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Evening cluster feeds - aaaarrrgghhh!

(7 Posts)
mags98 Tue 23-Jun-09 20:46:09

DS is almost 7 weeks old.

He is breastfed apart from one bottle of formula at night, he has had a pretty difficult time getting the hang of it, but it is slowly getting better during the day.

He can be quite clingy in the day, but generally goes 2 hours or more between feeds. At night he has his bottle about 11.30-12, then wakes at about 4-5, then 6 or 7. He used to take an hour or more to feed, this is now about 20 mins or so.

The evenings are terrible though, from about 6 pm he seems to want to feed pretty much continuously until he has his bottle. It is driving me crazy, I can't do anything! He will doze in my arms but won't go to sleep, he wakes and cries when he is put down. I wondered if some of it was me misreading hunger, but I think he really is constantly hungry at this time.

I know evening cluster feeding is very common - does this sound like that? How long does it go on for? Please say not much longer! What can I do to help it, if anything?

Why does this cluster feeding happen anyway?

pulapula Tue 23-Jun-09 21:06:13

It could well be cluster-feeding.

My LO is 6 weeks old today, and sometimes cluster-feeds, but I've recently started a routine involving a bath and generally i can get him to sleep around 8, and then he will wake again around 11 for another feed.

I like to have my evenings to myself/DH but maybe as a result, he feeds every 2 or 3 hours (sometimes every hour!) in the night, so at least with the cluster feeding you do have a nice long period of sleep afterwards.

I know in the baby whisperer book it recommends stopping cluster feeding around 8 weeks old- not sure if the baby will stop this themselves- I think my last LO did (he just started sleeping longer) but if yours doesn't and you want to stop, then maybe try a bedtime routine?

I've heard they cluster feed to stimulate milk production so its very common. Also, if this is a recent change, it could be a growth spurt?

mrsjuan Tue 23-Jun-09 21:13:40

My daughter is nearly 6 weeks old aand has cluster fed virtually every evening since birth. Don't think there is much you can do to stop it although we have given her a dummy a few times when I've been on the edge of a breakdown so that I could get 20 mins to have a bath etc! Occasionally after a big binge she's slept for 5 hours straight over night so there is some payoff!

From what I've read most stop cluster feeding by 3 months so guess we just have to hang on in there for a few more weeks.

I'm just grateful she's not doing it from 12 til 4am like she did for the first 4 nights!

aquavit Wed 24-Jun-09 11:29:27

My 7 week old daughter cluster feeds in the evening and has done for most of her (short!) life. It makes me v tired but the plus side is that she sleeps really well overnight - usually for five hours followed by another three after a feed around dawn. I've found that giving her a bottle of ebm in the middle of the cluster feeding really helps me feel less knackered (and husband likes to do it, plus then I get to eat my dinner!). Not sure this is something that experts would like but it makes things much nicer for us - still hopeful that the evenings will settle down in a few weeks though!

StayFrosty Wed 24-Jun-09 11:38:20

My dd cluster fed in the evening, but like with aquavit and mrsjuan's's dds the flip side was that she slept really well, and slept through till 6 or 7 by 7 weeks. So I just went with it really. We would have a break for bath and a little bit of massage, play, and a bok when she was a bit older, but I just let her get on with it. It seemed to go in peaks and troughs, so I just thought it was to do with milk production as pulapula says.

I read books, surfed the internets one handed, watched an awful lot of America's Next Top Model..... it doesn't last forever. You sound like you are doing really well, hang in there.

StayFrosty Wed 24-Jun-09 11:40:16

^a book when she was older. Although she did plenty of boaking as well, which was always a pleasure.

1stMrsF Wed 24-Jun-09 23:09:26

So I hope this will make you feel better: I have 7 week old twins and they cluster feed in the evenings, so I have two of what you've got! Seriously though, they are slowly weaning themselves off it. I've managed to get them to start earlier and that's helping me cope better. They have a long nap (facilitated by the pushchair if required) until about 5 and then we feed on and off until bath at 6.30/7 and then another feed before putting down for the night. After a few nights of this, now at least one will go down at at about 8.30; sometimes one will keep going until about 10.30.

Just watch a lot of TV and eat a lot of snacks.

You could also try giving the bottle earlier and bf at 11?

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