When a newborn arrives at your doorstep, it basically means a whole new chapter in life. It will definitely change your life, but only for the better. Every mother needs to arm herself with plenty of love and patience, especially during the early period of a toddler’s life. Feeding and sleeping are, of course, the priorities in this phase. To begin with, if you are breastfeeding, there are some vital things you absolutely must be aware of – start with the basics.
During this baby’s, there are other things mothers need to know. For example, cluster feeding is one of the most frequently asked questions and so many moms should stay informed on the subject.
So, What is Cluster Feeding?
Cluster feeding is also sometimes referred to as bunch feeding. It’s a process when your baby’s feeds are spaced closer together. So, in a nutshell, these feeds which closer together means your baby may wish to feed several times in a brief period of time. Sometimes the baby might wants to feed without stopping nonstop for hours without letting go. This could occur daily, especially during the baby’s early days. This is a common occurrence. Chances are it’ll happened during the evenings. It might happen before a longer sleep: what happens is that the baby “tanks up,” if you will, for the sleep.
Why Cluster Feeding Is Beneficial
Here is a quick list of reasons why cluster feeding is beneficial:
- Baby sleeps longer after the cluster feeding.
- Mom sleeps longer after the cluster feeding.
- The baby is going to get plenty of healthy nourishment in a shorter period of time. This is important during the in the afternoon/evening when milk quality might be low.
- The milk supply can go with the regular feeding.
- When cluster feeding, the baby goes growth spurts with enough milk.
Why It’s Totally Normal
You ought know that cluster feeding frequently goes along with the baby’s fussy time. Baby nurses for a few minutes, pulls off, make a fuss, and then nurse again, and thus may go on for several hours. This situation could easily create a lot of frustration for the mom. It may even lead the mom to wonder whether or not the baby is getting enough milk, or if something is actually bothering the child. In fact, it may wreck the mom’s confidence, especially if the family around the mom (dad, mother-in-law, etc.) continues to ask additional questions about the baby and its well being. It can lead to a lot of worrying.
So, here’s what you should know. This kind of behavior is perfectly normal and has precious little to do with your breast milk. Also, it is not related to how well you behave as a mom. Look at the baby and check the behavior: if he or she is happy for the remainder of the day, and he or she is not in pain during the fussy time, then there’s nothing to worry about. What you can do during the fussy time is attempt to soothe the child and not be bothered too much with discovering the cause of it. The baby nurse should be allowed to nurse as long and as often as it will. At this stage, the dad (or any other helpers nearby) is a great ally and can bring food or drink or fetch things that you need without bothering or upsetting the baby.
Here’s a bit more advice if you’re still feeling confused on the subject of baby fussiness:
Ease Baby’s Fussy Times With Soothing Techniques
For starters, you can even try breast feeding while moving gently and swaying. The rythmic movement sometimes soothes the child. There is a variety of soothing techniques to get the mom and the baby (and the dad ;)) through the often frustrating fussy times:
- Altering the pace. Ya know it really means a lot when the dad experiences some “baby time” to allow the mom a bit of a breather – she can take a shower, relax and get some time to herself.
- Use baby sling or baby carrier. It frees both hands and that allows for the mom to make dinner, handle other children in the house, etc. and of course soothe and nurse the baby.
- Soothing with motion. Sway, bounce, dance, or swing. Car rides, pram rides can do wonders too.
- Outdoors. Nothing relaxes the baby more sometimes (as well as the mom) like a brisk walk outdoors. It can even happen a little before the baby’s fussy time.
- Soothe with touch. Hold the baby gently and give him or her a gentle massage. Subtlety is the key there.
- Reduce any stimulation. You can dim the lights, reduce noises, etc.
- Soothing with sounds. Try soothing your baby with lovely music, or humming or singing. ‘Shh’ sounds are good too. Classical music is awesome for babies and you can try singing gentle nursery rhymes.
Is My Breast Milk Enough for the Baby?
If the baby is really getting way too much hungry and is not being fed probably, you will be able to tell. Otherwise, no, don’t use supplementation, because it sends a message to your body that you need less milk right now, and this won’t solve the matter. In addition, formula fed babies go through fussy periods during in the evening, as well — remember fussy evenings happen often for all babies, regardless of how they are fed.
In fact, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine offers cool advice when it comes to supplementary feeding: “There are common clinical situations where evaluation and breastfeeding management may be necessary, but supplementation is NOT INDICATED including… The infant who is fussy at night or constantly feeding for several hours.”