It’s normal for a young baby to have a block in the day when they feed frequently – sometimes continuously. They may also be unsettled and seem frustrated at the breast (especially if they are tired). This can be a worrying time for parents but it can be reassuring to know that cluster feeding is doing an important job. It helps milk supply develop to reach baby’s needs. More frequent feeding sends messages to increase production. A baby feeding on an emptier breast is also getting higher fat content milk which may help them begin to sleep for longer intervals. Cluster feeding is also an opportunity for closeness and comfort. It often happens at the end of the day when babies might feel tired or overwhelmed.
“I wish I’d known that its normal and healthy for babies to cluster feed - i.e. to feed for hours on end and that the best way to deal with this is to make a nest on the sofa and see it as a chance to watch a lot of telly, or read a book!”
“And I wish I’d known that if the baby can't stop feeding and it seems overwhelming and that something is wrong - Let. the. baby. nurse. 9 times out of 10 that's what building your supply looks like.”
“I wish I’d known how normal it was for our son to feed as often as he did. He LOVED being at the boob, for hours, with short and long snoozes in between in my arms. I could see that he was getting enough, and he was super content, but people were as clueless as me saying “Can’t be hungry again?!” etc., so I just thought there must be a problem. I felt anxious. I didn’t know he was also needing things like closeness, comfort, pain and anti-inflammatory relief when he was teething etc., not just food. The first growth spurt completely freaked me out.”
“Definitely wish I’d known about cluster feeding. I remember he was only a couple of weeks old and I was at my mom's house for a celebration and he wanted feeding every 30 mins/hour. I had to listen to a few comments like 'feeding again?' ‘Surely he can't be hungry again?' but I was lucky that I had joined online breastfeeding groups and just carried on feeding him in the knowledge that he was going through a growth spurt or cluster feeding.”
“First time around I wish I had known about cluster feeding. I felt like I had been run over by a truck!”