Early Breastfeeding Obstacles Part 6 – Cluster Feeding and Growth Spurts

The Good Letdown shares part six in their series on over coming early breastfeeding obstacles.  Be sure to check back next week for part seven.

It’s late in the evening. You breastfeed your baby and put her down. 30 minutes later, she’s screaming again. You check her diaper. Dry. You rock her. No such luck. She is rooting around and sucking on her fists. She’s hungry? How could she be hungry? You JUST fed her. So you bring her to breast again. Half hour later, she’s hungry again. In an effort to support you, a well meaning friend/spouse/pediatrician nurse line suggests giving baby a bottle of formula because baby is obviously not getting enough.

Try again. What baby is doing is cluster feeding. What your baby’s doing is increasing your supply by creating a higher demand because they are going to need more food. If you introduce formula, or even a bottle of pumped breastmilk, you are interrupting that natural rhythm and not increasing your supply as baby is telling your body to do. As we’ve said before, babies go through several growth spurts especially in the first three months. Kelly Mom says, “Common times for growth spurts are during the first few days at home and around 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months (more or less).” That’s FIVE growth spurts in just the first three months alone. It’s important that you nurse as often as baby demands during these times. Yes, during these times, it’s exhausting. I personally went through a growth spurt where my baby was nursing every 15-20 minutes for about 4 hours every evening for almost a week.

SOLUTION: KNOW about growth spurts and don’t forget! Make those around you aware of cluster feeding and tell them NOT to suggest formula. Get a huge glass of water, a few snacks (because you WILL feel like that baby is sucking the food you ate that day right out of your boob) and turn on instant queue on netflix. Use this as an opportunity to catch up on your favorite TV show and enjoy this special bonding with your beautiful baby.

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