For all the well meaning advice about newborns, coping with cluster feeding is the one thing nobody talks about. It is mentioned in passing but the extent of it isn’t discussed. With my first baby, cluster feeding was probably the most difficult thing about having a newborn. From birth to around 8 weeks old, she would feed constantly from 5pm to 5am. It was partly the comfort of breastfeeding but nonetheless, it was tough. Here’s how we coped with cluster feeding along with some helpful advice about other feeding issues.
Coping with cluster feeding
After a few nights of 12 hour feeding marathons, I realised that my newborn was a baby who just wanted to feed all night. When I made my peace with that, coping with cluster feeding became a little easier. These are the things we did that helped.
- Having an evening meal that I could eat with one hand whilst feeding.
- Relaxing in front of the television in the evenings and not trying to put any pressure on myself to do anything else
- Going up to bed at the usual time and feeding her in bed
- Take it in turns to sleep. I could snooze on my side whilst feeding and my husband would stay awake and watch me for a few hours. Then we’d swap.
- Accept the times when your baby will sleep properly without being attached to you and make those your sleeping times. For us it was around 5am to 10am so I made sure nobody disturbed us by coming over before lunchtime.
- Accept that all babies are different. When my youngest came along, I thought I had it sussed. I had my ways of coping with cluster feeding sorted. It took a couple of days to establish feeding and then I sat back and waited for the cluster feeding. It didn’t come. And when she was a couple of months old, I was ready for her to start sleeping through the night. But she didn’t.
Coping with other baby feeding issues – reflux and constipation
Reflux and constipation are some of the most common baby feeding issues. Reflux in babies can be upsetting for parents because you can see that your baby is uncomfortable but it’s difficult to know what to do about it.
SMA Nutrition have put together a guide to help with your baby’s reflux and constipation. There are six tips to help with each issue, so there are plenty of ideas to try so that you can find out what works best for your baby.
If your baby appears to be in pain or if you are concerned for any other reason, always seek the advice of a healthcare professional such as your GP, health visitor or public health nurse.