Managing Cluster Feeding and Comfort Nursing

November 6, 2012

Cluster Feeding and Comfort NursingThere’s no denying that breastfeeding creates an unmistakable bond between mom and baby. This bond brings about incredible emotional security and comfort to your baby, while providing the best nutrition possible. So, it’s no surprise babies are eager to breastfeed often and enjoy that special time with mom. However, babies tend to nurse frequently throughout the evening and drift off to sleep easiest while breastfeeding. This frequent nursing demands much of a mother’s time and can leave her feeling exhausted. But, don’t worry, comfort nursing and cluster feeding are only temporary, and soon you may even find you miss all those special moments with baby.

Comfort Nursing vs. Sleep Training
There has always been a debate over whether parents should practice “tough love” or comfort nursing before bed. The truth is, every family is different, but there’s nothing wrong with comforting and calming your baby by breastfeeding before bed. Creating a calming routine preparing for sleep can be beneficial for your baby. If you’re concerned you’ll always have to nurse to get your baby to sleep, don’t worry. Do what feels right for you, your baby and your family.

What if I need to spend a night away from my baby?
Babies are very adaptable and will grow more comfortable falling asleep over time with you not around. Talk to your caregiver about having a very calm bedtime routine while you’re away, so your little one can prepare for sleep. Also, when you are comfort nursing in the evenings, try reducing the duration of the feeding. This may help them not rely on breastfeeding as much to fall asleep.

My baby won’t stop cluster feeding. Will I have enough milk?
A mother’s body is very in tune with her baby’s needs. For that reason, it’s always best to feed whenever your little one is hungry. Pumping or breastfeeding often is the best way to maintain supply and ensure your baby is getting all the breastmilk he or she needs. Many moms find cluster feeding exhausting. Over time, your little one will demand less breastmilk, especially after introducing solids. Also, try to keep a positive attitude while breastfeeding and enjoy all the special bonding moments it creates.

Moms, how did you manage cluster feeding and comfort nursing? Write your responses in the comments below and share the post with your friends.

27 thoughts on “Managing Cluster Feeding and Comfort Nursing

  1. My 7 week old has been cluster feeding almost every night for the last 2 weeks. It can last from 5 pm to 10 pm and sometimes is all day. It’s exhausting!

    • Hi Elizabeth – We’re so proud of your dedication! Don’t worry, lots of moms can find cluster feeding exhausting. Over time, your little one will demand less breastmilk, especially after introducing solids. Keep up the good work!

  2. My 3 week old (today) has been cluster feeding as well from about 6/7 until 10/11pm. Has been eating frequently throughout the day as well. I know he’s growing but going back to work in 3 weeks I’m unsure how to start pumping to start getting a storage supply going

    • Hi Jennifer – Remember that when you return to work, your goal is simply to stay one day ahead of your baby’s needs. You’ll be pumping every time you’re away from baby to replenish what he drank. Many working moms simply use the fresh milk they pump at work for feedings the next day and refrigerate Friday’s milk for use on Monday. This article from KellyMom is also a good resource for learning more about what to expect when pumping: If you have further questions, please feel free to contact our Lactation Consultant: Keep up the good work!

  3. My little guy has been cluster feeding everyday for the last week. I’m lucky if I get an hour to myself in between feeds. He’s not too bad of a night time but!

    • Hi Anna – Don’t worry, over time your little one’s needs will even out and he’ll not need feedings as often. Keep up the good work, mama!

  4. My little guy has been cluster/comfort feeding frequently over the last week. I can’t complain in any way because it’s always before bed and even when it lasts for 6 hours with 20 minute breaks he is always in his crib by 9pm. He’s a happy healthy baby and I love every second I have with him from the giggles and coos to the feedings at 2am and the projectile milk vomit I find myself lucky to have such a perfect little man. I couldn’t ask for more because I cherish those 6 hours of bonding that some will never be able to experience.

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