Does baby seem to be feeding nonstop and you aren’t sure whether they’re actually feeding or just trying to be close? Here’s how you know if baby is cluster feeding.
If you’re reading this you may be offering constant feeds, holding baby at the breast for long periods, and wondering if this is good or bad or working or not working.
I understand, the newborn period is one of Twilight Zone feelings. For about 3 months. Life is unpredictable now, you are in “deep time” not clock counting, and you’re wondering how to know if baby actually is cluster feeding.
Well, let me help you find that out.
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How Do I Know If Baby Is Cluster Feeding?
Cluster feeding is a pattern of breastfeeding when baby groups several feeding sessions in a short window of time. It can happen for a number of reasons (some purposeful, some not), which we’ll dive into below.
So if baby is feeding every hour or two (taking full feeds) and then still wanting to feed again in a short period, this is cluster feeding.
Let’s talk about what cluster feeding is not
Cluster feeding is not having your baby at the breast for hours at a time. This is not feeding, this is either comfort nursing or sucking or simply them using you as a pacifier.
All of which are fine if you’re fine with them.
However, many mothers don’t have the luxury of sitting on a chair all day long while their baby snoozes away feeding. There are toddlers to take care of, things to do, meals to cook, etc. and so they want to make sure they’re giving baby plenty of feeds but not having a baby that is NOT ACTUALLY FEEDING right there.
You get to decide if baby cluster feeds or not
If baby is only truly sucking for a few minutes then snoozing, this isn’t a true feed and you can offer a pacifier instead. Or simply put them down for a nap.
If they’re falling asleep on you they are likely tired and you can settle them in their safe sleeping space.
When babies are going through growth spurts you’ll likely feed them more frequently throughout the day to up your milk supply – which is great – but it still won’t result in nonstop for hours feeding.
Tried-and-true *hands on* newborn settling strategies that even the most fussy (or wide-awake-sleep-refusing) newborns cannot resist!Learn More
Here’s what to do
Break the latch gently with your finger and if baby doesn’t notice, he isn’t feeding.
Keep baby awake – even if they try to fall asleep! – while feeding and then you’ll know when baby is done feeding.
Let baby spend their awake time between naps on tummy time or on your lap or with a sibling, etc.
Babies will take full feeds every few hours (2.5 to 3 ish in those first few months) so if you know they’ve had a full feed but are still gently sucking away, it’s likely a comfort feed and you can eliminate it if desired.
Use my simple 4 step routine to help your little ones start sleeping better LIKE TODAY.
It doesn’t take weeks, mama.