Cluster Feeding, What is it? And Why Do Babies Do It?

December 20, 2017

Cluster Feeding, What is it? And Why Do Babies Do It?

Cluster feedings when baby feeds more frequently than others times of the day.  This usually occurs in the evening hours but in very young babies it can feel like it's occurring 24/7.  Many new moms have not been properly educated on just what is "normal" for a brand new infant and when there is a problem that needs to be addressed.  New moms tend to worry if their baby is nursing all the time.  In the beginning the baby is creating the demand needed to establish and then increase moms milk supply.  Also new moms tend to forget that brand new infants tummies are tiny, they need to eat many very small meals through out the day.

Babies also tend to cluster feed around growth spurts or significant developmental leaps.  It's been common thought that baby is preparing mom's supply for the increase they will need for the growth spurt or leap.  

Cluster feeding does not mean mom's supply is low and she needs to supplement.  Many new moms fear that this is the case.  If mom supplements at such an early stage her supply will no doubt be adversely affected.  If mom starts supplementing early on out of fear of low supply, her supply will become low because the demand is no longer there from the baby.  Every feeding that is supplemented is one that the body is not responding to.  It's a cycle that new moms tend to fall into without proper education and support either from experienced family members or lactation professionals.

A mom does not have low supply if her baby's growth continues to increase in line with either the CDC or the WHO growth charts.  Even if she's only pumping a few ounces a day, those are in addition to what her baby is eating.  Our bodies are made to feed our baby, not to feed that baby and create a large stash for use later.

Cluster feeding can be a very tiring time, a very trying time and seam to last forever.  But I will tell you it does end.  In the grand scheme of this it's a very short amount of time, but when you're nose deep it feels like it lasts forever!  

Best pieces of advice for making it through the cluster feeding phase:
  1. Accept it's going to happen and go with it.
  2. Get support from your partner or someone else in the house
  3. Hydrate as much as possible!
  4. Eat whenever you have the opportunity.
  5. Relax and just enjoy the snuggles with your baby, it goes by so quickly
  6. Learn to breastfeed in a carrier so you can move about the house or even leave.
  7. Don't second guess your body or your baby.  

If you're a new mom I hope this blog has been helpful.  If so, please check out our other blogs on topics such as Tips For Beating The Holiday Stress and Organic Formula, USA Vs. Eurrope, Who Does It Better?.  BettyRuth™Baby's purpose is to support all moms, new moms, breastfeeding moms, formula feeding moms, donor milk feeding moms.  Whatever your choice, we're here to educate, support and encourage you!

Meigan Alexander, CLC


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