Everything You Need To Know To Survive Cluster Feeding & Fussy Evenings

Once in a Boob Moon - Titty City Design - Breastfeeding Everything You Need To Know To Survive Cluster Feeding & Fussy Evenings

You know how it is mama.

You’ve just finished a mammoth nursing session with your newborn babe. You burp them and snuggle them, before placing them back in their cozy crib.

But then as soon as their head hits the mattress, the fussing starts. And it doesn’t let up!

Even though you’ve just fed them, even though their diaper is clean, even though they're warm enough. You think “What?!  Do they need feeding AGAIN?!”

Welcome to cluster feeding!

Newborns cluster feeding is a totally normal and necessary thing. And even though it might seem neverending and you’re constantly asking yourself “how long does cluster feeding last?” and Googling “when do babies stop feeding at night.” We’re here to tell you not to worry. 

Yes. Your newborn cluster feeding all night can seem like the hardest challenge of mama-hood so far. But you can do it Breastie. You’re a milk goddess! Our guide will tell you everything you need to know so you can handle those tiresome cluster feeds and fussy evenings

Just what is cluster feeding anyway?

If your baby seems to get ravenous in the evening, and it lasts all the way into the night, then you have entered the exhausting (but totally normal) world of cluster feeding.

When you have a newborn on your hands, they can feed anywhere from 8 - 12 times a day. But if you’ve noticed your little nursling wanting your Boobies several times in a short period of time, then they’re most likely cluster feeding. 

Cluster feeding is also known as bunch feeding, and during this time your milky bundle might be hungrier and fussier than usual. And it can go on for hours at a time. You’ll know your baby is cluster feeding because she’ll start giving off hunger cues pretty much AS SOON as she’s finished nursing.

Not only that, but she might also fuss at the breast, only feed for a couple of minutes on each breast at a time, and be super cranky.

Fun!

But before you throw your hands up in despair and start thinking about stopping breastfeeding (unless it’s something YOU want to do), just remember that this is a phase that will pass. It’s an emotionally, mentally, and physically draining time for you. But it’s a time of massive growth and development for your baby.

Why do newborns cluster feed — especially at night

Now you know what cluster feeding is, you might be wondering exactly WHY your sweet little bundle is turning into a Boobie monster — especially at night time when all you want to do is order takeout and crash out in front of Netflix.

Here are some of the main reasons your newborn’s cluster feeding all night long. 

#1 Your baby is going through a growth spurt

Your milk works on a supply and demand basis. If your baby wants more milk, your body supplies it. When your baby cluster feeds it’s telling your magical Boobies to make more milk to keep up with their growth and development. 

The newborn stage is all about growing and developing outside the womb, so cluster feeding is a way to help with this super important phase. 

#2 Milk flow is slower at night

Yep, by the end of the day, your magical milk makers get a little tired and your milk production tends to slow down. 

Because of this, your babe needs to feed more frequently (and for longer) to fill up their adorable teeny bellies. Great for them. Pretty exhausting for you mama!

#3 Your baby needs soothing

Nursing is a form of soothing for your baby. Your amazing milk contains a bunch of hormones that help develop your baby’s circadian rhythm (the natural wake/sleep cycle) so it’s basically helping to develop their lifelong sleep pattern. Cluster feeding also goes hand in hand with fussiness, and this always seems to occur in the evening. That could be because your baby is overtired and overstimulated, so nursing helps relax and calm them. 

Cluster feeding helps this process and gives your baby the comfort to fall asleep. 

How to handle the newborn cluster feeding phase

If you’re wondering when do babies stop feeding at night, the answer isn’t the same for everyone. Some babies want to nurse during the night well into their first or second year (or beyond). But the cluster feeding stage doesn’t last nearly as long.

Just remember. Everything is a phase! And this phase is completely normal and occurs during the initial days and months of breastfeeding. Cluster feeding ages vary for each baby. It usually happens around 3 weeks and 6 weeks - when they have big growth spurts. And it could last for a few days or weeks at a time. 

The good news is, most little ones grow out of cluster feeding by about 4 months, although they can go on for longer, especially if they need extra comfort. If you’re ever worried, make sure you speak to your doctor or breastfeeding consultant, as sometimes fussiness with cluster feeding can look similar to colic.

In the meantime, here are some tips to get you through it.

    #1 Get a cluster feeding buddy

    Whether you live with a spouse, partner, friend, or family, you need someone with you to help through the long cluster feeding evenings. Your partner needs to help by bringing you snacks, water, hot drinks, the remote, and take care of anything else that you might normally do. But you can’t. Because you have a Boobie monster permanently attached to your Titties!

    #2 Drink, drink, drink

    You need to stay hydrated mama! 

    Breastfeeding is thirsty work. And cluster feeding makes you even thirstier. It’s super important to keep your fluid intake up. Make sure you always have a big glass or bottle of water to hand and top up your thirst levels by enjoying broths, tea, and juice.

    #3 Eat up, buttercup

    Thought you were hungry when you were pregnant? You’ve never known hunger like a cluster feeding mama! Nursing burns a LOT of calories, and you need to make sure you’ve got enough fuel to keep up your energy levels. Opt for as many nutritional and healthy snacks as possible, and try to avoid the junk (but we’re pretty sure that doesn’t include chocolate!)

    Think of yummy goodness like crackers and cheese, fruit, peanut butter on wholewheat toast, soup, nuts and pretzels, trail mix, etc. 

    #4 Get comfy

    When your babe is cluster feeding, you need to hunker down and get comfy for the long haul. You might be stuck with your baby on your Titties for hours at a time during a cluster feed, so it’s important to be as comfy as possible.

    Throw on your sweats, put your feet up, keep the remote in your free hand, and have everything that you might need within easy reach. Then sit back and enjoy this cozy time.

    #5 Stay connected with older siblings

    If you have older children, then the last thing you’ll want to do is make them feel like you can’t spend time with them. Explain that the baby needs a lot of milk for a little while, and although you might not be able to do lots with them while she’s feeding, you can still be there with them.

    Enjoy storytime on the couch together and get some bedtime cuddles in. You can watch a movie together while you’re nursing or just have a hug and a chat. 

    #6 Wear a baby carrier

    If your baby only wants to be held during this fussy period, then slip on a baby carrier and practice babywearing. This way your hands will be free to get on with stuff, and your baby will still get the comfort of being close to you. With a little practice, you can even nurse while babywearing! 

    #7 Look after your nipples

    Your nipples can very quickly become sore and cracked with the amount of action they’re getting! Invest in a high-quality nipple balm and make sure your baby is latching properly to avoid any damage to your nipples.

    #8 Accept it

    Accept that your baby is going to be nursing. A lot. But that this phase doesn’t last long. Try to take advantage of this magical downtime. Yes. It is exhausting, and it seems like it’ll never end. But, it will. 

    Even the calmest babies go through witching hour moments. And before you know it, your newborn baby will be a toddler, then a preschooler, then a little kid! And you’ll yearn for those sleepy, cozy days where the two of you nestled together for hours on the couch. 

    But if you ever need professional advice, help, or guidance, reach out to a lactation consultant

    We're here for you mama!

    We know how tiring and unsettling cluster feeding can be mama. And we’re so proud of you for doing such an amazing job.

    Remember that this phase won’t last long... even though it might seem like it’s never-ending! It’s just one of those breastfeeding struggles that you’ll overcome and kick ass at. Breastfeeding isn’t just about nutrition - although that is extremely important. It’s about forming a bond, providing comfort and reassurance, and being close to your baby. You’ll get through this. 

    And we’re here for you every step of the way! 

     

     

    At Titty City Design, we believe that every boobie is beautiful, and that should be celebrated. We are a female owned and operated, small business here to spread self love and body positivity with our line of products for the home. A portion of our proceeds go to help support postpartum women and breast cancer patients.

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