Cluster feeding or growth spurts

Some days, especially with a newborn, can feel like you are feeding all the time. Most newborns need to feed at least eight to 12 times per day and many feed more often and that’s completely normal. This doesn’t mean you don’t have enough milk for your baby. If your baby has lots of wet and dirty nappies, is gaining weight well and is generally happy and healthy, then the frequent feeds are unlikely to be a sign of a problem. Check out our How can I tell its going well? page for reassurance.

It’s normal for breastfed babies to feed very frequently in the first few days and by feeding frequently your baby is making sure that your breasts make plenty of milk. This helps establish a good milk supply, providing the nutrients your baby needs to grow. In the early weeks, 'topping up' with formula milk or giving your baby a dummy can lower your milk supply. Frequent feeds help to reduce engorgement in the early days.

Gradually you and your baby will get into a feeding pattern and the amount of milk you produce will settle down. Cluster feeding is when your baby wants to feed very often over a short space of time, usually a few hours. This is most common between three and four months.

Your baby may also cluster feed for a few days when going through a growth spurt, or they’re unwell or need some reassurance from you. Once your supply catches up with demand or your baby feels more settled, things should get back to normal.

Breastfeeding and cuddles are a big comfort to little ones. Keeping your baby calm by responding to them will help them to feel secure and loved.

Breastfeeding frequently at night is also normal. This is when you produce more of the hormone prolactin, which builds up your milk supply. For more information on feeding at night and safe sleep visit: La Leche's safe sleep the breastfed baby.

Senab Idris, Infant Feeding Specialist, shared a video on Facebook talking us through cluster feeding and reasons babies do this, growth spurts, sleep and how to manage these times.


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