Newborn babies need to get nutrition from their mother’s breastmilk. Meanwhile, newborn babies tend to sleep and wake in a matter of time within a 24-hour period.
2 weeks old babies after their delivery need as much feeding as they should. The normal sleeping hours of your newborn baby should be every 2-3 or even 3-4 hours and a feeding period within that waking time phases.
This is normal. While other babies could be doing the so-called cluster feeding.
Cluster feeding of babies
Cluster feeding of babies is the period when your baby wants a short feeding time even after a shorter span of hours. It is not anything that is not normal. Babies tend to cluster feed during their early weeks of breastfeeding.
This feeding is a normal action of every baby. They tend to do it every late afternoon or early evening. Some babies cluster feed at any time of the day.
Babies also want to fill up on milk after a few hours. Then, they will often sleep longer than usual.
There are no specific reasons why your baby tends to cluster feed. Some studies say mothers can make much more milk. Others say it helps the newborn babies fill up with more milk, which the newborns need.
How can you tell if your baby is cluster feeding?
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When your baby tends to have short feeds from time to time or feeds after a short break, you are doing a cluster feeding.
If it is evident, you might notice the following situations in your baby:
- has shorter sleep or rests, or having naps in between the feeding period
- feeding only in a short time period then gets on and off your breast
- tends to cry, or be fussy during cluster feeding
Cluster feeding of babies usually happens during the 3 weeks to 6 weeks of their life after delivery. In this period comes your baby’s experience of growth spurts.
Having growth spurts may require more milk than usual to fill in your baby’s stomach. Make sure also that mommies have enough milk to provide for their babies.
Why is cluster feeding normal?
Observing the following situations should let you know if your baby’s cluster feeding is to be treated normally:
- While your baby cluster feeds, they gain weight reasonably
- cluster feeding happens for a limited time, every 3-4 hours a day
- it results in a lot of dirty and wet diapers
- cluster feeding happens after delivery when you have a sufficient milk supply
- during cluster feeding, your baby has short rests and sleeps
- your baby feeds for a short time, then pulls on and off your breast
- your baby is crying and fussed during cluster feeding
If you are worried about your insufficient milk supply, you may ask for a pediatrician’s help.
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Cluster feeding at day and night
Cluster feeding do not have a strict schedule. The same with when or how will you wake up your baby to breastfeed.
Meanwhile, here are 4 possible scenarios for when and how your baby will cluster feed.
- Your baby may cluster feed at night, but not during the day
- Your baby would cluster feed both in day and night
- During cluster feeding, your baby might only take snacks, not a full long feeding
- Your baby may cluster feed during the late afternoon, or later in the evening (possibly 5 pm to 11 pm)
However, there are claims that cluster feeding happens or may occur during the night than morning.
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Baby cluster feeds so much at night
Your baby might cluster feed at any time of the day, but it is common that your baby cluster feeds during the night, and even through the night.
You may find it difficult and yet, cluster feeding could be more convenient and perfect for both you and your baby. Then, as 5 pm ticks, your baby starts to want to breastfeed.
It may be a course of growth spurts or having to produce an adequate amount of milk supply. However, mommies, it is not always about “what is for the nutrition”.
Nighttime is very tiring for your baby. If your baby gets tired, they tend to ask for nursing. These give them comfort.
Thoughts about it may not be true for every baby, but the mom needs to cluster feed her baby more in the evening because she might not breastfeed fuller from one session as she does at other schedules in the day, when the breastmilk is full in supply.
A baby wanting to cluster feed is not an indication of a lower milk supply. As a mom, you may need to nurse them at their lead, as your body responds by producing more milk as to what your baby needs.
If your baby has finished feeding half an hour ago then ask for breastfeeding again as they cry, you might think that hunger is not the issue.
But if you observed that nursing your baby stops them from crying, then that is why you need to cluster feed them, and they need to feed again.
This is very exhausting for mommies, particularly that it would occur during countless nights, but it is good and important for your baby that you let it happen.
Doing cluster feeding will help your baby get as much feeding as they need. It will also help your body to produce more milk required to suffice your baby’s nutritional needs.
Cluster feeding is temporary. Do it in a manner that both you and your baby may be relaxed through it as possible and better.
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How to stop or manage your baby’s cluster feeding?
Mommies, remember, it is a very difficult and confusing phase in your baby’s first weeks. This phase is not permanent and will pass.
The habits you both start now with your baby may build a strong foundation. Then it will fade out step by step will come naturally and be mutually beneficial for both of you.
Dealing with cluster feeding is also a must because there are times when it is not normal. You can notice this abnormality in the following situations:
- your baby is not gaining any weight
- your baby’s cluster feeding does not result in dirty and wet diapers
- your baby does not settle after every cluster of feeding
And by dealing with it, we should always remember that it is normal. We should take note of the following steps to make your baby’s feeding easier:
- follow your baby’s needs and leads
- expect that your baby will be sleepy and settled after feeding
- try resting during the day to prepare for the night’s cluster feeding
- drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
- do not skip meals and eat properly
- accompany yourself with friends and family to support you
Mommies, do not stress yourself out with your baby’s cluster feeding. If something happens that does not fit, consult your doctor or pediatrician to find support.
Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. theAsianparent Philippines is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend to consult your doctor for clearer information.