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Thread: Cluster feeding - is this normal??

  1. #1

    Default Cluster feeding - is this normal??

    I know babies are supposed to cluster feed in the evening, and that this is in preparation for sleeping for longer stretches at night. But does this sound normal?: my DS is 10 weeks old, and has cluster fed EVERY night since birth for an average of 5 hours per night. In addition, by this point I don't seem to have any milk left and she gets more and more frustrated, sucking really hard and pulling my nipples until she gets anything (which only happens intermittently when my drained breasts manage to produce anything). If I take her off and give her to my husband for a break she goes crazy until she's allowed back on, at which point the assault on my nipples begins again until she falls asleep. For the last 5 weeks I have done that switch nursing thing, where I swap sides every time the swallowing ends, so that she gets a little more, but doing this for hours on end every single night is really starting to wear me down.

    What I don't understand is why isn't my milk supply catching up with this demand? I am committed to BFing but there is only so much my nerves can take. I'm considering supplementing with formula for this part of the evening just to give me a break and restore my sanity because I can't think of anything else which would work. Is there anything I can do to avoid giving formula? I tried expressing in the morning so I had a bottle at night but it takes me over an hour to get an ounce and I really can't face all this cluster feeding AND pumping.

    What am I doing wrong? Will this ever get easier? !
    Any advice would be very welcome...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Cluster feeding - is this normal??

    hi there!

    my lo starts nursing after his bath and sleeps nurses for 1-2 hrs. i just lay on my bed and read or play on my laptop. i noticed ts a little better if i try to stretch out the time from his last feeding...meaning play with him or try to take a long bath, go for a walk, etc.

    no need for formula. i don't pump unless i need to for work, i wouldn't do bottles unless i had to, thats just my preference.

    what kind of pump are you using? double pumps will get you more in a short time. try doing compressions, massage and relaxing, its very important. look at your baby while you pump, it can help.

    if you want to give a bottle you can start pumping every day right after the baby nurses in the am. everyday i nurse, then pump and eat a bowl of oatmeal.

    i used to get so little, not even an oz. i think some of it is getting used to the pump too. i have been doing this routine for a few weeks, i typically get 2 1/2 oz each pump now, which i think is good because i just fed him.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Cluster feeding - is this normal??

    The issue is probably not lack of milk. Check out this link on cluster feeding and fussy evenings: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/fussy-evening.html

    You may need to try things other than the breast to break your LO out of the fussing cycle. I suggest trying the following:
    - Motion. Rock her in a rocker, swing her in a swing, take her for a walk in the stroller, take her for a ride in the car.
    - Closeness. Wear her in a sling.
    - White noise.
    - Bath. Warm water can be very soothing!
    - Trip out of doors. Fresh air can "change the channel" and stop the fussing. Both my girls responded immediately to a trip out of doors. They'd go from horrible screaming and fussing to happily looking around and being sweet.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Re: Cluster feeding - is this normal??

    with mommal.

    forgot to add that if you give a bottle you need to pump during that time. this is just another reason why bottles don't really help, they can be more stressful.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cluster feeding - is this normal??

    Wow, I am so glad to hear that this is normal! I am dealing with my first right now, he is 3 weeks old and I thought all of the same things, that i was doing something wrong, my milk wasnt good enough, he hated me, etc.... I am so glad that this post was written. I now feel better about my situation and will not be supplementing with formula or a bottle like I thought i should.

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