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Thread: How do you keep your supply up to handle cluster feedings?

  1. #1
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    Default How do you keep your supply up to handle cluster feedings?

    My son is 3 weeks old and cluster feeds almost every evening. I know this is normal, but I don't feel that my milk supply is keeping up with his demand. I feel like I am drained (my supply) and he is fussy after eating. I feel that he still seems hungry right after eating. He only does this during the evening hours and I get so tempted to give him a bottle. Any ideas on how to increase my supply in the evening?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How do you keep your supply up to handle cluster feedings?

    You might find this page of information encouraging ...

    Cluster Feeding and Fussy Evenings
    ... My baby nurses and fusses all evening! What's wrong?


    A little excerpt from this source states:

    "Cluster feeding often coincides with your baby's fussy time. Baby will nurse a few minutes, pull off, fuss/cry, nurse a few minutes, pull off, fuss/cry... on and on... for hours. This can be VERY frustrating, and mom starts wondering if baby is getting enough milk, if something she is eating is bothering baby, if EVERYTHING she is doing is bothering baby... It can really ruin your confidence, particularly if there is someone else around asking the same questions (your mother, your husband, your mother-in-law).

    This behavior is NORMAL! It has nothing to do with your breastmilk or your mothering. If baby is happy the rest of the day, and baby doesn't seem to be in pain (as with colic) during the fussy time - just keep trying to soothe your baby and don't beat yourself up about the cause. Let baby nurse as long and as often as he will. Recruit dad (or another helper) to bring you food/drink and fetch things (book/remote/phone/etc.) while you are nursing and holding baby.

    Does this mean that baby needs more milk than I can provide?

    No. Don't give baby a bottle -- supplementation will only tell your body that you need LESS milk at this time, and that will not help matters. Also, keep in mind that formula fed babies experience fussy periods in the evening, too -- fussy evenings are common for all young babies, no matter how they are fed. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine spells this out in their supplementary feeding guidelines:

    There are common clinical situations where evaluation and breastfeeding management may be necessary, but supplementation is NOT INDICATED including... The infant who is fussy at night or constantly feeding for several hours."
    You are doing the best thing for your little one by nursing on demand. This will keep your supply up where it needs to be to meet your baby's needs. It's all supply and demand and our bodies do an amazing job of figuring out exactly what our babes need.
    Last edited by @llli*paint.the.moon; August 6th, 2006 at 11:48 AM.

    Mama to Adeline Brett, breastfed for 4.5 years (12/14/05) and little Eliza June, new tiny sprite in my arms and still learning the ropes (7/18/10)

    Family Blog • If I'm here I'm nursing and typing one handed ... forgive the typos!
    And I'm not a newbie at all ... I'm trying to get my old user ID working from back in the day ... paint-the-moon

  3. #3
    elliesmom's Avatar
    elliesmom is offline Shares Widely And Frequently
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    Default Re: How do you keep your supply up to handle cluster feedings?

    I felt the same way when Ellie was a newborn, like my supply wasn't enough for her, especially in the evenings. Just nurse, nurse, nurse when they're hungry and your supply should be fine .

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How do you keep your supply up to handle cluster feedings?

    I'm with the pp. My dd did the same thing when she was a newborn and still goes through a cluster feeding/fussy time right at 8pm EVERY night. But other wise she's a healty 5 mo. old. Sometimes I think a little fussing is just the babies way of winding down and getting ready to sleep for the night.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How do you keep your supply up to handle cluster feedings?

    Oh, I remember those days! Totally normal, but be sure to keep bfeeding. It is baby's way of helping you get your supply up. You will soon have plenty in the evening and she won't feed quite as often. DD is 3 months and went from 5 times feeding b/t 5 and 9p to 3 feedings.

    We gave baby a bottle in the early days only b/c I was in so much pain from vasospasms. But, if you aren't in any pain, just keep offering the breast. Just my two cents.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do you keep your supply up to handle cluster feedings?

    take care of yourself, eat an extra good for you snack and have a nice big glass of ice water. I found if I ate a snack after supper I didn't feal so drained. And I had more energy for the night feeds.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How do you keep your supply up to handle cluster feedings?

    I agree with what LaurasMom mentioned about fussing being a way to wind down at night. My almost 7 week old DD is fussy every evening (we seem to be in the peak fussiness period). I've tried nursing her whenever she's fussy but often she is fussy right after or during the feeding as if nursing wasn't really what she wanted.

    I've also tried letting her suck on my finger if she becomes fussy soon after a feeding and that seems to work much better. That combined with movement (walking around, rocking her, etc.) seems to help her fall asleep. She usually only sleeps about 30 -45 minutes and then is ready to nurse again, but at least it keeps the feedings to 1 and a half to two hours apart which also helps my sanity in the evening. She's starting to find her thumb so I'm hoping that once she's able to keep it in her mouth she won't need my finger anymore.

    Maybe finger sucking and movement would work with your bb (and it doesn't have to be your finger, my DD will also take her Daddy's finger or anyone that's offering.)

    As for keeping up a supply, I don't think you need to worry. I think your body will produce as much as the lo needs. There have been times that I would swear my breasts are empty and she still is able to get a full feeding from just one of them. Good luck!

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