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Cluster feeding and fussy evenings

(13 Posts)
Sophie1106 Sun 26-Jul-09 17:34:08


My 5 week old baby likes to nurse continuously during the early to late evening and it is a very traumatic feed as she acts very frustrated the whole time- sometimes refusing to go on the breast other times pulling off after nursing for a while, other times just crying continuously during the feed. If i don't do exactly what she wants she gets so wound up it can take hours to settle her. If i'm lucky she will be in bed by 9pm. I just read an article on cluster feeding and fussy evenings on the internet which seems to suggest that this is normal behaviour and is not necessarily anything to do with a low milk flow etc. It suggests that it meets the baby's need to nurse rather than feed as in being comforted also. Can anyone else identify with this behaviour because I have analysed it so many times I think my head will explode and I just want to hear that it's normal and then I can accept it?! obviously if milk flow has anything to do with it then is there anything I can do? Thanks for your support in advance.,

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 26-Jul-09 17:43:08

Message withdrawn

tiktok Sun 26-Jul-09 17:46:19

Sophie, it's normal for babies to cluster feed...but it's not clear what you mean by the baby refusing, crying and so on. Is she like this when you are not going with what she wants and just feeding? So she gets upset because she keeps being put down, expected to settle, not being fed?

You might want to think about going with the flow for a few evenings, just accepting she wants to be on or near the breast, and letting her sleep in your arms between feeds...that might make your evenings better for both of you

Sophie1106 Sun 26-Jul-09 21:31:47

Thanks for your replies and thanks for yours tiktok. It seems to me that it's something about the breast that's frustrating her. Generally it starts off fine she feeds well and latches well and then as time goes on she seems to get according to my interpretation, frustrated. If she doesn't latch on the first time around for example(because her heads moving/she's distracted by something and not concentrating or she doesn't open her mouth wide enough) she starts crying. She may take a couple of sucks also and then start to cry or she might go for 5 minutes and then start to cry. If I take a rest with her and just try to cuddle and pat etc to calm her down that can work temporarily but then she starts her hunger noises and starts to root around (particularly if she's over my shoulder)and if she doesn't get to the breast quick enough she starts crying again. Sometimes I just need to bring her near to the breast and she cries. Occasioanlly it's wind but most of the time i'm not sure what the problem is.It carries on like this all evening until i guess she's satisfied with the feed/exhausted from all the crying and battle of getting my breast to her. It's v. frustrating.

Sophie1106 Tue 28-Jul-09 14:32:37

Apparently this is typical growth spurt behaviour according to the health visitor- however it's been going on for over a week. My baby has gained 3lbs in 6 weeks and is a greedy girl so am now thinking that this just could be her and she is always hungry. Not too sure if I can keep up with the demand-has anyone experienced this with their baby?I am considering topping her up or perhaps changing to formula-any advice on this/opinions on this welcomed. thanks in advance.

shelly1980 Tue 28-Jul-09 15:40:59

Hi. I'm having a similar experience with my 4 week old. It's mostly evenings that she does this... usually starts around teatime! She will want constantly feeding on & off for a few hours and then will suddenly conk out and sleep for a good while... some nights I've woken up with a jump as I realise 6 hours have passed without a murmur! All normal apparently. As for the topping up with up formula... I've done it occasionally but I had mastitis and now have thrush apparently, so desperately needed a break. I gave her 1 feed of formula and while it doesn't do any harm but they don't recommend it as your milk can start to dwindle if you make a habit of it. Hope it helps to know you're not alone!

mum2JRC Tue 28-Jul-09 15:52:53

Completely normal behaviour of a newborn.

My DS at that age would cluster feed most the evening and he would never settle for the night until at least 9-10pm. They have so many growth spurts in the early weeks and letting her have all that time at your breast will benefit supply.

The evenings do get better and by about 10 weeks we were able to get my DS down at about 7.30pm then he would get in a good solid sleep before needing one or two feeds in the night.

She is obviously getting what she needs as her weight gain is fantastic. Well done Mum even though it can be exhausting.

I've found cake and chocolate does wonders for the exhaustion from feeding grin

HolidaysQueen Tue 28-Jul-09 16:01:17

It can be exhausting and worrying for you if you're not expecting this behaviour, but it is completely normal and does pass. Like Starlight and others have said, do try to go with it and just see it as a time to put your feet up and watch some telly while cuddling with your baby.

I didn't understand that this was normal (nobody told me) so 'fought' it - I would try to get DS off the breast and down for some sleep, and then get upset that he wouldn't settle and ended up feeling there was something wrong with my milk (he aldo barely gained weight so I was reallyt worried about this). I ended up using formula to get over this hurdle. But after a while I realised that it was normal, and that I just needed to reset my expectations. By 3 months, he had stopped cluster feeding, and I really wished I hadn't resorted to using formula at all and instead just accepted this behaviour. As your baby is gaing weight well, there is clearly nothing wrong with your supply, so I suggest you try to just settle down and go with it rather than switch to formula.

With a second baby, I intend to do exactly as Starlight says, right down to getting DH to cook all my dinners

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Tue 28-Jul-09 16:04:12

Normal. DD was like this from about the same age for a while. Every single evening. I used to feed her pretty much constantly between around 6pm-11pm, on occasion being able to settle her for an hour by walking around playing/singing chasing cars by snow patrol!

jimbobsmummy Tue 28-Jul-09 17:49:03

Mine is still exactly like this at 12 weeks. It is a real pain, absolutely exhausting. He usually doesn't go down until about 10.30 or 11. He will sometimes doze on my lap, but not in his bed.

DH works away a couple of nights a week and it makes it very difficult to do anything, cook, get a drink, have a shower, anything.

How much longer will he keep doing it for?

mum2JRC Tue 28-Jul-09 19:24:59

jimbobsmummy it will get easier. Have you tried putting your DS in a sling as it would allow you do do a few bits.

It was around 10 weeks maybe a bit longer that we managed to get my DS to bed at around 7.30pm.
Have you tried a wind down routine. It's worked with both my boys at getting them more settled in the evening.
Normally bath etc just after 6. Get dressed in room with blind down so darker but side light on then I put younger DS in sleeping bag whilst I read older son his stories and feed younger DS.
I try and keep the night time routine quite consistent so the children know what to expect each night.

eeky Tue 28-Jul-09 22:45:00

I had the same but dd was very slow to regain her birthweight, so I think my supply was a little low in the evenings compared to rest of day. She then had a huge growth spurt at 5-6 weeks. We had already introduced ebm via a bottle which she took well. If you feel that you need a break from the cluster feeding, what we did was give her a ginormous bottle of ebm around 6 o'clock which would settle her wonderfully. She would settle till 11pm-ish, which gave us time to eat a proper meal(cooked by dh) and have relaxing glass of wine and feet up. I would express shortly after she went down and put this smaller mount by to add to the good amount I expressed first thing in the morning. Feeding her again around 11 and once in the night initially kept up my supply well. Just a thought - if you're happy feeding for a few hours that's great and will boost your supply too. Wish someone had told me this was normal beforehand!

JetLi Wed 29-Jul-09 10:35:39

My lovely breastfeeding support worker explained that breastfeeding is not just about food but about so many other things like safety and comfort and love and remembering this helps me with the cluster feeding evening times. Also having my food in bite-sized pieces on my plate so I can eat one-handed helps too grin

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