Nothing can prepare a new mum for cluster feeding. ust as you feel like you have the hang of it and have a routine in place, bub flips everything on its head and decides they want to feed every five minutes, literally.
Unfortunately, t's a completely normal phase of your new mum and bub journey, but that doesn't mean there aren't some things you can do to make life a little easier.
What is cluster feeding?
Cluster feeding is when a baby wants to feed frequently over a short period. It's your baby's clever way of boosting your milk supply. By continually draining the breasts, your little one is sending a message to your body to produce more milk, and basically, keep up with their growing hunger.
A lot of mums find this frequent feeding to be an incredibly exhausting and stressful experience. Women often worry that their baby is starving and their milk is not enough. However, it's a totally normal physiological behaviour that in no way indicates low milk. It's something that most mothers will experience at some point during their breastfeeding journey.
When does cluster feeding typically occur?
A baby will usually want to cluster feed when they have a growth spurt, emotional development, or reach a physical milestone.
Cluster feeding will usually strike around the one-week mark, as this is when infants commonly have their first growth spurt. Baby's will typically want to nurse extensively from the early evening up until bedtime.
It's not uncommon for babies to want to feed every20 minutes over the space of a few hours. But it's not all doom and gloom; the good news is that because your little one is taking in so much milk, they will likely sleep longer stretches at night.
How long does cluster feeding last?
Babies tend to have their second growth spurt at around the two-week mark. So, be prepared to reopen the 'all you can eat buffet'. These first few growth and emotional milestones will generally be the most intense. After a couple of months, you may find that your little one will still cluster feed but not with the same vigour.
While you're in the throes of it all, glued to your couch for hours each evening, it's hard to focus on the fact it won't last forever. But it won't; typically, babies will cluster feed for a few days before they return to a much more predictable schedule. So try to relax, catch up on Netflix and enjoy the cuddles.
How often does cluster feeding occur?
Although every bub is different, babies generally experience growth spurts in the first few weeks, then at six weeks, three months, and six months. So it won't be bang on the date, but maybe mentally prepare yourself to bunker down on the couch for a few days around these times.
Frustratingly the feeding frenzy is often around the hours of 5 pm-8 pm when dinner needs to be made, and you're ready to put your feet up for the night. So being prepared to be out of action for several hours each night is vital.
How to cope with cluster feeding
Although your baby can't warn you of their plan to feed non-stop for three days, there are things you can do to make sure you're prepared when the appetite hits.
1. Food Prep
On the days you do have time to cook dinner, make double or even triple. Freeze the leftovers in individual meal-sized portions and defrost them as you need. Chopping up some extra ingredients will only take a few minutes, and dinner’s ready for another night.
If you get a quiet window of time at the beginning of the week, chop up your vegetables and store them in zip lock bags. This way, half the work is done when it's time to throw dinner together.
This is a great time-saving trick for smoothies too. Place your fruit in zip lock bags in individual smoothie portions. Then, all you need to do is chuck it in the blender. Adding a breastfeeding specific meal replacement shake mix, like In shape Mummy, to your smoothies will ensure you're getting a good serving of protein and essential vitamins and minerals. Smoothies are an excellent after-dinner snack during these times when you're extra hungry.
2. Rest up
We know it can be tempting to get the housework done while bub sleeps during the day. But resting as much as you can during this time is super important. Mum's need to reserve their energy to get through the hectic evenings, so letting the household chores slide for a few nights might be the answer.
You might be eager to exercise, but if your little one is going through a cluster feeding stage, it's best to put vigorous exercise to the side. Using too much energy throughout the day will make the evenings extra hard. Your number one priority at this time is to fill up your hungry bub and relax when you can.
3. Turnoff your phone
When the evening hits, and it's time for dinner, bath, feeding, settling, let your calls go to voicemail, and leave your texts unanswered. It can be such a crazy time, and any distractions will only make it more stressful.
Just focus on getting your little one settled for the evening and keep telling yourself you will be able to rest soon. There's nothing better than cosying up on the couch once your bub is asleep and checking in on your socials, free of distraction.
4. Protect your nipples
It's good to get on the front foot by looking after your breasts and nipples. All this extra feeding can cause your nipples to become irritated, damaged, and sore. Taking some little steps each day to protect yourself is vital.
Try rubbing breastmilk or lanolin on your nipples after each feed. If you're feeling tender and need more relief, Rite Aid Hydrogel Breast Discs will help to soothe your nipples and replace moisture after intense feeding sessions.
5. Be patient
Breastfeeding is such a beautiful way to connect with your little one. So often, it will be the wonderful bonding experience you imagined, but other times it will be hard work, exhausting and overwhelming. But the benefits far out way the tricky bits.
So know that your little one will go through times of needing you a lot, more than you ever could have imagined. But it won't last forever, we promise.
How can In Shape Mummy help with cluster feeding?
Unfortunately, we can’t make cluster feeding go away. However, we can provide you with a convenient, quick, and nutritious meal replacement or snack that will help boost your milk supply.
The In Shape Mummy Health Shake is a meal replacement shake designed specifically for breastfeeding women. The shakes are enhanced with galactagogues, herbs that have been used for centuries to support milk production.
A healthy milk supply is vital when it comes to cluster feeding, and In Shape Mummy has helped thousands of women to power on through the feeding frenzied nights.
Shevi is a qualified nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and food sciences. As a new mum herself, she is passionate about postnatal-related nutrition. Shevi has worked alongside some of the most famous leaders and celebrities in the fitness industry throughout Australia and the UK.
Fast Track Weight Loss & Support Milk Supply with the
In Shape Mummy Health Shake
Many Busy Mums don't have time to cook health food and exercise ALL the time.
Great news! Now you can Fast Track Getting In Shape with our Quick, Easy and Delicious Superfood Meal Replacement, the In Shape Mummy Health Shake for Breastfeeding Mums.
Support your Milk Supply and Boost Your Energy while you Lose Weight with our Premium blend of Organic Pea & Brown Rice Protein, 25 Vitamins & Minerals, Probiotics plus Organic Superfoods.
Enhanced with Milk Thistle and Fenugreek which are herbs that have been used for centuries to Support Breastfeeding. Plus, Probiotics to help strengthen your babies immune system.
100% Breastfeeding & Vegan Friendly. Contains NO Artificial Nasties, NO Soy, NO Dairy, NO Gluten & NO Caffeine. Made in Australia.
Enjoy as the Quickest and Easiest Healthy Meal!
FREE 12-Week Healthy Weight Loss Support Program worth $168 with any shake purchase.
Mums are RAVING about the In Shape Mummy Health Shake...
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I'm loving it so far.. I'm already down from in weight and I feel great :) Not exaggerating when I say this is the best purchase I ever made .. can't wait to get to my first mini goal of 65kgs then set my new goal of 60kgs :) .. so far it's been life changing, thank you so much!! It has literally boosted my milk supply. I used to pump 160mls and now I average 240mls .. I've never been able to get that."
- Tania, Vic
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
""I discovered In Shape Mummy Health Shakes not long after my second baby was born. He has an intolerance to dairy so I was looking to find something that was safe for breastfeeding, and also vegan friendly. I have recently started a detox program with the help of a naturopath. She was so impressed with the ingredients that she has encouraged me to continue having it! In Shape Mummy has not only helped me lose weight, but it’s helped me nourish my body when I’ve been time poor and sleep deprived. It’s the only shake that I actually enjoy the taste of! My breakfast everyday includes ice, almond milk, water, a banana and my In Shape Mummy (my current fave is the caramel fudge!). At 11 months postpartum I feel great! And my breastfeeding journey is still going strong - my milk is in perfect supply for what Bub needs. I cannot recommend In Shape Mummy Health Shakes more highly!”
- Melanie, Vic
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I am so grateful for all the people behind the In Shape Mummy Health Shake. It has helped me lose my post-pregnancy weight in a healthy way and very helpful during days where I had to wake up early for school drop offs and going to work. I've lost 15 kgs and I couldn't be any happier. I've regained my energy and have lots of time to play with my 2 kids. It's breastfeeding-friendly which is even better for me because the nutrients this Healthy Shake has is good for my little one. I feel great and motivated to work out even more when I saw my results. I'm so in love with this Healthy Shake!!! Thanks to Lisa and the rest of their team. ♥️"
- Maureen, WA
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I've lost 35 kgs thanks to the In Shape Mummy Health Shakes. 110 kgs to 75 kgs! Juggling two little boys under 2 years old doesn't leave much time for healthy choices for Mummy and the In Shape Mummy Health Shake is such an easy solution to get all the goodness I need to keep going! My older son is 20 months and I didn't get the chance to lose the weight gained whilst carrying him before I was pregnant again with baby #2. I easily gained 40kgs across the two pregnancies and no thanks to terrible pelvic pain in pregnancy #2 wasn't able to keep active. Now that my second son is here and the pelvic pain has gone I have stuck to replacing breakfast with my shake and walking every morning for the duration of the morning sleep. Some days I will do a second shorter walk during his nap. I'm still able to enjoy yummy healthy foods and definitely do not feel like I'm going without. I no longer crave sugary foods as the shake sets me up for the day with its magical satisfying ingredients! The shake has become even more of a must since returning to work! If I thought I was busy before, life just got a whole lot busier! Now that I've lost the weight, I have more energy, zero aches and pains and have a better mood. I tell all my friends about In Shape Mummy because easy weight loss doesn't need to be a secret! Xx"
- Carly, Vic
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"I have lost over 30kg with In Shape Mummy Health Shakes, exercise and a complete diet change. I started at size 22 and am a loose size 12 at the moment… and nearly a 10! I feel so much better! With my injuries in my spine, pelvis and knee my weight loss has been the best thing for my pain. 7-8 months ago I couldn’t have even imagined I could drop this much weight! The change in my life has been insane! My advice to other mums is “stick with it and don’t give up!” Thanks so very much for your In Shape Mummy Health Shakes. They are the best thing for mums on the go and while breastfeeding as well. Words can not express how grateful I am with my weight loss. I couldn’t of started this without your shakes. My life is forever changed."