Cluster Feeding:  Understanding the Habit

Congratulations new mum! Whether you’re a first time or experienced mum, feeding your newborn is an amazing feeling that no one should take away from you. When you’re still in postpartum mode, your baby wants to feed more frequently or for a long time.  This habit is known as cluster feeding. You don’t need to worry, as it is quite normal. Usually, babies tend to feed more in order to meet their nutritional needs.

Though most mums embrace nursing their baby, cluster feeding may make them worried. It’s normal to experience irregular feeding and sleeping routines.  When your baby wants to feed every thirty minutes, it may become overwhelming and you may need help. Let’s look at some crucial tips on cluster feeding.

When Does It Happen?

 Mums mostly experience this habit during the night or when the baby is sleepy.   During the period between 6-9pm, your baby may tend to feed on and off for a long time. Expect your baby to need more nursing sessions when he experiences a growth spurt. This is a time when both his body and mental skills are developing.

 When Do Growth Spurts Come About?

Significant growth spurts occur during these periods:

  • Second day after birth
  • Between week 2-3
  • Between week 4-6
  • At 3 months

Passing through these stages can be tedious especially if you don’t understand them.  It may help to remember that they are short-lived and crucial for your baby’s development.

What Are the Signs of Cluster Feeding?

When your baby develops restless and fussy behaviors for a few hours, it can be a sign of cluster feeding. Sometimes, your baby may cry right after breastfeeding and looks for another feed after a short time.

 How it makes you feel

Cluster feeding makes your body to work overtime.  As a result, you may feel tired and bored, and sometimes agitated, especially when it doesn’t end soon.

  You can cope up with the situation by following the following tips:

  • Drink water and other fluids several times in a day and eat small nutritious meals short periods
  • Prioritize sleep when your baby dozes off 
  • Provide a calm atmosphere during feeding
  • Feed your baby in different positions
  • Share your feelings with other moms
  • Embrace the feeding
  • Seek advice from your pediatrician

When to Be Worried

  • When your baby turns 3 or 4 months and doesn’t reduce this habit
  •  If your breastfeeding session lasts more than an hour, it may reveal that you have a low milk supply.  
  • If your baby’s cluster feeding combines with reflux symptoms such as wheezing, large vomits, and choking. 
  • Note that if your baby is either very sleepy or awake all the time, there may be a problem. 

When you experience this, it’s good to consult your medical practitioner.


#Please note that development differs from one child to another

# Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Last reviewed January 2019

Sources: breastfeeding, mamanatural, momstatic

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