You may have a baby who is a cluster feeder!
Some days it may seem like you are nursing for hours on end! It is very common for your newborn to have periods of the day when he or she nurses back-to-back. This is referred to as “cluster feeding” and often occurs in the evening or overnight (when you are really, really tired).
It's tempting to think that your baby is feeding like this because you are not producing enough milk, but it is simply not true! Cluster feeding is your baby's way of gradually increasing your milk production. The more your baby feeds, the more milk your body will make. Try not to get discouraged when this happens. If your baby is a cluster feeder, try to catch a nap and eat a meal before this time of day because it can be physically and emotionally tiresome.
At other times, your baby who has just cluster fed all night may sleep for a prolonged stretch of time. You may find yourself wondering if you should wake your little one because she was due for a feeding an hour ago. If the pediatrician has told you that your baby is gaining weight well and is healthy, you do not need to wake him or her to nurse.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, March 2020
Thanks for posting this! I’ve seen so many moms worry that cluster feeds mean that they aren’t making enough milk. I tell them cluster feedings are a great excuse to sit on your couch and catch up with your TV and magazines, and let dinner be brought to you… 🙂
I worried in the early days because everyone said newborns should eat every two hours. I tried to get my son to nurse every two hours and he would fuss and scream at me for an hour and then magically decide it was time to eat. So I decided to just wait until he let me know he was hungry. It was so nice to just relax and let things happen naturally. It turned out that he was a 3-hour feeder at first (we eventually had days of cluster feeding every hour to hour and a half and then stretches of 4+ hours), and since he was 8lb4oz at birth and 9lb2oz at his 2-week well check, our pediatrician gave us free reign to just follow his cues!
It is so true that our babies know how much they need, if we would only listen to them! Thanks for sharing your experience.