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Cluster feeding etc

(10 Posts)
Annie555 Tue 07-Aug-12 00:00:49

Hi all,

I'm not sure im posting this is the right section but hopefully someone will be able to offer some advice.....

My little girl is 6 weeks old. She is big - weighed 10lb 7oz when born and 12lb 15oz now. I'm b/feeding her and finding it fairly hard going.....she feeds every 2 hours during the day with the feed taking about an hour so there is one hour clear time after she had fed for anything else. She usually falls to sleep and has 45 mins before wanting more food. From around 6 in the evening til 11-12 pm she cluster feeds. This is fairly constant and towards the end she literally takes 2-3 sucks. Without this though she won't settled and I'm a little worried this is turning into habit that I won't be able to easily get her out of!! Night times she is very good and sleeps for 6-7 hours before waking for a feed and sleeping another 1-2.

I just wondered if anyone can help with when the feeding times/frequency may reduce, when cluster feeding may end and whether I should be worried about her developing a habit of feeding/sleeping before she settles that I won't be able to break. I just feel I have very little time to do anything in between feeds and also that little one is missing out because the feed has worn her out and she's too tired to see around her.....

Thanks all. xx

lindsell Tue 07-Aug-12 00:11:32

I'm not an expert but all sounds pretty normal to me, they have a growth spurt around 6wks and it can feel like they're feeding constantly then. My ds2 is 13wks and he still cluster feeds in the evening although he has got quicker and usually only feeds for about 15mins at a time but I don't mind the cluster feeds as like your dd he then sleeps 6-7hours. It's also pretty normal for them to fall asleep after a feed and it's easy to underestimate how much sleep/feeding they actually need. Sounds like she's putting on weight well and as long as she's alert, plenty of wet & dirty nappies etc doesn't sound like there's any cause for concern.

The first 6-8 wks are hard but it does get easier and she will get more efficient at feeding and need to sleep less - ds2 is much more awake now than he was 6wks ago.

As for getting into a habit of feeding to sleep well I fed ds1 in the same way as you describe and he's been great at self settling and goes happily to bed now (and has done since we stopped the bedtime feed at about 18mths) so I'm planning to feed ds2 in the same way even when he wants to suck for comfort rather than food.

Rubirosa Tue 07-Aug-12 00:15:41

When you say feeds take an hour, is that an hour of sustained active feeding/swallowing or is there lots of feeding/dozing. How many breasts does she have per feed?

Kiwiinkits Tue 07-Aug-12 01:55:54

First of all, don't worry that she's not waking up enough to enjoy the World. My DD2 was a very sleepy baby and I worried about the same thing. Little babies need heaps of sleep in order to grow and it's entirely normal that she would want to sleep again after an hour of being awake at that age.

Someone is going to flame me for this, but honestly it's the most valuable advice I got as a new parent. Do you want to return to work within the next few months? Do you want your baby to be able to be fed by someone else (e.g your DH, your mother, a babysitter)? Do you want to stop endless cluster feeding late into the evening by filling your baby up to the brim before bed?

If the answer is yes, then now is a very good time to start thinking about introducing a bottle to your baby. Two reasons for this: 1) Your breastmilk is not as plentiful in the evening because your body is tired and has used up energy doing lots of other things than making milk during the day - hence, hungry baby. 2) Leave it much longer and you'll find that baby rejects a bottle altogether. Then you're stuck being the only person able to feed her. You may as well handcuff yourself to your couch, because you'll not be able to go out in the evenings or do anything much until you wean. Nightmare!

So, have a think about introducing a bottle in the evening: either pumped breastmilk or formula. Get your DH to do the bottle feed (it's nice bonding time). I chose to use formula for the evening bottle feed as it's a lot less faff IMO but you may be prepared to spend time pumping BM. (The best time to pump is in the morning). I've found with both my kids that feeding them one bottle in the evening before bed is a GODSEND. It zonks them off to sleep. Then, all I have to do is one 10.30pm dreamfeed and they're asleep till morning.

Good luck,

Kiwiinkits Tue 07-Aug-12 02:01:31

Also, look, if your baby is a really hungry baby then you have done a WONDERFUL job breastfeeding her till 6 weeks. Good for you!

In terms of advice about feeding to sleep, I think it can be a problem further down the line if your baby associates bfing and sleep. Why not introduce a new order of events. ie, make a rule to always feed immediately after baby wakes up. Then have some play time (45mins probably at 6 weeks), then wrap up for bed. If you always follow this order, then a better bedtime routine can establish itself. It's known as E.A.S.Y : Eat, Activity, Sleep, time for You.

ZuleikaD Tue 07-Aug-12 09:39:29

Feeding to sleep isn't a problem at all. Later on (maybe 6 months or so) you start putting them down dozy rather than asleep and go from there.

I've found that the EASY routine isn't ideal because babies who go to sleep hungry often catnap rather than sleep properly - they wake up earlier than they would otherwise because they're hungry.

Cluster feeding is perfectly normal in the evenings at this stage and your baby will be fine - it's not a habit (babies at this age can't form habits) and you'll probably find that it's dropped by 12 weeks. The aim of it is to top up for the night, and it's clearly working for you as she's sleeping through - so well done you!

Babies of this age are sleeping a lot - she's not missing out - it takes very little to stimulate a tiny baby and when she's ready to engage more with the world she will.

The only thing that I would be concerned about is that feeds during the day are taking an hour! Have you had anyone check your latch? It sounds as though she's not feeding very efficiently/effectively - I would have expected more like 10-15 minutes by now. How is your let-down? Does she have both sides or do you alternate? Are you getting enough rest (particularly in the afternoon)?

TorchlightMcKenzie Tue 07-Aug-12 19:29:30

Annie, my 7 week old is the same. Spot on, except with slightly less hours at night. He tends to go from 11-3:30 and then 5:30 and then 7:30am and then off we go again for a day of running to the loo in between feeds.

He's my 3rd though and have learned that the easiest way by FAR is to just go with it and not fight your teeny newborn because ultimately you'll get out of sync, get confused about needs and absolutely NOT WIN!

I also know that it will be over in no time at all!

TorchlightMcKenzie Tue 07-Aug-12 19:33:15

But I agree about the hour long feeds!. Is it an hour of constant sucking, or an hour of on-off-on-off-on-off etc.

If the first then you need to get the latch checked and tongue tie looked for.

Hungry babies are a blessing. Hardwork at first but robust, do wonders for your milk supply and absolutely thrive.

louloutheshamed Tue 07-Aug-12 19:35:19

Not read all of thread but had to add my experience of feeding to sleep. I fed my ds to sleep until he was 18mo. I loved it, but worried all that time that I was teaching bad habits by not letting him self settle blah blah blah. I stopped feeding a few weeks ago when I went away for the weekend and he settled for my husband no probs. he now settles perfectly with a song and cuddle. So all that worry was in vain! I really think he was just ready to fall asleep on his own. I know the cluster feeding is hard but it won't be
Forever and if you can keep going it you will be glad you did- you might find it is about to get Sooo much easier! You are
Doing great, Bf my ds was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Lots of great advice on here.too.
On here.

Marasmum Sat 22-Mar-14 04:05:04

Hi everyone

I've got a similar problem and any advice would be greatly appreciated wink
My wee one is 4 days old and will b/f about every 2-3hrs throughout the day and in between feeds will happily sleep in her Moses basket/interact with me and hubby, family etc.
During the night however she wants to be on the breast almost constantly, feeding for a spell then falling asleep still latched on. I then move her into her basket but within 5 minutes she's awake and crying, sucking her fingers and indicating she's hungry again. This goes on all night from about 11-12pm till 7-8am.
Have considered adding a bottle feed alongside b/f but I'm worried this might complicate matters.
She's got plenty of wet and dirty nappies and is otherwise very content but I just worry that I'm doing something wrong or missing something.
Our MW suggested towels placed in an oval shape under her mattress cover to give the feel of the 'womb' which we've tried and we've also played about with night lights and even soft music
Help!! I just want her to be able to sleep for even an hour overnight without having to be in bed with me...I'm frightened about co-sleeping incase I harm her in any way. confused

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