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Thread: Cluster Feeding or Low Milk Supply?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Cluster Feeding or Low Milk Supply?

    My baby is almost 2 months old and seems to need constant feedings for several hours for the past 2 weeks. Every time he finishes nursing, he doesn't seemed satisfied and cries. I give him both breasts and he is at it for over 10 minutes each. My husband thinks I have low milk supply and that we should supplement with formula. My baby is gaining adequate weight. He was 5lbs 4oz at birth and is now 9lbs 12 oz. I went to a breastfeeding support group and the lactation consultant said women sized A/B need to feed more often, but this just seems never ending. I am at my wits end and on top of everything I have clogged ducts that seem to occur every week on the same breast and blebs on both nipples. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Cluster Feeding or Low Milk Supply?

    Hi welcome to the forum mama.

    Sounds like cluster feeding to me, you will see cluster feeding during a growth spurt. A growth spurt happens close to these ages 3 weeks 6 weeks 9 weeks, 12 weeks 16 weeks and so on. If you have a baby that is gaining weight regularly, and has adequate wet diapers (5-6 wet disposables 2-3 poops per day) you are most likely not having a supply problem. Cluster feeding is exhausting, but it really is just a sign that everything is progressing normally. During periods of rapid growing a baby needs more calories, and they are driven to nurse more frequently. By feeding on demand like you are doing you are doing the right thing! A growth spurt lasts a week or so, it varies from baby to baby.
    Can you tell us more about your blocked ducts, where they are on the breast, and what you are doing for them? Where are the blebs, how many on a nipple? Any pain during latch or nursing?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Re: Cluster Feeding or Low Milk Supply?

    Thanks for your response carpentergirl. I just feel as though I have a low supply since my baby has been fussy and crying after feedings for the past 2 weeks. It doesn't help that my parents and husband say that I have low supply. The lactation consultant told me that my breasts have low capacity because of the size. I guess my family has translated that to mean low supply.

    My clogged ducts are on the outter side and upper part of my left breast. I have been putting a sock filled with rice (I heat it for a minute before putting it on my breast) and massaging the area after applying the heat. I have also been nursing frequently on the side with the clogged duct since the baby has been cluster feeding. I have 2 blebs on each nipple. I am told they are pressue cyst from a poor latch. I have pain during latching from sore nipples. I have tried to correct the latch and the lactation consultant showed me how, but it still hurts. She told me to use a nipple shield. I tried it, but I don't like it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Cluster Feeding or Low Milk Supply?

    it sounds like your going though a rough patch! I can be really hard when family doubts are abilities, they mean well but often suggestions (like supplementing with formula) can often just make things worse.

    It might be helpful to remind or explain that the breast is more than just food for a baby, it's a comforting place. There's a great quote by Dr. Grantly Dick-Read "The newborn baby has three basic needs, they are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three."

    Making sure the latch is working for you guys is really important, it will probably help clear up your ducts and make sure he's draining the breast.
    Have you tried other nursing positions? It sometimes helps with latch, some positions like the football hold are easier to see how baby is latching.
    This is a link to some video's that show latch, it might be helpful to see how a latch that is hurting can be corrected.

    Is there a LLL group meeting near you? http://www.llli.org/WebUS.html This is the link to find a group if your not sure. The support of a group is really an awesome thing, and a Leader may be able to look at your latch and make suggestions to help you guys out.

    If his diaper output is good, he's gaining weight, and other wise a happy baby it's probably not a supply problem. You really are doing a great job mama! I know it probably doesn't feel like it, but you are doing your best to give your little one the best possible start in life.
    LLL Leader

    Breastfeeding is an instinctual and natural act, but it is also an art that is learned day by day.

    Visit LLL of Ashburn PM's Blog!

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