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Why Do Babies Cluster Feed and Other Important Details About Feeding of Babies!

what is cluster feeding

The meaning of cluster feeding is actively used by breastfeeding consultants, but not all even experienced mothers know it. In practice, almost everyone has come across it, but alas, not everyone wants to understand it without additional help. Today in the article we will analyze this topic in detail, as well as tell you cluster feeding stages and other important facts about this.

What Is Cluster Feeding?

why do babies cluster feed

Grouped or cluster feeding refers to a period in the life of a nursing mother when the baby begins to demand more breastfeeding. In other words, your baby can hang on your breast for hours while receiving small doses of milk. Such a period is temporary and doesn’t imply anything bad. Such leaps in feeding are since it is still difficult for a child to adapt to new conditions in the first months of life. And breast milk and breastfeeding not only provide the necessary food and drink but also soothe the baby, have a positive effect on well-being and development.

Cluster feeding is considered the norm if the baby is at the breast without pauses for no more than an hour in one attachment, and the episode of “continuous” feeding itself lasts no more than 48 hours. If on the third day the baby doesn’t come off the breast, then most likely you need the help of a breastfeeding-friendly pediatrician or a breastfeeding consultant.

How Long Do Cluster Feedings Last?

how to stop cluster feeding

According to experts, cluster feeding age in newborns in the first 28 days of life and then repeats at about three months. Moreover, the attack of the first cluster feeding most often occurs approximately on the tenth day after birth. But remember, such a framework is conditional, and each child is characterized by his development and his regime. So you need to be prepared for a new cluster feeding schedule in the first months of your baby’s life.

Typically, cluster feedings begin in the late afternoon before bedtime, sometimes they can last all day. Baby cluster feeding at night is also absolutely normal, because children often need additional food at night, and especially in the first months of life.

At the same time, jumps in nutrition are accompanied by a sharp increase in height, weight, and accelerated development.

One episode of grouped feedings lasts up to two days, and the attachment itself lasts no more than an hour. If this period lasts longer than 48 hours, it is recommended that you consult your doctor or HB counselor.

Note that not every child has such a need. If it has arisen, don’t be alarmed. This is a physiological norm, which doesn’t mean that the mother has little milk or the newborn is sick with something. With such manifestations, don’t formula babies cluster feed or add water!

Another equally frequently asked question is at what age do babies stop cluster feeding. This should stop by about six months. At this age, it is already necessary to try to kill the child according to a certain regimen.

Signs of Cluster Feeding

cluster feeding age chart

Before you start doing this, it’s best to break down why do babies cluster feed so that you don’t treat it like you or your child has any problems. In the first months, the baby is often tormented by colic, abdominal pain, flatulence, and other problems with digestion and stool, and of course, the child requires a lot of attention from the mother. In such situations, it helps to get rid of unpleasant sensations in your body. Yes, the more problems the baby is worried about, the more he may ask for your breast.

Breast milk and sucking reduce pain, relieve stress, and soothe the baby. Don’t forget about the physical contact of the mother with the baby, which has a beneficial effect on the mental health and emotional well-being of both.

How To Deal With Cluster Feeding?

cluster feeding stages

While it is normal for a baby to be over-caring for the first few days of life, cluster feeds and not being able to move away from the baby can make you nervous. Here are some recommendations on how to make cluster feed more enjoyable and bearable:

  • Wear soft, practical clothes that would be more comfortable in them, such as super cozy pajamas or an ultra-soft nursing bra that supports but doesn’t constrict the breasts;
  • Let your body sleep and recover between feedings;
  • Don’t forget to eat to also recuperate, receive vitamins and pass them on to the child;
  • Feed-in a TV room so you can watch something;
  • Use feeding time to listen to audiobooks or music;
  • Call your friend while the baby is eating, and since your hands should be free, it is better to use headphones.

Should I Add Formula to Cluster Feeding?

cluster feeding meaning

It may seem to many that if a child drinks too much milk, then it may simply end at one moment. What do you think about can you run out of milk during cluster feeding? Yes, this can happen. This is due to possible supplements you can give your baby in addition to your milk. As we all know, when a baby drinks your milk, the body would produce as much of it as it needs to fully feed. And since some of the food is taken by formula, your body decreases the amount of milk production. Only in this case, your milk production can stop altogether.

So if you plan to continue breastfeeding your baby, try not to use anything other than your milk during cluster feeding. But if you are thinking about how to stop cluster feeding, you need to reconsider how your child eats. It is important not to have snacks between meals, otherwise, it would become a habit and you won’t be able to wean your child from such nutrition for a long time. It is better to try to give your child as much milk as he wants during the main meal so that he doesn’t want to eat again after a short period.

Tips for Cluster Feeding

signs of cluster feeding

Here are some other helpful tips that you may find useful while feeding:

  • Remember to make time for other family members. The feeding process doesn’t mean that you have to sit still while the baby doesn’t eat. At this time, you can calmly move around and do other sedentary activities, for example, read fairy tales to other children, or pay attention to your husband.
  • If you feel pain in the nipples, or even cracks appear on them, this must be corrected so as not to aggravate the situation and not to infect an infection. Smear these areas with Bepanthen, and keep your chest open for a while after each feed. If this doesn’t help, then it’s time to see a doctor.
  • For more comfortable movement, use a sling. In it, you can breastfeed on the go, which means you can walk calmly, and not sit within four walls. Another advantage is that when your baby wakes up, you can offer the breast right away without waiting for screaming and crying.

You are now a true connoisseur of cluster feeding in newborns. It would be easier for you to endure this period soon because you understand how to act and how to help yourself in this difficult period. Just understand that this is important for both of you with your child and give yourself up to the full process, and soon you would completely understand that this is a very pleasant and special ritual with your newborn.

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