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Cluster feeding is driving me nuts!!

(37 Posts)
pommesdeterreetfromageblanc Tue 30-Oct-12 21:59:37

My baby is one week old and I have struggled a bit with bf (pain pain pain and more pain) but with the mw plus a consultant's help we are getting there.

Tonight, she has been on and off the boob for HOURS... just having a few sucks, then falling off..., pretending to go to sleep for 5 min, then more boobs and so on and so forth.

I am going out of my mind and dreading the night.

lurcherlover Tue 30-Oct-12 22:03:51

It's completely normal. It gets better, but for now you can only ride it out. I had this with ds - he would cluster-feed non-stop from 8pm-midnight (although he did then usually fall asleep for a few hours). Get some good DVD box sets, and load up a side table with chocolate healthy snacks and drinks. Put your feet up and just let her go for it. Tell yourself that this too shall pass. Then get all the sleep you can whenever she does - I know everyone tells you this, but you have to do it - my Mum was actually cross with me when she came round one afternoon when ds was tiny and he was asleep and I was watching tv - she sent me to bed! But looking back she was right. Prioritise sleep over everything else - sod the housework. Honestly, it passes - and there will be a time when you have a huge toddler storming round the place and look back on those early cluster-feeding days with nostalgia, really and truly there will!

mawbroon Tue 30-Oct-12 22:27:18

Has she been checked by somebody knowledgeable for tongue tie?

list of symptoms here

pommesdeterreetfromageblanc Tue 30-Oct-12 22:30:35

yep, no tongue tie... thank god!

Raspberrysorbet Tue 30-Oct-12 22:32:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 30-Oct-12 22:37:31

It is hard work, extremely hard work.

But it sets you both up well for the future.

Get comfy, have someone at hand to fetch and carry whatever you want need and go with it.

It will feel like it's going on forever, but in the grand scheme of things it's just a blink in time.

mawbroon Tue 30-Oct-12 22:39:24

we were all told no tongue tie too

Perhaps worth getting a second opinion from Milk Matters who I linked to.

GEM33 Tue 30-Oct-12 22:40:18

have you tried lying down to feed her? as everyone has said its just your babys way of getting your milk supply up.
keep going, it can be draining if you mentally rebel against it if you know what i mean, if you just take it for granted each night, right baby is going to feed on and off for hours its easier to deal with. just go with the flow!
can you put her in a sling and feed her that way then at least you could have free hands. the babasling is quite good for that. x

LucyBorgia Tue 30-Oct-12 22:41:52

Second everything lurcher says. It's a tough road, few people prepare you. It gets easier but not for a while yet. Grit your teeth it will be worth it.....soon. In the meantime get as comfy as possible and take complete ownership of the remote control.

AThingInYourLife Tue 30-Oct-12 22:47:29

I always tried (and succeeded) in getting my babies to sleep in the evening rather than suffer endless "cluster feeding".

IME newborns tend to get super tired and crazy in the evening. I would give mine some naked time, then a bath, then a really big feed and they would sleep until maybe 10ish and then have another big feed.

The bath seems to make them both hungry and sleepy, which is a winner.

I don't think cluster feeding is the inevitability it is made out to be on here.

I have never had a problem with supply.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 30-Oct-12 22:49:21

Lucky you Thing !

Our evening routine's sound the same, yet both of our ds's cluster fed!

AThingInYourLife Tue 30-Oct-12 22:52:44

It's not luck! A lot of skill went into choosing a husband with good sleeping genes wink

But sure, the bath thing might not work. But it can't hurt. smile

GEM33 Tue 30-Oct-12 23:06:56

athinginyourlife, i think you have been relatively lucky in that respect as cluster feeding is a totally normal thing for a baby of the ops age to do. I think it would be wrong to lead her to believe she should and could try to stop her baby from cluster feeding in the evenings. Babies especially this young, need breast on demand for their growth, comfort and mothers supply to get established.
I wouldn't see cluster feeding as something to suffer but more chance to give love, nutrition and comfort to a tiny vulnerable baby who has only been born into the big wide world 7 days ago.

AThingInYourLife Tue 30-Oct-12 23:16:38

I have been lucky, certainly.

But I don't really see how it can be wrong to encourage a tired baby to sleep.

If they're really so hungry that they need to feed for 4 solid hours, they won't sleep.

I think sometimes cluster feeding is just babies who are over stimulated and exhausted looking for comfort.

There's not one right way to do this. Babies are different. It's worth trying different stuff.

"I wouldn't see cluster feeding as something to suffer but more chance to give love, nutrition and comfort to a tiny vulnerable baby who has only been born into the big wide world 7 days ago."

grin sanctimony overload

Raspberrysorbet Wed 31-Oct-12 12:23:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AThingInYourLife Wed 31-Oct-12 13:05:11

Small and often is great, but hours and hours of frantic, unhappy sucking by an overtired newborn is no fun for anyone.

I don't believe that evening cluster feeding is a necessary and normal part if early breastfeeding for every baby.

I think sometimes newborn babies are overstimulated by evening time and what can look like a desire for constant feeding is actually an attempt to get to sleep.

My suggestion of giving a bath to relax and then a long feed to sleep, ideally somewhere quiet (in my case my bed), won't hurt a baby that's hungry, but it might help a baby that is tired get to sleep.

It's just a suggestion of something that has worked for me with 3 newborns, who were admittedly all my babies, so likely to be similar in terms of their needs.

Having my evenings free to eat and chill out has been great when I have a baby, so I'm very glad not to have needlessly suffered through hours of pointless feeding.

Some babies might need that. Not all babies do. Some (like mine) do very well with two long feeds with a break in the middle to sleep.

Raspberrysorbet Wed 31-Oct-12 14:41:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lurcherlover Wed 31-Oct-12 21:33:24

My baby's cluster feeding wasn't "frantic unhappy sucking". He was very content and obviously enjoying his source of comfort - and ultimately what's wrong with that? In the grand scheme of things, it's such a short period of time.

AThingInYourLife Wed 31-Oct-12 22:08:53

Well when my babies were awake in the evening and feeding it was frantic and unhappy, which made it stressful for me too.

I saw my niece doing the same thing, but my sister soldiered on (but gave up breastfeeding long before I did).

An unsettled, unhappy baby feeding for comfort but getting no comfort because they are tired is pointless if you can easily get them off to sleep and feed them later when they are happier.

Not all babies are the same. A settled baby popping on and off the breast all evening while you watch TV is not much of a bother.

A baby that screams every time she comes off the breast and can't be comforted suggests (to me at least) that it's worth trying to do things differently.

Soldiering on when you are miserable isn't always the only option when you are breastfeeding. There are lots of variables.

GEM33 Thu 01-Nov-12 14:05:24

Dont get me wrong athing, i agree with what you are saying in part, that often babies can get overtired in the evening and like you say a nice bath and massage and eased into a nice sleep is ideal. Its worked for you and your babies.

As you say yourself, every baby is different, every mother is different.
I was merely responding to the OP and offering support to her. POMMES is obviously a mother whose baby is a cluster feeder (very normal and natural), it is a very young baby and in nutritional and milk supply terms, her baby needs to feed little and often to get the milk supply established and to keep filling its tiny tummy. breast milk can be digested in 20 minutes so it seems fair that they need topping up regularly.

As raspberry said, she could try giving her baby a relaxing bath but my guess is it will still feed all night anyway (like mine and many others did). Therefore, she needs to focus on the positive and the good that she is doing for her baby.

pommesdeterreetfromageblanc Thu 01-Nov-12 14:51:12

Thanks for that. I seem to have gone back two days in term of BF and my boobs are hurting again, so cluster feeding is rather unpleasant for me. I want what is best for my baby but having a miserable mummy is not good and I dread the next feed and I don't enjoy the time in between too much because of it.

I am trying to get it sorted and I am going to see the BF MW tomorrow and she will check the TT. Someone yesterday said that she may be a little TT after all which would explain why she does not latch on for long and feed for 40 min on each boob. Fingers crossed someone will help me sort out the BF as I am super tempted to give her the bottle. I have started expressing and giving it to her to give my boobs a rest, it was heart ranching, but thankfully so far she seems happy with boobs and bottle!

sarflondongal99 Thu 01-Nov-12 17:06:11

Mum of th year award to Athing!

Cluster feeding may not be inevitable, but the OPs baby is cluster feeding so the implicating that it's something she's indulging, like if she just tries more she can train the baby out of it with a bath is just incorrect advice.

AThingInYourLife Thu 01-Nov-12 17:34:12

Um, the point is that my babies would feed on and off for hours in the evening, falling off the nipple etc.

Then I started giving them a bath at around the time that started, then instead if fitful feeding they would have a long sleepy feed and then they would sleep in the evening.

It's not "incorrect advice" it's a completely harmless suggestion to give a baby a bath based on my experience if breastfeeding 3 newborns.

Some people are way too invested in the martyrdom of the "right" breastfeeding regime.

sarflondongal99 Thu 01-Nov-12 17:52:41

I have also breastfed 3 newborns, not that it matters.

The point is, your post points to indulging cluster feeding being akin to martyrdom. It's common, each of mine did it. For hours.

You refer above to needlessly suffering and pointless feeding. It's not pointless. Baby is trying to increase your milk supply. Your tone suggests its something the OP could correct rather than a completely natural - and extremely common - thing for babies to do.

sarflondongal99 Thu 01-Nov-12 17:54:15

It may be you didn't mean to sound so rude - maybe its just the tone came across as such - computers and all!

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