If you’ve been cluster feeding and feel like it’s never ending, you may want to know can a pacifier help with cluster feeding, well, read on for the answer and more tips!
If you’ve got a newborn who seems to be “cluster feeding” around the clock, you’re probably looking for some momentary relief and strategies to help baby be settled without feeding.
You’ve come to the right place.
Can a pacifier help with cluster feeding?
First, cluster feeding is not feeding nonstop for hours and hours. Cluster feeding is offering baby full feeds at intervals that are closer together than normal. For example, you’d feed baby at 4 pm, 6pm, and 8pm to help top up their tummies for night sleep.
If baby is feeding for more than an hour or two at a time, they are simply sucking for comfort, to meet their non nutritive sucking needs, or because they love you and want to be near.
How can a pacifier help?
If your baby is feeding long past the point of getting actual milk and they are simply remaining at the breast for comfort, connection, and non-nutritive sucking, then you can introduce the pacifier.
- After bay has had a full feed, you can introduce the pacifier
- Tug on the pacifier after it’s in the baby’s mouth so their instinct to suck it harder will be triggered and they’ll be more likely to take it
- If baby’s had a full feed and gets fussy, it’s likely because they are tired and need a proper nap, not more milk. Instead, offer the pacifier as a way to help settle them in to their nap
- If baby has had a full feed and wakes super early from a nap, put the pacifier back in or offer the pacifier in lieu of feeding
Newborn Settling Guide
Tried-and-true *hands on* newborn settling strategies that even the most fussy (or wide-awake-sleep-refusing) newborns cannot resist!Learn More
Cluster feeding isn’t really accidental
I have an entire super helpful post on cluster feeding right here, but the main point I’ll make here is that cluster feeding is something you can purposefully do during a (1) growth spurts and/or (2) during the late afternoon / early evening hours to make sure baby is getting enough milk for the night.
- Growth spurts | If baby is having a growth spurts, you don’t want to use the pacifier instead of cluster feeding because then the spurt will last longer. You need to offer more feeds to stimulate milk production which will help the growth spurt pass.
- Late afternoon / early evening hours | After a long stressful day milk quality can tend to be lower and, since bedtime is coming, it’s a good idea to either do split feeds or cluster feeds in those hours before bedtime. It’ll help baby get full and take advantage of those hours before midnight where the sleep drive is the highest and sleep quality is at its best.
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