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Cluster Feeding

Has anyone had any issue with cluster feeding while breast feeding? Actually I'm not sure if it's that or comfort feeding. My 11 day old will feed for 4 hours usually between 2am and 5am and then I'll wake her up around 7 and she'll feed for 3 or 4 hours then. The rest of the day it's every 2-3 hours and I have to wake her for feeds. They usually last from 15-40 minutes. I was concerned at first but she is having the correct amount of dirty diapers. Within those 4 hours I have to change her diaper at least 4 times. Can anyone give me advice? i don't know hoe much longer I can continue to do this with no sleep. 


  • It's very common for little ones to cluster feed, especially in the early days. Can I ask why you're waking baby for feeds though? You shouldn't need to as baby should wake by themselves when they are hungry to be fed on demand - breast milk isn't like formula in that they don't need it every 3/4 hours or so. My daughter would often go 5 hours between feeds but she still put on weight and had wet/dirty nappies etc x

  • We have spoken to several lactation consultants as well as research and we've been told they shouldn't go more than 3 hours because it depletes your supply. We were also told that breast milk is digested much quicker than formula which is why breast fed babies are hungrier quicker. 

  • They *can* be hungrier quicker - some newborns feed every hour and that's perfectly normal, however that's not the case for every breastfed baby. They often find their own pattern. 

    Have you heard of Dr Jack Newman? He is a worldwide specialist on breast feeding. If you like his fb page he has some videos on there which show baby feeding and how you know that they are actively feeding and getting milk, ratber than just using you as a dummy. 

    If baby isn't actually feeding correctly and is just comfort sucking, there's no point in waking them just for them to not feed properly more often if you know what I mean! Have a look at his fb page, he really knows what he's talking about!

    as for methods of coping - have you tried co sleeping with baby and feeding lying down? This saved my sanity through a few growth spurts with my DD as I could doze whilst she fed x

  • Oh and your supply works on a 'supply and demand' basis. Your body will make as much milk as baby needs. So if baby feeds every 4 hours, your body will make milk to go every 4 hours. Your supply doesnt just deplete. At 11 days old it's likely that baby is going through a growth spurt, in which case the cluster feeds could be to stimulate your breasts into making more milk. Those early days are full of growth spurts. Just hang in there, after a few weeks breast feeding is the best thing in the world but it is very very hard to begin with. 

    I remember wondering how I would cope (cracked/bleeding nipples, mastitis and thrush!) but I persevered and ended up feeding DD until she self weaned at 15 months when I got pregnant again. 

  • My 4 week old was doing the same thing at about 11 days. Through exhaustion i let her sleep as long as she wanted and this ended up being for 6 or 7 hours on a couple of occasions. My supply has only just really established but it did not stop because of these few incidences, and now we have a more regular and manageable routine. Its really really hard but stick with it, I promise it gets better xxx

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