your milk. Cluster feeding might be stressful for you. It is almost impossible to have a good sleep when your baby is demanding your nurse every hour! Try to relax and grow with the situation calmly.
When you are in a cluster session, try to always be well hydrated, nourished and rested. Eat healthy foods and foods that are filled with water. Ask for your partner to be with you and give the company which is needed the most. Don’t think that a cluster session demands a bed rest. You can do it anywhere and in any situation. Even some mother does it on-the-go!
Is it only night time when a baby cluster feeds?
It is not necessarily true that a baby will only cluster at night. It can happen during day or night. But for a lot of babies, it is the night time when they do it the most. For some mothers, it doesn’t bother. But for some mother, it does. So, try to encourage your baby to cluster feed between 4 p.m. and bedtime. But if the baby doesn’t cooperate, you should get used to it.
Is my baby cluster feeding?
When you see that your baby is consuming a lot of short feeds in a narrow gap over a few hours, you have to consider that you are cluster feeding.
If you are cluster feeding, you might also find that your baby:
- Is having a very short rest or sleeps in between these feeds
- Feeds for a few minutes pull off the nipple and then again put it in
- Cries and become fussy during this time
Now if you see your baby is having a good sleep throughout the afternoon and night, you might not need to cluster feed. But if he/she wakes up multiple times at night, it might be the case of cluster feeding. In this case, try to make it happen earlier unless you don’t mind waking up frequently at night.