Cluster Feeding Tips to Survive Your Newborn Feeding Every Hour

Cluster Feeding Tips to Survive Your Newborn Feeding Every Hour

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Got a stage 5 clinger who won’t let go of your boob? Like your nipple feels like it’s now permanently attached to your little squish? You’ve got a cluster feeder. These cluster feeding tips will help you survive when your newborn is feeding every hour.

If you’re a new mom just learning to breastfeed, it can be so confusing and frustrating when it feels like you *just* finished nursing your newborn, and those hungry cries start again before you even get a chance to grab a drink or some food, let alone go to the bathroom. These cluster feeding tips were essential for me to be able to survive those newborn phases of nonstop stop feeding my three kids and go on to breastfeed for a combined 6+ years now.

A lot of the most useful tips are actually not even tips at all, but just learning how cluster feeding works and why newborns (and older babies sometimes) do it. Being empowered through knowledge was what helped me stay steadfast in completing my breastfeeding goals.

So we will start by answering some of the frequently asked questions about breastfeeding newborns and cluster feedings.

While I’ve spent a lot of time researching and learning about breastfeeding, plus have years of experience doing it, I am not a lactation consultant or medical professional. So if you are really concerned about you or your baby’s health or nutritional needs, please find an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) for some help.

And just one more quick disclaimer, I may include affiliate links in this post to products I know and love.

Is it normal for a newborn to feed every hour?

Yes. During certain times, like growth spurts, babies will tend to eat for longer stretches more often. Most of the time when a baby is feeding every hour or even multiple times an hour it is due to a growth spurt, developmental leap, or in the evening “witching hour.”

Newborns should feed around 8-12 times a day, or usually every 2-4 hours. But babies aren’t machines and don’t know how to read clocks. So sometimes they will go longer stretches without eating or bunch all of their feedings together into a shorter period of time.

What is cluster feeding?

Cluster feeding is when babies bunch their feeds together into a short period of time. So instead of spreading 8-12 feedings throughout the course of the day, they might feed multiple times in an hour or a couple of hours, especially in the evening a few hours before bedtime.

How long does cluster feeding go on for?

Cluster feeding usually happens during growth spurts, developmental leaps, the witching hours, or also teething and illnesses.

So how long cluster feeding goes on depends on why your baby is cluster feeding. If you can connect your baby’s age to the typical time of a growth spurt or a developmental leap (like the 4-month sleep regression) then that is probably the reason. Usually, this will last a couple of days, but can be shorter or longer.

If your baby tends to cluster feed during the witching hour (the evenings), then it will probably last longer. The witching hour typically starts when they are a few weeks old and can last up to three months. It’s not easy, but it DOES end eventually.

When babies nurse while teething (which can begin months before teeth pop) or illness, many babies will cluster feed for just a few days at most.

Can a baby cluster feed all day?

It can definitely feel like it. Some babies will want to be latched on a lot of the time when they are going through a big growth spurt or developmental leap.

This is generally very normal and not an indication of a problem unless there other factors happening, like they aren’t gaining weight, as well.

It’s also important to note that there are different types of nursing. Babies can either be actively nursing or passively nursing. When they are actively nursing you will probably be able to feel them sucking more strongly and hear or notice them swallowing gulps of milk. When they are passively nursing, it will feel more like flutters instead of strong pulls when they suck. Passive nursing can be associated with cluster feeding and comfort feeding.

What age do babies cluster feed?

Babies can start cluster feeding and can continue to cluster feed from time to time until you end the breastfeeding relationship. This doesn’t mean they will always cluster feed, but rather there will be periods of time that a baby will cluster feed, basically until they are weaned because while cluster feeding is mostly associated with growth spurts, the witching hour, and developmental leaps when they are newborns, it can also be connected to teething, illness, and just for comfort during stressful times as they get older.

So for example, my babies might have stopped cluster feeding months ago, but then out of the blue want to be attached to the boob all day nursing because they are about to pop a tooth and the milk soothes their sore gums. Or maybe one of them has the flu and the milk is a perfect comfort, pain reliever, and immunity support, not to mention mommy cuddles are great too.

Can your nurse your baby too much?

Generally no. When babies breastfeed, they are actively working to get milk. So when they are full they will either stop or just start passively nursing.

The only reasons I have come across that might give you pause is if you have a very strong, fast, and heavy milk flow, like if you have an oversupply. Sometimes if your milk comes out too hard and fast, it can come to quickly for baby to be able to properly regulate how much they are getting, leading to them overfeeding. If you think this might be the case, then you can try paced feeding on the breast the same way you might pace feed from a bottle to try to slow it down a little bit. However, this is NOT the norm and usually isn’t connected to cluster feeding.

Does cluster feeding increase milk supply?

Usually, cluster feeding will increase your supply. Milk supply is based on supply and demand. So the more baby demands, the greater your supply.

This is NOT usually an indication of low supply unless there are other signs, like low weight gain. Babies will many times cluster feed to increase milk production because they are growing and will need more milk as they get bigger.

How do you deal with cluster feeding?

Get comfy and cozy.

Breastfeeding a newborn or cluster feeding baby usually means many hours snuggled up with your squishy newborn binging on Netflix and snacking. If you CAN just relax, get comfortable, and enjoy the process, then do it. One of the best cluster feeding tips is to just accept it and enjoy it. It is normal and you’re doing ok, mama.

Get the best breastfeeding pillow

This is a matter of personal choice. When I had just one baby I loved the Boppy for a breastfeeding pillow, but when I had twins and was tandem nursing I couldn’t have lived without the Brest Friend Twin pillow.

Now, I always recommend the Brest Friend Twin pillow. It is huge! It might feel cumbersome at first, but when you’re kind of stuck cluster feeding for hours, it is nice. Plus it has a pocket to stash your remote, snacks, phone, and a drink.

Learn to breastfeed in a baby carrier.

Sometimes you just need to get up and move around but a cluster feeding infant declares they are NOT having that. Make you BOTH happy by popping them into a carrier, whipping out a nip, and going out for a walk or even just a small stroll around the house.

I love ring slings, stretchy wraps, and the Tula for nursing babies.

For more cluster feeding tips and how to breastfeed your newborn, check out this post!

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Think you’re pregnant or trying to conceive? You’re probably wondering what kind of pregnancy test should I buy?

These 5 questions will help you choose which is best for you, and we’ll give you our pick for the best one. So you can answer the question for yourself on what kind of pregnancy test should I buy, AND get our opinion on the best and most reliable.

Just a heads up, some of the links below might be affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase via one of these links I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. A great way to support this page if you like this post.

When should I take a pregnancy test?

Ideally, you want to wait until your missed period to get the most accurate results, but I know that isn’t easy.

I know when I was trying to get pregnant I started taking tests just a few days after ovulation squinting until I was cross-eyed trying to see a second line.

I guess that gave me something to do during the dreaded two-week wait between ovulation and your missed period, but it also sometimes adds extra stress and definitely wastes money.

But if you absolutely can’t wait, some tests can start to sense increases in pregnancy hormones around 8 days after ovulation.

What is the best early pregnancy test?

I’ve been in quite a few trying to conceive (TTC) groups when I was trying to get pregnant, and the general consensus is that most moms love First Response, and specifically the First Response Early Response (FRER).

This test claims to be able to tell if you are pregnant up to 6 days before your missed period!

From personal experience, I can confirm that I did get accurate positives at least a few days before my missed period with the First Response Early Response.

Which brand of pregnancy test is most accurate?

According to a consumer study, moms also love the First Response Early Response for its accuracy as well as the sensitivity.

However, other studies have shown that pretty much all the tests on the market are in and of themselves very accurate.

The thing that isn’t accurate is the user.

So be sure you follow the instructions to the letter and any test you choose should give you an accurate result.

For some moms who want it to be as simple as possible, you can try a digital test like the Clear Blue Digital Pregnancy Test which says either “pregnant” or “not pregnant.”

Are the cheap pregnancy tests accurate?

If you use them properly, yes.

Over the counter pregnancy tests are 99% accurate once you hit that first day of your missed period, no matter which test you choose.

This article points out that even the more expensive tests that claim to give you earlier results don’t guarantee 99% accuracy until you’ve missed your period.

So it’s up to you really whether you want to save some cash on cheaper tests or go with the more expensive. Neither has been proven to be more or less effective. Though sometimes the more expensive tests may have a nicer or more convenient design.

How soon will a pregnancy test read positive?

If you are pregnant, then you should get a positive test by the time you’ve missed your period.

But what about earlier?

Here’s the deal. Once an egg is fertilized it takes time for it to travel down the fallopian tube to the uterus where it will implant. It is only after implantation that your body starts to create HCG, the hormone that pregnancy tests look for.

So it’s going to be days until you even start producing the hormone needed to get a positive test. After that, your hormone levels will rise rapidly, but it could still take until around the time of your missed period for the hormone levels to be high enough to get an accurate test.

The earliest some women get an accurate test would be around 8 days past ovulation, or around 6 days before your period. Before that, a positive test is very unlikely, and even at that point, it’s very easy to get a false negative.

What is our favorite test?

I love the First Response Early Response. It’s one of the more expensive ones, but I love the design and the feel of it. It has also always given me accurate results once I hit the testing window.

When you’re testing for pregnancy you want results fast and accurate, and be able to know what kind of pregnancy test should I buy so you can save money and peace of mind.

So let us know in the comments, which pregnancy test is your favorite? Then read this post about what to do the first few weeks of pregnancy.

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I’ve breastfed for over 6 years combined now, and like many breastfeeding moms, I was worried about introducing bottles to my babies when they were infants. The fear of nipple confusion was real and I wanted to make sure I did all I could to protect our breastfeeding relationship, which is why I chose paced feeding.

Just and FYI mama, I may share affiliate links in this post if I recommend any products I love. Using an affiliate link means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase. A great way to support this blog if you love this or other posts.

What is paced feeding?

Paced feeding is a method of bottle feeding a baby that slows down how quickly a baby feeds, and also gives the baby more control over the speed and amount they get from the bottle.

Paced feeding is done through the way in which you hold the bottle and the frequency you take breaks during feedings.

Why is paced feeding better?

When breastfeeding, the baby has to work to get milk out of the breast. The milk only comes out (usually) when baby is actively sucking. A bottle, on the other hand, tends to continuously drip even when the baby is not actively sucking.

This is a problem because it can cause a breastfed baby to become lazy when they get too used to a bottle. If they are too used to the ease milk flows from a bottle, they might get lazy with their latch at the breast or frustrated with the slower flow of the breast.

Breastfed babies might also overeat when given a bottle without paced feeding. Since they’re used to the slower pace and flow of a breast, they might gobble down a bottle without realizing how much they are getting. It takes time for their bellies to send their brain the message it’s full. If they eat too fast, the message doesn’t arrive until they are overly full.

Overfeeding a breastfed baby isn’t good because it can cause discomfort for the baby, spitting up, and wastes milk, which can be especially demoralizing for a mom who worked hard to pump that milk.

What kind of bottle is best for paced feeding?

You can choose whatever bottle you want, that isn’t what really matters. But was DOES matter is the type of nipple you are using on that bottle.

Be sure you are using the slowest flow nipple possible. Many moms will actually choose preemie nipples for their babies.

The slower flow nipples will ensure that the milk doesn’t flow too freely, preventing overeating and bottle preference.

A lot of moms like Dr. Brown’s slow flows, but I used Munchkin Latch with my kids.

What is the proper way of feeding a baby? How do you do paced feeding?

There are few keys to properly doing a paced bottle feed.

First, ensure the baby is sitting as upright as possible.

We want the baby to have as much control over how much and how long they are feeding. If they are laying back they don’t have as much control and the milk might flow too quickly.

So hold them up as much as is possible or comfortable for them based on their age and head control.

Next, hold the bottle parallel to the ground.

You usually see baby’s being fed with the bottle pointed downward, but you DON’T want to do that.

Instead, hold the bottle parallel to the ground. You’ll notice the entire nipple isn’t full of milk, just enough to cover where the opening of the nipple is. This is good.

Holding the bottle this way slows down the flow of milk. Instead of gravity pulling it all down at the baby, just what the baby wants will flow through.

Stop to burp and take a break every ounce or so.

This is where the “paced” part really comes in. Especially when you are first introducing a bottle to a breastfed baby, take your time. Stop to burp and take a break every ounce or so.

Interrupting the feed for a break ensures that the baby isn’t going to overeat because it gives them time to be able to tell when their bellies are full.

Does paced feeding cause gas?

No. If anything, it prevents gas.

Gas is caused by a bunch of things like air bubbles in the bottle (stir, don’t’ shake your milk), overeating or laying down after (or during) eating.

Paced feeding prevents a lot of the causes of gas in babies.

If your baby is really uncomfortable or colicky, then you might want to check with your pediatrician for the cause.

How long should paced feeding take?

As long as it needs to.

Use common sense here. If your baby gulps down 3 ounces in 3 minutes then you are not really pacing them or the flow is too fast on the bottle.

My babies usually took around 10-15 minutes to breastfeed, and it was about the same for bottle feeding. You want to mimic the breastfeeding experience the best that you can.

In fact, I went against my advice above and used heavier flow nipples for my babies because my actual breasts had a heavier flow than the slow flow nipples, causing them to get frustrated at the slower flow of a bottle.

This process is about watching and knowing your baby. Follow their lead, and focus on them having as much control over the process as possible.

You got this, Mama. Follow your baby and your instincts. If you’re introducing bottles because your nips are killing you, check out these amazing nipple-saving breastfeeding tips for pain to get some relief!

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Finding out you’re pregnant the first month. When should you test for pregnancy?

Did you know the first month of pregnancy includes two weeks when you weren’t even actually pregnant? Weird, huh?

That’s because your first month of pregnancy and the first trimester begins on the first day of your new menstrual cycle. Then it isn’t generally 10 days to a couple of weeks until you actually ovulate and become pregnant. (For lots of awesome menstrual cycle info, check out this article)

So during your first month of pregnancy, you are probably just finding out that you are in fact pregnant.

In fact, you might not even know that you are pregnant at all during that first month.

Ovulation for most women happens around day 14 of their menstrual cycle, give or a take a couple of days. Once an egg is fertilized it takes a few days for it to get to the uterus and then it will implant.

It is only after implantation that HCG (the pregnancy hormone) starts to rise. It is the HCG that you are testing for when taking a pregnancy test.

So for most women, it will take until around when your period is supposed to start for the HCG to reach a level detectable by a pregnancy test, though for some women it’s soon using more sensitive tests.

This means that even if you are trying to conceive and know you could be pregnant, you still might not be able to tell until after that first month has passed.

Some women also experience implantation bleeding when the egg implants in the uterus, mistaking it for their period. They then don’t find out they are pregnant until the next month’s period is missed.

Best practices for testing

Take it from someone who has peed on dozens of sticks and squinted at every one… just wait.

I could tell in my body that I was pregnant before I could actually get a positive test, but I just couldn’t stop myself from peeing on all the sticks I could get my hands on anyways. It was a huge waste of money and time, to be honest.

It would have been less stressful if I could have just chilled out and waited until around 10 days past ovulation to start testing.

So get yourself a few of the First Response Early Response test, which are my personal favorite along with a bunch of other moms, and just hold off on testing until you are close to your period date. Then try to test with your first pee of the day, as soon as you wake up. This is because the HCG will be most concentrated first thing in the morning.

Be sure to check your results within the testing window in the instructions. Waiting too long can cause you to get a false positive due to evap lines.

 

Find us on Instagram for more first trimester and first month pregnancy and birth tips and stories!

Choose your doctor or midwife and set up your first appointment.

Once you find out you’re pregnant you can go ahead and set up your first prenatal appointment.

Most of the time, this will be around 8 weeks.

Take this time to really think about what kind of healthcare provider and birth you want. It’s honestly never too early to start thinking about your birth plan.

For example, if you know you want a natural birth then you will want to find a healthcare provider who is experienced in natural births and will be supportive. Likewise, if you know you want all the drugs, then you’ll want to find someone who delivers babies in a hospital setting and not something like a birth center.

So many women don’t achieve their birth goals because they choose the wrong people to support them.

Choosing someone who aligns with your goals and who you trust is of the utmost importance in your pregnancy journey. Do some research and consider even interviewing a few different doctors and midwives to see who is a best fit for you.

Most hospitals and birth centers will let you take a tour to get a feel for the vibes.

Start taking prenatals and focus on your health

I’m going to be honest. Not too long after that first month (possibly during) is when you might start getting some of the not so awesome pregnancy symptoms.

Take advantage of this time. You might be feeling pretty good still, which might not be the case once the HCG keeps rising in your body.

Do any last-minute tasks you might not feel up to if you’re puking every day. You might be able to get through your whole first trimester and pregnancy with no bad symptoms, but most women will experience at least some nausea and/or discomfort. So I would plan for the worst and hope for the best.

Also, take a look at the pregnancy do’s and don’ts like what foods to avoid. Then choose some prenatals and start taking them. These are my personal favorites.

Good luck, mama! The first month is exciting and sometimes stressful, but pregnancy is such a fun ride. For some remedies for first trimester morning sickness, check this post out!

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Can’t Sleep While Pregnant? Steal My Pregnant Sleep Routine.

Can’t Sleep While Pregnant? Steal My Pregnant Sleep Routine.

Pregnancy is NOT the most comfortable time in your life, and that can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s normal if you can’t sleep while pregnant, but there are some hacks you can try to catch a few more zzz’s. Of course, I'm not a medical professional....

Natural Breech Birth: Making Confident Choices in Childbirth

Natural Breech Birth: Making Confident Choices in Childbirth

Making choices in childbirth can be a nerve-wracking experience for many first-time moms, but that's the beauty of having a birth plan (especially when you end up with an unplanned natural breech birth).   Lisa Chin learned first hand the benefits of having a...

The Best Nursing Bras According to Breastfeeding Moms

The Best Nursing Bras According to Breastfeeding Moms

If there is one thing that changes after having a baby... it's your breasts. Chances are you don't quite recognize them anymore. Breastfeeding initially means your breasts are a lot bigger than they used to be and probably leaking milk on a regular basis. Once your...

Why You Need a Postpartum Doula

Why You Need a Postpartum Doula

by guest blogger: Felicia Trumbauer Postpartum can be a wonderful blissful time of settling into your new family, or it can be a whirlwind of stress. With all the expenses associated with a new baby, sometimes it's easy to ignore why you need a postpartum doula....

The Best Tips to Succeed at Breastfeeding from Real Moms

The Best Tips to Succeed at Breastfeeding from Real Moms

Breastfeeding is hard. Yes it's natural, but it doesn't always come naturally to many of us. Bad latch, low supply, going back to work, pressure to supplement from doctors... the list of possible issues that can arise is long and can be complicated. A few...

Our 10 Most Viewed Posts of 2019

Our 10 Most Viewed Posts of 2019

Another year over, and a new one about to begin. As I write this it is 8:21pm on December 31, 2019. We are about to start a new decade. Like so many others, we are taking a minute to look back first.

These are our top 10 viewed posts of 2019 here at Mom Uprising. They range from birth and pregnancy tips to personal stories to how to meal planning. Ya know… mom stuff. 

I would love to hear from you, which one is your favorite! Share in the comments below. 

 

Sex After Kids: Tips to Get Your Freak on More

Sex After Kids: Tips to Get Your Freak on More

facebookinstagrampinterest s witHaving sex after kids can be a little tricky, and many people find that they are just not getting it in like they used to. Healing postpartum, busy schedules, the sheer exhaustion of having kids, and more can all lead to parents having...

5 Tips for How to Give Birth Naturally Without Pain

5 Tips for How to Give Birth Naturally Without Pain

Trying for a natural childbirth, and want to know how to give birth naturally without pain? It IS possible, mama. And these are the best ways to ease discomfort during birth.   Before we dive into specific natural childbirth techniques for relaxation and feeling...

Are Royal Births Different Than Ours?

Are Royal Births Different Than Ours?

Have you seen this meme? It's a glowing Meghan Markle with Prince Harry and the newest royal baby, Archie on one side. On the other side, is a typical family at the hospital after a birth, with mom rockin' some of our fav mesh panties.   There is no doubt that...

They Grow Up So Fast: Learning to Go With the Flow in Motherhood

They Grow Up So Fast: Learning to Go With the Flow in Motherhood

"They grow up so fast." You hear it over and over again from experienced moms, maybe your own mom, aunt, grandmother... and inevitably when you talk to a brand new mom, you say the same thing to her. The time goes so fast, they grow up so fast. You wish there was...

Easy Meals for New Moms: Meal Planning Postpartum 101

Easy Meals for New Moms: Meal Planning Postpartum 101

Meal planning can overwhelm anyone. Add a newborn into the mix and it can be downright impossible! But these easy meals for new moms can be lifesavers! These four tips for creating easy meals for new moms are so simple (and delicious). Mix and match to create a plan...

3 Keys to a Strong Marriage After Having a Baby

3 Keys to a Strong Marriage After Having a Baby

Trying to survive life with a newborn, and worried you're losing that loving feeling in your marriage? Learn 3 keys to a strong marriage after having a baby. These three keys have helped me maintain a strong marriage after having a baby, even while I was barely...

Why I Followed My Maternal Instincts Over “Expert” Advice

Why I Followed My Maternal Instincts Over “Expert” Advice

You ever go straight up mama bear to do what you knew your maternal instincts said was right?  Me too. The mama bear instincts, those maternal instincts. They are strong. They are fierce. We have all the wisdom inside of us that is priceless, especially as mothers. Do...

First Trimester Must Haves for Morning Sickness

First Trimester Must Haves for Morning Sickness

Morning sickness keeping you down? These first trimester must haves are absolutely essential for all the mamas out there struggling. This is a list of all the pregnancy essentials for first trimester morning sickness. That nausea, exhaustion, acid reflux, worrying,...