When Cluster Feeding Takes It's Toll
When I finally felt like I had gotten into a breastfeeding groove with Stella, she started to pick up the frequency of her feedings. It suddenly went to every 1-2 hours. What the HELL was going on? Was I making enough? Is she even hungry? My nipples were freaking RAW! These just a few questions we ask ourselves during what is called Cluster Feeding.
I was exhausted, to say the least. Although I was so proud of the fact I was able to nurse Stella without complications, that didn't mean I didn't find it challenging or without hiccups. A handful of times I found myself feelings frustrated, hopeless, and crying in a ball. When a screaming baby just doesn't satiated you feel like a failure and you can't provide for your child. Your first thought becomes, should I just give her formula? And you feel overwhelmed with that decision and what it means. Well, mama, I am here to tell you that there is a beaming light at the end of that tunnel! It gets easier.
It's important to keep in mind that a newborn's stomach size is incredible tiny. Here are a couple of really good visuals to put it into perspective for you:
So, what is cluster feeding? According to Kelly Mom, Cluster feeding, also called bunch feeding, is when babies space feeding closer together at certain times of the day and go longer between feedings at other times. This is very common, and often occurs in the evenings. Cluster feeding often coincides with your baby’s fussy time. Baby will nurse a few minutes, pull off, fuss/cry, nurse a few minutes, pull off, fuss/cry… on and on… for hours. This can be VERY frustrating, and mom starts wondering if baby is getting enough milk.
All of this is VERY NORMAL! You are making enough and your breastmilk is fine, in most cases. My suggestion, be patient with your newborn and with yourself. Give that little one all the snuggles she needs during this time. She is completely helpless and reliant on you. You won't get these moments back so cherish them to the fullest. YOU GOT THIS!