Congratulations momma! Your baby is here!
You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at this moment, with a baby in your arms seeming to want to nurse constantly, along with all the postpartum hormones flowing. Trust, you are not alone and I promise everything you are experiencing is perfectly normal and natural.
Here is some information that may be helpful for you in this critical period of breastfeeding.
What is cluster feeding and how is it actually helping you begin this beautiful journey?
• Cluster Feeding is frequent nursing that happen after birth to bring in milk, as well a during growth spurts, and developmental milestones. (Typically weeks 1, 3 & 6 but also can show up at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 & 24 months)
• Cluster Feeding helps stimulate a mothers breasts to secret more milk. This aids in establishing an adequate supply for baby and eventually around 3 months to regulate supply.
• Cluster Feeding can at times feel like your baby is starving. They will be at the breast on and off, or for what feels like hours at a time for approximately 3 days to a week. You do not need to supplement in this period and it would benefit you not to as to be sure you are boosting your supply to meet your babies needs.
• You do not need to feel that your supply is dipping or baby is not receiving what they need during times of cluster feeding. It is perfectly normal for baby to be fussy at the breast as they work more milk in and the only thing you need to do is continue to nurse on demand.
• It is very common for babies to have a period of heavy sleeping the days after a growth spurt full of cluster feeds. Allow them to rest but if they are younger than 3 months try to wake them at around the 3 hour mark as to be sure they still receive what they need, and to help prevent engorged breasts and plugged milk ducts.
• Do not worry about over feeding. It is not likely that you will over feed a baby who is nursing at the breast. Unlike with a bottle, which flows faster and requires less work from baby, their pallets are made perfectly and specifically for the breast and so can control the flow much easier. There are some cases of heavy letdowns that can be harder for baby to control, in which case there are positions great for slowing the flow. (Typically only newborns will have trouble controlling heavy flow and after 3 months they are fine.)
So when it comes to cluster feeding…
Nurse Early. Nurse Often. Nurse On Demand.
Watch baby, not the clock. Rest when baby rests and know that you are a rock star, badass breastfeeder & you both are doing amazing!