Cluster feeding and Growth Spurts
Cluster feeding often starts around weeks 3 & 4. Your baby will often feed for hours, more often than not, in the evening. Frequently your baby will feed for a couple of minutes, pull off, fuss and cry and repeat this for hours. It is sometimes, not always, followed by a long stretch at night. At times mothers can be worried about whether their baby is getting enough milk. Be assured, cluster feeding is normal behavior and it’s an important phase for your baby to grow and build milk supply. If your baby is happy for the rest of the day and just fussy in the evening, they will be cluster feeding.
Our advice is to get comfy on the couch with the remote, get waited on and ride it out. Cluster feeding doesn’t last forever; babies usually outgrow it by 3- 4 months
You may be thinking should I top my baby up with EBM or formula to help get through this phase. If you wish to continue breastfeeding, hang in there, it is a phase that’s not forever and by supplementing via bottle, it may decrease your milk supply, in turn making baby fuss more at the breast. Remember fussy evenings are common for all babies no matter how they are fed.
Growth spurts are common between 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks and 3- 4 months. During these times your baby is doing a lot of growing and may fuss and feed more often. Your milk supply will respond accordingly.
“Research suggests that milk volume is not low at this time of day. Even if milk volume is lower in the evening, fat content is typically higher in the evening (particularly if baby is allowed to control this via cue feeding), so the amount of calories that baby is getting should not be significantly different. Milk flow can be slower in the evening, which may be frustrating for some babies.”