Kate Tuttle, BS, IBCLC 

Cluster feeding is a term used to describe short and frequent feeds by your baby in a short period of time. A lot of moms describe this as feeling like the only thing they are doing is feeding the baby. Cluster feeds are usually associated with growth spurts in babies, but not always correlated. 

Why is my baby cluster feeding?

As mentioned above, most cluster feeding patterns align with baby’s growth spurts. Babies’ bodies go through developmental and physical changes during this time so they need the extra calories they are consuming. Babies may also be cluster feeding for comfort or to be making up for any time spent away from mom during the day. 

When can I expect this behavior?

The most common growth spurts/times of cluster feeding is immediately following birth, at two weeks of age and again at one month. There are other times babies may be experiencing a growth spurt, but these are likely the first experiences you will have. The first few days after birth may feel like your baby is not nursing in the hospital very often but then nursing very frequently once you are home. Most professionals refer to this as Second Night Syndrome. This is usually about the time a baby has had time to figure out they are not safe in their mother’s womb anymore and start to process the sensory overload that comes with being earth side. You may feel like your baby is eating every 20-30 minutes without much break in between. To learn more about Second Night Syndrome, check out this article from Jan Barger shared with Kellymom.com.

How will I know my baby is getting enough milk? 

There is a general rule that a baby’s diaper output will reflect their age. For example, in the first 24 hours, you can expect one void (pee) and one stool (poop). The same is true for day 2; 2 voids and 2 stools. This is the pattern until about day 4 when mom’s milk transitions from the colostrum stage to transitional milk. After that change, babies will usually produce 6-8 wet diapers and 3-4 stools in a 24 hour period. This is the easiest way to measure a baby’s intake. If they are putting diapers out, they are taking in milk. 

You can also do weighted feeds with your local WIC clinic or Pediatrician. This method consists of weighing the baby before eating and then again after. Your Pediatrician will also be plotting your baby on a growth curve. To learn more about weight gain and helpful weight loss information, click here.

Know when to consult your Pediatrician 

Frequent feeds and/or fussing is common in the first month. If this episode lasts more than one day and for more than a few hours, please seek a consultation with your Pediatrician to rule out any other health issues.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}