Cluster Feedings

Cluster Feeding Breastfeeding Advice

What is cluster feeding or bunch feeding?

Cluster feedings are apparent when a baby has periods when he/she constantly breastfeeds for about three hours or thereabouts. 

Sometimes a baby might fall asleep on the breast, refusing to let go and wanting to nurse more when waking. These babies are usually cranky and fussy and extremely demanding.

Enduring a Cluster Feeding Evening again?

Cluster nursing usually happens in the evenings, but can occur any time during the day or in the middle of the night.

Cluster breastfeeding is actually very common in newborn babies. Cluster feeding at night can become very tedious; Mom and Baby will usually end up sleeping in the same bed.

During the day, the baby might only breastfeed a few times and sleep between feedings. In the evenings, he/she might try to catch up on lost feedings with a period of continuous feeding.

NB: Cluster sessions do not indicate a low milk supply!

Supplementing your baby with formula will cause your body to produce less milk. By allowing the extra feedings, you ensure that your body is producing just the right amount of milk for your little one.

Possible Causes of Cluster Feedings

  • Growth spurts.
  • Acid reflux.
  • Breast milk supply is generally lower in the evenings and evening feed breast milk is not as rich as morning breast milk.
  • Your baby might have extra sucking and bonding needs in the evening.
  • Colic can also cause a baby to want to breastfeed more often.
  • Milk flow is sometimes slower in the evenings.
  • Cluster feeding babies are usually seeking closeness (maybe because mom is working during the day). Read more about comfort sucking here.

How Long does a Bunch Feeding Last?

It depends on the baby, but usually it only lasts the first month and then returns during growth spurts i.e. month 3, 6 etc.

Baby Cluster Feeding Problem

  • Take your baby to the pediatrician to make sure that the problem is not caused by GERD.
  • Prepare  your activities around a cluster feed, if you know that your baby usually cluster feeds at a certain time of the day.
  • Get your little one to breastfeed while in a sling; this gives you more freedom to move around and also helps calm a fussy, gassy baby.
  • Keep yourself busy while baby is breastfeeding; read your favorite magazine, watch a movie or chat on the phone.
  • Read these super tips on how to relax while breastfeeding.
  • Swaddling your baby can calm him/her for breastfeeding, too.
  • Breastfeed on demand and avoid sticking to a feeding schedule, as this can make your baby even more fussy and miserable.
  • Newborn cluster feeding is a temporary thing and learning to work around it and accept it, will help you enjoy your breastfeeding experience more.
  • Infant cluster feeding can work to the advantage of mothers who are returning to work, as babies who cluster feed, usually sleep longer at night. A mother can use this time to relax and bond with her baby.

One Mommy's Experience and her Advice...

Can you overfeed a breastfed baby?

Other pages on “breastfeeding problems" in connection with cluster feeding newborns:

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What Other Moms Have Said

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I struggled so bad with lack of sleep during the first four weeks. She cluster fed constantly. Hourly! At 4 week check up she was only 3 oz above her …

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For the past 24 hours Jackson has been on a frenzy and feeding nearly every hour. We try to feed, play and sleep, or just feed and sleep etc. But at …

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Glad to know this cluster feeding thing is normal and that one day it will end. :)

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