Cluster Feeding drove this mom to the brink of insanity. Or so that is how it felt. I could not understand for the life of me why my son wanted to constantly be attached to the breast. I remember thinking I am DONE. I went to the kitchen grabbed the formula and opened it to make a bottle.
Then my son looked at me and I started crying and caved in and gave him the boob.
I didn’t know at the time that my son was cluster feeding. I called my lactation consultant and she told me what was up.
There is so much to know about breastfeeding. If you are just getting started you should read this article here.
So What Exactly is Cluster Feeding?
Right when you get the hang of breastfeeding your baby throws a curve ball at you and. . . BAM! Now you have a baby who is acting constantly hungry. What exactly is cluster feeding though?
This mom likes to break things up with word for word definitions.
Cluster: Occurring closely together
Feeding: To Take Food
Cluster feeding is just that. When your baby is eating off your breast closely together.
When and WHY Does Cluster Feeding Happen?
Cluster feeding has a schedule of its own depending on the baby. And by that I mean when your child is going through a developmental leap whether that being a mental leap or growth spurt.
The best app I can recommend is The Wonder Weeks App! It is a prediction guru. Want to know when your baby is about to go through a growth spurt, or when they are going to go through mental leaps! This app even goes one step forward to let you know what skills to expect during each leap. HIGHLY recommend.
The reason behind cluster feeding is technically unknown BUT it is believed to increase a mothers milk supply. Milk supply is created based off of supply and demand. When your baby is eating more frequently together it is stimulating the breasts to make more milk.
How Often Can You Expect a Baby to Eat During Cluster Feeding?
Get ready to not be happy with my answer. Every baby is different. You have heard the saying “No two kids are alike”. The same is said for babies.
Some babies will literally be attached to the boob eating every few minutes for a couple hours at a time. This usually coincides with something called the “Witching Hour“.
There are no exact times that I can give you for how often your baby will breastfeed. BUT if you are concerned that your baby is not getting enough milk I highly suggest going to a breastfeeding support group and do a weighted feed. Also do not forget to count wet diapers as they are highly important to making sure that your baby is hydrated.
Tips for Surviving Cluster Feeding
Cluster feeding will make you want to pull your hair out. The constant being on your breast and off and on. RINSE AND REPEAT.
- Grab your nursing pillow and get comfy on the couch and turn on your favorite TV show. Babies can feel when you are stressed out.
- Wear Your Baby ! I loved baby wearing. My son was able to nurse off of me while I was doing the dishes. *Insert Happy Mom Dance Here*
- Have Dad take the baby for a little bit and grab a hot relaxing shower!
- Take Care of Yourself!
YOU ARE A ROCKSTAR
Cluster feeding does not last forever. You got this. Take a few deep breaths and look at your beautiful baby. Remember that breastfeeding can be hard work, but it is so so rewarding.