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  • Writer's pictureChardá Bell, IBCLC, CBE, CD

Cluster feeding fatigue is real 😈

Ever have a super hangry baby that just wouldn’t seem to give your poor boobs a break? Fussy for no reason and eating like a gremlin every 1-2 hours instead of every 2-3 and sometimes every 30 mins or even worse, 5 mins at a time for 30 mins straight and then nurses for 40 mins the next feeding just 30-60 mins from that last feeding.

You know what we call that…a growth spurt!

And it’s a really good sign that your baby is doing a great job at telling your body what it needs. The baby’s body and mind both thrive off your breastmilk and rely on it for their development.

During these times of growth spurts, children also are showing signs of other profound developmental changes like rolling, crawling or walking. This could possibly add to their potential excessive fussiness, so don’t blame it all on the supply changes. These growth spurts can last up to the first year and really they happen all throughout adolescence, it’s just most noticeable from 0-5.

Your breastmilk is spectacular and constantly changes according to your baby’s needs from feed to feed as they age. The most common times, but not exact, for these big changes in mom and babies life that may disrupt normal routine are:

7-10 days (first week home)

2-3 weeks (the witching hours)

4-6 weeks (y’all are getting used to it)

3 months (like baby puberty the growth is tremendous)

4 months (motor skills are expanding)

6 months (eating solids and sitting up)

9 months (crawling and growing like a tree)

Growth spurts shouldn’t last too long, typically 2-4 days but as long as a week. To get through it, listen to your body and eat and drink to hunger and thirst. Listen to your boobs and your baby, if they want it give it to allow your production to establish for what the baby needs. Cluster feeding doesn’t mean your baby isn’t getting enough or you aren’t making enough, always ask an IBCLC. Supplementing at this time will only hinder the milk production from regulating by interfering with the supply and demand process. Missing feedings by supplementing tells your body to make less milk. Always check for signs of intake by getting your baby’s weight checked, counting pees and poops and even checking for signs of milk transfer like dribbling from the sides of moth or listening for audible swallows.

Remember that growth spurts, like everything else in this newborn stage of parenting life is temporary. Let it come and go like a wave or better yet, like a contraction. Now I know you are over these cluster feeds but just remember those big contractions and how you got through those, this too shall pass but it ain’t the end of the journey, the fun is just beginning!

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