Cluster Feeding and Growth Spurts
Learn about cluster feeding and what to expect during baby’s growth spurts.
Newborns need to eat often. In your first few weeks, you will probably breastfeed your baby 8-12 times every 24 hours. Sometimes your baby may want to nurse more often. When feedings are bunched together, especially in the evening, it's called cluster feeding. While it may seem like a lot, it is normal.
Evening Cluster Feeding
Sometimes your baby may be fussier in the evenings and want to nurse more often than during the day. Some babies may want to nurse every 30 minutes to an hour in the evenings. This is normal, and it does not mean your baby isn't getting enough milk. It may just be your baby's way of filling up before a longer sleep at night. Follow your baby's lead, and ask your partner and family for extra help to make evenings easier.
Your baby will go through many growth spurts in the first year. They can cause your baby to nurse longer and more often. These growth spurts typically happen when your baby is around 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months old. But your baby's growth spurts may not happen at these exact times. Growth spurts can happen at any time, and every baby is different. Growth spurts usually last a few days.
Many babies are fussier during growth spurts and will want to nurse longer and more often, as much as every 30 minutes. It may feel like all you're doing is feeding your baby! But this is your baby's way of helping you increase your milk supply so that you can keep up with baby's needs. Remember, the more your baby nurses, the more milk your body makes. Once your supply increases, you will likely be back to your usual routine.
During a growth spurt, you may wonder if you are making enough milk for your baby. The answer is probably yes. Follow your baby's lead. As you feed your baby, your body adjusts to make the right amount.
Make sure to take care of yourself during this time. You might be hungrier and thirstier during your baby's growth spurt, so listen to your body and eat well. And let your loved ones help. They can make dinner for you, change diapers, and more.