Baby Cluster Feeding

by Jen - MamaYoga

This is the first place I've ever read/heard the term "cluster feeding." My first daughter did this quite a bit, and every attempt I made to stop it failed miserably so I finally just gave in and made the best of it.

Everyone, including my midwife and lactation consultant, said I should try to break the habit she was forming. But I let her go on cluster feeding and co-sleeping and clinging to me constantly.

When she was just over 2.5 years old, she quit breastfeeding, and co-sleeping and potty trained all in the same week. Shortly after that, I took her to daycare for the first time, and she ran off happily, not caring whether I stayed or not.

Some kids are just born a little insecure, and I firmly believe that if you just let them know that you'll be there as long or as much as they need you, they will relax and grow out of the behavior much sooner. It's nice to finally read something that says following my instincts was the best thing to do.

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Cluster baby

by Stephanie

Actually pretty helpful. My daughter is a week old. Sometimes she will nurse for about an hour and be done and pass right out. Other times she will nurse for hours on end and right when I think she may be done. She wants more.

She usually likes to wake up and nurse until she falls back asleep. Now and then she will be done and stay awake and relax for a few before she will either pass out or nurse again till she is passed out.

I usually let her nurse on one side until I notice she is slowing down, burp her for a good minute or two at least, then switch sides. She is usually on each side for about 15-30 minutes before I need to switch her.

and she usually never cries unless she is hungry or every now and then when she wants to be held

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Cluster feeding/nap questions

by shelley

My son is now two weeks and one day old. So far we've been breastfeeding on demand every 1-3 hours and swaddling him in the night having him sleep on his side. That has allowed him to sleep for five hours at a time.

During the day when he sleeps, we put him in his bouncy seat or swing. The doctor told me this week that not only can I not swaddle him anymore I also have to wait at least two hours between feedings and that I need to put him on his back and stomach a few hours during the day.

She says that if we swaddle him, he'll work his way out of the swaddle and wake up so we'll have to get up to re-swaddle him. And that we can't cluster feed because he'll get used to it and be expecting to be fed everytime he cries.

So the past two days have been a living hell. He hates being put on his back and stomach and will only sleep for twenty minutes at a time when I position him like that.

Additionally, he hasn't been sleeping because he's hungry all the time since I have to wait two hours to feed him. We've been miserable and decided to only swaddle in the night because we'd rather wake up once every five hours to reswaddle/feed instead of every twenty minutes to try and soothe him without a swaddle.

We've given up on him sleeping on his back or stomach during the night because the same thing happens, waking up every twenty minutes.

I've been in tears not being able to feed him when he's hungry, and I don't know what to do. When I finally to get to feed him, I have to fight to get him to stay awake so he can do fifteen minutes on each breast. Because of that, I don't enjoy breastfeeding as I used to since I have to fight him to keep him from falling asleep.

I don't know what to do I want to do what the doctor says, but I want to feed my baby if he's obviously hungry. I feel like the doctor has made our lives miserable because of these stupid rules. Any advice?

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Dec 16, 2013
"Rules" of parenting
by: Lyssa

The first and most important rule in parenting is to do what feel right for you, your baby, and your family.

It seems to me that you had a great system that worked very well for you an baby!

Doctors are supposed to be people we trust to always know best, but that is simply not the case, especially when it comes to breastfeeding and parenting.

Follow your instincts. If baby sleeps best on their side, do that. If baby is hungry every hour, feed them!

You can NOT spoil a newborn. By responding to baby's cues, you are teaching them to trust you and to care for them.

Follow your instincts. Ignore your doctor, who is NOT a specialist in breastfeeding and is giving you the standard for FORMULA fed babies. It may be hard, but your baby will thank you.

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Cluster feeding issues

by Kelly

My son is seven weeks old, and every evening about five all he wants to do is nurse until about 11.

He spends 10-15 minutes on each side eating and then comfort nurses for about 30 minutes on the last side.

Then he will take a 10-minute break. During eating time, I can hear a good suck-swallow rhythm, but during comfort nursing, his suck is weaker with no or little swallowing.

It is overwhelming as Dad can hardly spend any time with him and I am the only one who can comfort him.

I know it is normal and will end eventually. He is content after eating the rest of the day. I want some reassurance that I am doing the right thing. He is my third. My older two didn't go through this phase. He was also a month early. Thanks!

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Jan 05, 2014
Boobs, the original pacifier
by: Lyssa

Breasts are the original pacifier. If you notice baby is using you to comfort nurse,you have a few options. You can sit/lay and nurse baby, wear your baby and nurse, or give baby a plastic fake pacifier if he will take one.

It may be easier for dad to comfort baby if baby can't see or smell you (or your boobs) in the room. It may also help if baby is wrapped in a shirt you wore the day before or if you drape the shirt over dad's shoulder and have baby rest against it. Dad and baby need to work together and find their own rhythm,and after a good feeding, should be left for a bit of time to do so.

It can be frustrating for mom to hear baby cry and not run over and instantly fix everything, but it can frustrate dad to also not be as easily able to comfort baby. Give it time.

It sounds like baby is well fed and generally happy and just needs time to adjust to dad being around at night.

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Night time cluster feeding and reverse sleeping?

by beth
(greenville, SC, usa)

I'm a new mom, and my baby is about 10-11 days old. At first, when my milk came in, I was struggling with engorgement, but after that evened out through pumping my left nipple started to hurt a lot and crack and bleed.

The Lactation consultant I talked to said to use bacitracin and pump on that side and use a slow flow bottle Dr. Brown's because she had seen me and seen that my baby had a good latch and did not think that this would undo the progress we had made.

So I started pumping on the left and feeding him the slow flow bottle. He did great. And since my right nipple was OK, we continued to nurse at every feeding from that too. Well, last night it scared me BC he did some cluster feeding, and I felt maybe he got too much from the bottle because he went after it voraciously.

And we had a 3-4 hr cluster feeding session between the bottle, my right breast, and I even brought my left breast back into play, but afterward decided that wasn't best because it hurt again after nursing.

We have also been following the 1-3 hr day schedule and 2-4 hr this has been difficult because I don't get much sleep at night because he is a slow nurser.

I'm wondering if I should approach it with more of an on-demand thing during the day and hope for longer stretches at night.

Any wisdom on how to get longer stretches at night? I have been letting him nap for a long time during the day, and I heard that might hurt their nighttime patterns.

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Jul 21, 2014
some advice
by: Tracy

Hi Beth

I always recommend to breastfeed on demand, I personally do not believe in schedules...especially now that your baby has reached the two week mark.

It could be that your baby is going through a growth spurt, during these times a baby sometimes drinks more than usual, its nothing to worry about and feeding frequency should normalize again within a few days.

There is a way to get him to sleep longer stretches. You can pump as you are, but separate the foremilk from the hind milk. You can do this, by pumping the watery foremilk and putting this one side. Then pump the thicker milk and keep this hindmilk for night time feedings. The hindmilk will keep your little one satisfied longer, because it contains more fats. You can then mix the extra foremilk with the day time feeds.

In connection with your nipple that cracks and bleeds. Have you tried different breastfeeding positions on that side? Sometimes, when a baby is positioned differently, it can reduce friction.

Is there a noticeable difference in nipple size or shape on that side?
Have you tried using lanonlin?

The long naps during the day could definitely effect the sleeping pattern at night. Is he sleeping longer than 3 hour stretches during the day? If so, I know it can be difficult to get them to wake could try. Or try to breastfeed him while he is half asleep, this will ensure that he is not as hungry during night hours. Reverse cycling is common and natural...but I know its not easy for a mom. (my little girl did this for a few months)

I hope this was helpful, let me know how things go! Would love to hear from you again


P.S. I've posted this on our facebook page so that you get more advice...

Your Post on Facebook

Jul 21, 2014
No schedule
by: Sara

I am on my second baby and have let them both create their own schedules. I feed on demand and sometimes I feel like it is every 20 minutes. My first would take many naps during the day and eat every two hours at night. My second (12 weeks) has started staying up most of the day and sleeping for increasing amounts of time at night. Last night was five hours before she woke up to eat.

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Feeding too much

by Gejay
(New South Wales)

Can anyone tell me because I have no experience in these matters is it normal for a mother to feed her new baby daughter night and day since birth buby is now three months old every 2 to 3 hours it somehow seems a little too much

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Jan 31, 2012
Perfect feeding schedule
by: Tracy


Yes, that is perfect timing! Your newborn should be breastfeeding/formula feeding at least every 2 to 3 hours during the day and at night. Here from about 2 months your baby might only decide to start sleeping through at night...if you are one of the lucky ones! ;-)

You can be grateful baby is not breastfeeding more often than that! Mine loved to comfort feed and would spend an hour on the breast with each time she wanted to drink, but then I loved it too...coz it gave me time to be lazy for once.

Jan 31, 2012
Reply to comment
by: Geyjay

Hi Tracy
Thank you very much for your response to my query
because you are obviously a nursing mum and its fairly obvious that you know what you are talking about I on the other hand am just a concerned grandfather. please before you jump down my throat
and tell me to pull my head in please let me explain...

I do not mix in my children's lives and only offer an opinion when asked ohhh yearrr i can hear you say well it's true I am too busy with my own interests and life to have the time i have been on this planet.

for 64 years and have learned from my mistakes but when something looks wrong it's usually because it is wrong. What would you think if I were to tell you that the buby is fed every 1 to 1 and a1/2 hours night and day.

would you still insist this is normal we had 2 children and both were breast fed my wife thinks it's excessive what do you think because I just don't know cheers.

Geyjay (look i don't have a problem with a mum wanting to spend as much time with her buby as she can I think it's beautiful but it seems a little excessive what do you think)

Feb 02, 2012
other questions and suggestions
by: Tracy


Is mom coping with the demand? Does she seem to have a low milk supply? If she does, there are things she can about it...I will explain more in detail if this is the case.

Baby might also be comfort feeding as mine did. If this is the case, baby is old enough to introduce a pacifier. Has mom tried that yet? At three months it won't cause nipple confusion if that is what she is worried about.

Feb 02, 2012
food for thought
by: Gejay

Hi Tracy thank you for the response you have given me food for thought i had at first thought that the mum was fixating on the bub in an unhealthy way but now you have got me thinking.

Thank you, after all how do you define normal.

Oh and there is no problem in the supply department the mum has been well and truly blessed. I now have some things to think about.

Thank you for taking the time to send intelligent answers

cheers Gejay

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Flutter feeding.

Can anyone tell me more about flutter feeding or comfort sucking she has an upset tummy?

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Apr 02, 2014
lactose overload
by: Anonymous


Has your milk supply increased with the comfort feeding? It could be that she has a bit of a lactose overload, due to the increase in your milk and this is upsetting baby's tummy. If this is the case, you can try breastfeeding from just one breast with each feeding. If the other breast becomes a little engorged, you can pump some for relief. After a while your supply should decrease and this will help with the lactose overload problem.

Dos that answer your question?

Jul 20, 2015
Flutter sucking problem
by: Anonymous

My son is 3 weeks old and does nothing but flutter suck. He is not getting any milk and I need to supplement because of this. How do I get him to start sucking?

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Comfort feeding

by Linus
(London, England)

I'm a dad of four lovely children, I may not have first-hand experience of breastfeeding (I'd be a millionaire if I had), but I witnessed the bond between mother and baby for a long time. There is no better way to feed your baby, but occasionally it can become a little complex.

One of our children used to use mum (yup I'm from London) as the only method of sleeping. So I would have to tiptoe him back into his cot when he'd finish feeding only to hear him wriggling around and crying for the 47th feed in a night. It can become a vicious cycle because a tired mum and dad want to get back to the little amount of sleep you get and it's hard to break.

I wrote in more depth about this, and luckily we found a way out eventually. It might not work for all, but it did for us.

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Mar 15, 2015
Your prospective fortune...
by: Anonymous

Actually, while it is socially taboo, men can apparently breast feed, as you can read about on this very site, under the heading "lactating-man," among other places.
Always something new to learn on the Internet, ain't there?

Mar 16, 2015
Rich at last
by: Linus

And I've been working for such little money for so long! Now you tell me.

Thanks for the heads up, I'll check that out.

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Comfort Feeding

by Anonymous

Hi, my 12-month-old son still nurses before naps and bed, but I've been noticing that he does this thing where he sucks my nipple in and out of his mouth a lot before falling asleep. I think my milk has almost completely dried up--is that why? Any suggestions or similar issues?

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Nov 17, 2011
by: Anonymous

I also should add that it really hurts and is one of the only reasons I'm considering weaning--but I would rather figure out how to fix this issue so I don't have to wean! :(

Nov 17, 2011
by: Tracy


It does sound as if maybe he gets a bit bored with the flow or quantity of milk. Why do you think your milk supply is dried up?

Do you want to increase your supply? Are you working during the day?

Has your little boy started teething yet? They sometimes pull on the nipple when their gums are bothering them. (some children do only start teething after a year)

Feb 07, 2014
Check for Thrush
by: Anonymous

This is late but maybe it will help someone else. Check for thrush, my 2 year old did the same. Nipples sore, in and out of mouth. Thrush can look different in older babies.

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Feeding for hours

by RHL

Can someone tell me if it's normal for my 4week old baby to be feeding on the breast for 2hrs switching sides backward n fwds n still not satisfied? This usually happens in the evenings.

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Feb 09, 2011
It's normal ;-)
by: Tracy

yes, it is normal, it's called cluster feeding and it usually happens in the evenings.

Here is some info that will help...

Good luck!

Apr 09, 2012
hang in there!
by: Z

Well my baby who's now two monts did that and it's because she's increasing your supply or mayb she wants to burp or she might be gassy....there's many reasons for comfort too mine does that four weeks is still little just hang in there!

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Haven't Slept for a Year

by Jessica

I don't see anything on here that I haven't done already...none of it works!!! I don't know what to do!!! My baby hasn't let me sleep since he was born almost a year ago...what can I do?

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Oct 01, 2012
stop if no sleep affects you parenting!
by: Anonymous

stop breast've done your bit and made sure your baby has the best start in life but you've gotta work out which is more important.....carry on breast feeding or sleeping. Being tired is the worst feeling in the world. I breast fed my 1st child for 11 months. For the 1st 6 months he fed every 2 hrs all day and night. I have never felt so bad and looking back now it definatly had an affect on my parenting/bonding with my child. I am now breast feeding my 10 week old, but i definatly would look at combine feeding or stop all togetgher if she wasnt sleeping! Babies need more than just breast milk....they need holistic care and if not sleeping affects other aspects then you need to have a long hard think on the pro's and cons!
There is so much pressure to breast feed but your not a bad mum if you stop!

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This cluster feeding thing is normal

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

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