Alright all of my nursing mamas out there, let’s talk about the cluster feeding frenzy! Most newborns experience it. I know I’ve said it before, but breastfeeding can be exhausting. Also, let’s always keep in mind that every newborn is different and some won’t do this at all! Typically, at 3 weeks, and then again at 6 weeks your newborn starts sleeping better and this is normally about the time they might start to cluster feed. That’s because they are growing at a rapid rate and need to eat enough to support their sudden growth spurt.
On a positive note, cluster feeding can boost your milk supply. A lot of mom’s struggle with knowing if their baby is getting enough to eat. Just remember that your milk supply is naturally meeting his demand for food. In the beginning he probably did more sleeping than eating which is most likely why your supply seemed slow at first. As his need for more food increases so will his calorie and nutrition needs. His need for breast milk will double in the first six months! So if you’re trying to find the right tactics this is it! If your newborn wants to nurse every 30 minutes for a few days to a week then it’s smart to let him. He is doing it for good reason. This can be a stressful time for mom’s (I know it was for me) but just remember that this too will pass. Overtime your little one will become more efficient and won’t find the world so scary anymore which will reduce the time he needs to be on you.
Cluster feeding is fun for your little bottomless pit, but it can be extremely exhausting for Mom. It can leave her emotionally and physically drained. Hang in there Mama, because cluster feeding rarely goes for more than two days at a time. If it lasts longer than a week get his weight checked. There is a chance that your new baby isn’t getting enough calories or you could just have a slow eater on your hands. Either way, he is probably nursing every hour. I know sometimes it’s close to impossible but do your best to get as much sleep as possible.
In order to make a cluster feeding session more bearable be prepared! Make sure you’re eating well, that you are hydrated, bring a snack, have your favorite show or movie or book ready to go, and most importantly, get comfortable! Actually, cluster feeding doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to the couch. You can very easily put your little one in a sling and go around the house and do some chores.
Don’t ever think your milk supply is inadequate. If you switch to formula chances are it will backfire on you and hinder your milk production and you will dry up a lot quicker than you wanted. As long as your baby is gaining weight and producing enough diapers than your supply is plenty.
If you can’t handle cluster feeding there are things you can do to stop it. You could start pumping between feedings to put your supply into overdrive. Try to power pump! Which consists of pumping for 10-20 minutes, resting for 10 minutes and repeat for one hour. If you are really worried that your little one isn’t getting enough to eat then reach out to a lactation consultant. They have some great tips they can share with you in order to make sure your baby is getting enough.