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how to cope with cluster feeding

My newborn has been cluster feeding pretty much since day one.  She does it from about 5-10 or so P.M.  I know this is not uncommon in babies this age, but how long does it typically last?  I BFed my other two and they never did this.  

 I don't really mind the non-stop feeding, as I could use the help building my milk supply, BUT I'm starting to feel guilty about what it's doing to the rest of my family.  We have not had a meal together since we got home from the hospital and my other two daughters are in school (ages 15 and 9), so the time I'm 100% devoted to feeding LO is the only time I have with my other children.  I feel so guilty that I'm not able to spend much time with them.  My oldest doesn't mind so much, as she's content to watch tv or do her own thing.  But my 9 year old really needs my attention.  I can't go out to play with her, or watch her play, or help her study like I normally do.  The whole thing is making me feel so torn and guilty.    So much so that I am seriously considering giving up BFing all together, even though it's very important to me.

I don't know if I'm looking for tips, encouragement, or if I'm just venting.   Anything you've got to offer here is greatly appreciated. 

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Re: how to cope with cluster feeding

  • It lasted 3 months for us, but had calmed down a bit by 6.  Have you tried nursing her in a wrap or sling?  Why can't you nurse her, and have your 9 yo sit next to you while she studies or plays? 
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  • I don't have other kids, so I'm not in your shoes. But I do remember those exhausting nights of clusterfeeding. :) I don't remember exactly how long it lasted, I just know that looking back, it all went by so fast. There were times in those early days that I felt like quitting too. But before I knew it, things clicked and I began to really enjoy bf'ing. Just remember if you can make it through these first several weeks, you're giving your LO benefits that will last her lifetime. I think if you hang in there, you'll find that things will get easier. Plus, you're setting a great example for your other kids about how breastfeeding works and how awesome it is. Is it possible for your husband to maybe step in a bit more to provide your older kids with more 1 on 1 attention while you're recovering and focusing on your new LO?
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  • oh my dd's fav cluster feeding time is 4-7 am! I think you can still spend time with your daughters, read with them and eat dinner with them, those are all things you can do while nursing! You should invest in a nice comfortable sling and then you can comfortably nurse with your hands free. You may not be able to run laps or play ball but you can take walks and interact with the family don't feel like you have to hermit up with baby!

    If you need pick a good time when you know your baby is content and hand baby to dad and hang out with your older children, this may help you feel better. 

    Plus you can explain it, tell them how much care a newborn takes, and you still love them and soon the baby will be easier on the whole family. You also will give them a great tool, seeing my sisters and cousins successfully nurse is the reason I had such and easy time breastfeeding and even if I didn't appreciate them whipping it out then (most of them never covered inside) I do appreciate it now It taught me much more than I thought 


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  • Would a nursing cover make you feel more comfortable with the feeding around your other children? I also use the My Brest Friend so I can keep a hand free more easily. Perhaps between the two you could feel more like you're able to be with them. The cluster feeding won't last forever so hopefully you can make something work until then. Either way, you've done an amazing job for your LO already and don't feel guilty if it isn't something that works for you long term!
  • image toadybug:

    My newborn has been cluster feeding pretty much since day one.  She does it from about 5-10 or so P.M.  I know this is not uncommon in babies this age, but how long does it typically last?  I BFed my other two and they never did this.  

     I don't really mind the non-stop feeding, as I could use the help building my milk supply, BUT I'm starting to feel guilty about what it's doing to the rest of my family.  We have not had a meal together since we got home from the hospital and my other two daughters are in school (ages 15 and 9), so the time I'm 100% devoted to feeding LO is the only time I have with my other children.  I feel so guilty that I'm not able to spend much time with them.  My oldest doesn't mind so much, as she's content to watch tv or do her own thing.  But my 9 year old really needs my attention.  I can't go out to play with her, or watch her play, or help her study like I normally do.  The whole thing is making me feel so torn and guilty.    So much so that I am seriously considering giving up BFing all together, even though it's very important to me.

    I don't know if I'm looking for tips, encouragement, or if I'm just venting.   Anything you've got to offer here is greatly appreciated. 

    I have a lot of family in town right now, and I've been BFing at the table during meals (kid has to eat and so do I!), and all over the house depending on what we're doing so that I don't feel like I'm ignoring my guests.  Is this not an option for you and your daughters?  And as PP said, maybe a sling or wrap would help!

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