Is my baby cluster feeding
Cluster feeding | Pregnancy Birth and BabyCluster feeding | Pregnancy Birth and Baby beginning of content
- Cluster feeding is when your baby wants lots of short feeds over a few hours.
- Cluster feeding is very common, especially in the late afternoon or early evening.
- No one really knows why some babies cluster feed, but it may be a way for your body to boost your milk supply.
- If your baby cluster feeds, this does not mean that you don't have enough milk.
- Cluster feeding can be exhausting; it's a good idea to think of strategies to help you cope when your baby feeds frequently.
What is cluster feeding?
Cluster feeding is a time when your baby wants lots of short feeds over a few hours. It's normal and often happens in the early days of breastfeeding.
Cluster feeding is a normal behaviour for your baby. It's more common in the late afternoon or early evening, but it can happen anytime of the day.
It seems that some babies prefer to fill up on milk for a few hours then often have a longer sleep.
Why do some babies cluster feed?
There is no particular reason why some babies cluster feed. Some people believe it might boost your milk supply. If your baby wants more milk, then feeding more often will trigger your body to make it.
Is my baby cluster feeding?
If your baby is having a lot of short feeds close together over a few hours, you are cluster feeding.
If you are cluster feeding, you might also find that your baby:
- has short rests or sleeps between these feeds
- feeds for a few minutes then pulls off and on the breast
- cries and is fussy during this time
Common worries about cluster feeding
Cluster feeding can make you physically and emotionally drained. Many parents feel exhausted and frustrated. Some mothers say they feel like a failure, or that they lose confidence about being able to breastfeed.
You might worry that you don't have enough milk because your baby takes a long time to settle. You might also think your breasts feel empty.
But there is always milk in your breasts. They are never completely empty.
What can I do to make cluster feeding easier?
The first thing to remember is that this is normal. Cluster feeding doesn't mean that you don't have enough milk.
To make cluster feeding easier you can:
- relax and follow your baby's lead
- feed to their need
- look forward to a sleepy, settled baby after feeding
- try to rest in the early part of the day to prepare
- drink lots of water
- make sure you eat well — don't miss meals
- get as much family and partner support as you can
Things to look out for
Cluster feeding is a normal part of a baby's feeding routine. Talk to your nurse, midwife or doctor if your baby:
- is not gaining weight
- is not producing wet and dirty nappies
- is not settling after they have finished feeding
Where can I go for help and advice about breastfeeding?
For advice and support contact:
- a lactation consultant
- your family health nurse
- Pregnancy Birth Baby on 1800 882 436
- the Australian Breastfeeding Association Helpline on 1800 686 268
Speak to a maternal child health nurse. Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. This is a free service, and is available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
Sources:Australian Breastfeeding Association (Cluster feeding and fussy babies), Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) (Infant and toddler nutrition), Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) (Breastfeeding)
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Last reviewed: May 2022
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Cluster feeding is when a baby suddenly starts eating much more frequently — in clusters — for a period of time. It usually lasts a couple of hours at a time and differs from your baby’s usual eating behavior.
Cluster feeding is normal baby behavior, seen primarily in breastfeeding newborns in the first few weeks. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with your baby or your milk supply.
Read on to learn more about cluster feeding and how to manage it.
Cluster feeding can be hard to identify because newborns rarely have a predictable eating or sleeping schedule.
Your baby may be cluster feeding if:
- they’re a few days or weeks old
- they’re showing their usual hunger signs or won’t stop crying until they’re fed
- they want to eat constantly or they eat very frequently for short sessions each time
- nothing else seems wrong and they’re content when eating
- they still have regular wet and dirty diapers
Cluster feeding is more common in the evenings. With an older infant, though, there may be several days in a row when they eat a lot more than usual throughout the entire day. This may be due to growth spurts or teething.
What’s a normal baby feeding schedule?
Every baby is different, but a typical feeding session for a baby that isn’t cluster feeding can range from 10 to 30 minutes. Experts advise to feed your newborn baby an average of at least 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Your baby may show hunger signs and need to eat more frequently.
Frequent feeding may help:
- prevent jaundice
- promote healthy weight gain in babies
- mothers develop a milk supply
Cluster feeding vs. colic
If your baby is fussier than usual, you might wonder if they have colic. Colic is similar to cluster feeding in that it can come on suddenly and often occurs in the evening.
A baby with colic usually can’t be soothed with nursing or formula. However, a cluster feeding baby will be soothed during nursing sessions.
Colic is defined as at least three hours of crying for at least three days a week, at least three weeks in a row. It affects 10 to 40 percent of all babies worldwide. There’s no difference in risk between male or female babies, nor between breastfed or formula-fed babies.
Colic symptoms include:
- crying that sounds more like screaming
- face and body that appears tense or contorted
- crying at a predictable time each day, often in the evenings
- crying that peaks at six weeks and usually passes by 3 months old
Researchers don’t fully understand why babies cluster feed, but there are many unproven theories. Cluster feeding probably meets a combination of needs that your baby has at this developmental stage.
Heather Turgeon, MFT, a psychotherapist and author of The Happy Sleeper, says, “cluster feeding is likely a way for babies, who have maturing nervous systems, to regulate. It could also be a way to store up on food for the night.
“What we do know about breastfeeding is that it’s a supply and demand system. When little babies want to feed, that’s a good sign that we should let them, because trying to schedule or space feedings out doesn’t give that supply and demand system the right feedback.
“So while we can have theories about why they cluster feed, what matters is that we let them do it — that’s the way to establish and maintain mom’s milk supply.”
Cluster feeding can be exhausting and you may hear people stressing the importance of a schedule for baby, but cluster feeding is a normal part of the development of many babies.
Is cluster feeding a sign of low milk supply?
More frequent eating shouldn’t cause worry about your milk supply. A doctor can easily tell you if your baby is getting enough milk based on their weight gain.
Tracking a young baby’s wet diapers can also help you tell if they’re getting enough milk. Below are the average number of wet diapers per day, based on baby’s age:
|Age||Average wet diapers per day|
|Newborn||1 to 2|
|4 to 5 days old||6 to 8|
|1 to 2 months||4 to 6|
If you’re ever concerned about your baby’s eating, ask your pediatrician and meet with a lactation consultant. Babies who struggle to gain weight or seem frustrated while eating may not be getting enough milk.
Other reasons for nighttime fussiness
Some babies just tend to get fussier in the evenings. Reasons may include:
- being overtired or overstimulated
- missing parents who’ve been at work or away all day
- needing to be burped if they’ve been eating a lot
Cluster feeding has both positive and negative effects.
- Baby may sleep longer after cluster feeding.
- It may help to increase your milk supply.
- It may help babies emotionally and neurologically regulate.
- It can increase your skin-to-skin time with baby, which has benefits for both mom and baby.
- It can increase nipple soreness.
- It’s unpredictable.
- It can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally.
- It often takes time away from other family or household needs in the evening.
While cluster feeding is a normal, brief behavior, it can still be taxing on the whole family. Here are some tips for taking care of yourself, your family, and your baby during cluster feedings:
- Keep a large bottle of water and snacks near your nursing area to stay hydrated and nourished during cluster feeds.
- Set up a nursing area in front of the TV so you can watch something during cluster feedings. Or use the time to listen to audiobooks or podcasts. Keep chargers within reach.
- Change breastfeeding positions often so you don’t get sore.
- Use the downtime to call a friend. Since you’ll want to keep your hands free to hold and aid your baby, consider using earbuds.
- Sit on the couch or floor while you feed baby so you can read or play with older kids at the same time.
- Have a basket of special toys for older siblings that they only play with when the baby is nursing.
- Practice nursing your baby while they’re in a baby carrier so you can potentially walk around while they feed.
- Plan ahead. If baby usually starts cluster feeding around 7 p.m., plan to use the restroom, eat, and get comfortable before then.
- Hand off the baby to your partner or a close friend whenever you can to get a short break. This also allows for other people to have time with them.
- Talk with your partner about expectations and plan for how you’ll handle evening chores if the baby starts to cluster feed.
- Let friends help cook or do housework, or, if possible, consider hiring a housekeeper for the first few weeks postpartum.
Cluster feeding isn’t a sign that you need to supplement with formula. If you’re nursing and need a break, you or someone else can offer a bottle of breastmilk.
You’ll still need to pump at this time in order to keep up your milk supply at pace with the baby’s eating, however.
There are many tricks other than feeding you can try to soothe a fussy baby. Some babies may be soothed by the same method every time. For other babies, what worked yesterday, or even earlier in the same day, may no longer work. Feel free to experiment with these or other ideas:
- Wrap baby in a swaddle to help recreate the experiences from the womb.
- Offer a pacifier.
- Hold baby as you slowly walk or rock.
- Dim the lights and reduce other stimuli, such as loud noises.
- Use white noise, either from a white noise machine or cell phone app, or from a fan, gently running water, or even a vacuum. You can also create your own white noise by holding your baby upright on your chest and humming in low tones.
- Hold them in different positions. They may be fussy because they’re uncomfortable or want a change of scenery.
- Sing peaceful songs, recite poems, or speak to baby in a soft, gentle voice.
It’s important to go to your baby’s recommended checkups or wellness visits so the doctor can keep track of growth and development. These visits are more frequent when your baby is first born, when tracking weight gain is vital.
Your doctor will tell you if they suspect your baby isn’t getting enough milk or if they aren’t gaining enough weight. More frequent feedings, fussiness, or breasts not feeling full don’t necessarily mean your baby isn’t getting enough milk.
Always call your pediatrician if your baby seems very sick, lethargic, or has trouble breathing.
Cluster feeding is normal baby behavior and can happen any time, though it’s most common with newborns and in the evenings. Researchers don’t totally understand why it happens, but it’s not a sign that there’s anything wrong.
You may need to reset your expectations for these periods but cluster feeding isn’t permanent and will pass eventually.
The child began to breastfeed more often. This is fine?
This is the period in a baby's life when he begins to breastfeed more often. For example, if yesterday your child ate an average of once every two hours, and today he requires a breast every half an hour or an hour, we are talking about cluster or group feeding. This is a temporary change in the feeding regime, however, parents are unlikely to be happy with such changes and may think that they are doing something wrong. We hasten to reassure you: cluster feeding is normal.
This usually happens within the first 28 days of a child's life. As David Hill, Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says, the first "attack" of cluster feeding usually occurs on the 10-12th day of life, and then repeats in the region of three months. But in general, cluster feedings are typical for the entire first half of a baby's life.
Most often, cluster feedings occur in the late afternoon, when the baby is tired of external stimuli and wants to calm down and fall asleep. Cluster feedings often accompany growth and developmental spurts. Sometimes they can last all day.
The first weeks and months of a baby's life are a difficult time for him, because he is constantly growing and developing, accepting new conditions of life outside the womb, adapting to the outside world. To do this, he needs not only to get food regularly, but also to calm down, because this big world is such a complicated thing.
Sucking and being at the mother's breast is a natural need for the baby, so he uses cluster feedings not only to eat, but also to get close contact with the mother. So don't get mad at him, he really needs it. And do not listen to those who say that "that way he will make a dummy out of you." Won't. Listen to yourself and the child, you are doing everything right.
The good news is that there is evidence that this behavior in a child precedes longer sleep (we're talking about four to five hours). Why, it's a whole chasm of uninterrupted sleep when you have a newborn!
Yes, indeed, cluster feedings can exhaust a mother. But, as the same Hill says, they are important for her, especially if they occur at the initial stage of motherhood. The fact is that by frequent application, the baby stimulates the production of milk, thus helping the mother to quickly establish full lactation.
Of course, the baby needs maternal care and warmth, skin-to-skin contact, but you should not forget about yourself during this exhausting period of group feeding! More precisely, it is strictly forbidden, otherwise you risk bringing yourself to emotional exhaustion. Here's what can be done.
Don't blame yourself or your child. He is all right, all babies have such days, and you are doing everything right - offering him what he needs most now.
Do not forget to drink and eat , because your body is now intensively establishing lactation, which means it consumes a large amount of energy. Eat well and don't limit yourself to kuro-buckwheat.
Sleep between feeds . Facebook and Instagram can wait. Especially if cluster feedings caught you at night, and the baby wakes up every hour. Yes, it will seem to you that it is easier not to sleep at all than to spend time on short sleep sessions, but this is not so.
Connect partner . Yes, you may think that this is rather pointless, because he does not have breasts with milk. But he can carry the baby in his arms while you drink tea or spend time in the shower - during this period it is important to give yourself a little respite.
Don't listen to the "experts" . You will definitely be advised to put the child down and "let him scream" or do something else so that "God forbid, spoil him." But you shouldn't do that. We now know more about children and their needs than ever before. So: cluster feedings will not spoil your baby. He really needs them. In any case, more than senseless motion sickness, attempts to distract and hiss are more necessary.
It is believed that one episode of grouped feedings should not exceed two days, and the application itself should not exceed an hour. If the baby “hangs” on the chest for an hour and this has been happening for two days, you need to contact a lactation consultant or a pediatrician you trust.
We asked Daria Utkina, a doula and mother-and-child care consultant, to talk about cluster feeding.
Not all babies go through this period, but most do. It seems to me that knowing in itself that this is a physiological norm, and not an epic fail in becoming a milk fairy, already gives a lot of peace of mind. Often women worry that the reason for cluster feedings is the notorious “not enough milk”, although the child has just enough of everything.
Speaking of support, it's very cool when there are people nearby who also know that cluster feeding is a variant of the norm and you don't have to fight with it. Because even a confident and informed mother will be disturbed by the constant background anxiety of relatives. And if this is the first baby and everything is still completely new, then any comments on the topic “something is not working out for you”, “something is wrong with the child” will fall into the most vulnerable point.
Evening time can also be planned in advance, taking into account the baby hanging on the chest. Arrange with a partner to come to the beginning of vigils, call a postpartum doula or a friend / mother / anyone to be around.
On the contrary, it helps some women to break the stereotype about crazy evenings at home, pack the baby in a sling where he can feed non-stop, and go out into the world.
Well, adjust expectations all the time. Cluster feedings become a problem when the idea sits in your head that a baby usually eats at least once an hour, or even every three hours. And when everything happens differently, it makes you reconsider your ideas not only about babies, but also about your life with them.
Many of my clients find it helpful to remind themselves of "one thing a day." Especially for those who are accustomed to work tirelessly and assumed that while the baby was sleeping and eating, it would be possible to continue almost in the same rhythm.
Plus, sometimes it happens that cluster feedings are just situations where a child for some reason (inefficient attachment, a short bridle, for example) has to be on the breast all the time to get the right amount of milk. In this case, it would be good to call a consultant on breastfeeding and find out what is the reason.
During cluster feedings, the mother has a huge responsibility and may feel overwhelmed, exhausted and frustrated. Obviously, dads can't offer to help feed their baby, but there are some important ways they can help moms.
Get up with your mother. This is really important, she will not feel so lonely if the partner tries to cheer her up during feeding (and at the same time not fall asleep next to her).
Bathe, walk, entertain the child (and also his brothers and sisters). Cluster feeding will be much easier for mom if she can focus only on this.
Take on household chores. Clutter in the house is unlikely to help you stay calm. Conversely, if household chores are in order, mom will be less anxious on busy cluster feeding days.
No. What mother eats does not affect the amount of milk. There are no official lists of prohibited or permitted foods during feeding. If the mother or child does not have allergic reactions, then you can eat whatever you want, and even drink two small cups of coffee a day. We hope it's not cold!
Breastfeeding on demand
You can often hear from a nursing mother: "I feed on demand, my baby requires a breast every 3.5 hours." Or: “I have always fed on demand. In a year, we already had 1 feeding in the evening, and my child calmly refused to breastfeed. Before talking about the demand of the child, it is necessary to find out what modern women mean when they say - "I breastfeed."
Modern mothers consider breastfeeding essential for feeding their baby. Just for feeding. Breast milk is food, the mother supplies the baby with the nutrients necessary for growth and development. When a baby suckles at the breast, he eats. Breastfeeding makes sense only as a process of supplying proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and microelements.
During suckling, the baby receives the necessary nutrients with mother's milk. This is the absolute truth. There is another unconditional truth, which is not given any importance in modern society, it is not taken into account and is not considered. Breastfeeding for a child is communication with the mother. We need to figure out how the child understands feeding on demand? Can he understand anything at all? Is there any difference for him how he is fed, for 15-20 minutes after 3.5 hours or in some other way?
What is on-demand feeding
On-demand feeding of a newborn baby means putting it on the breast for every squeak or search. Squeak and search movements in newborns, even as early as the second or third day of life, begin to appear much more often than after 3.5 or 2.5 hours. The need for attachments increases rapidly, and by the 10-12th day of life, the need to attach to a child may occur 15-16 or more times a day. Applications vary in duration. The baby can fall asleep and sleep while sucking for, for example, 1. 5-2 hours. Can release the breast after 1-2 minutes. And then ask her again. Why does a child need such frequent contact with his mother's breast?
That's why. Being in the mother's belly, in a calm, familiar environment, listening to the noises of the mother's body, being in a warm, cramped, confined space, the baby sucked his fist, fingers, loops of the umbilical cord, swallowed amniotic fluid. Learned to suck and swallow. After birth, experiencing discomfort for any, the most insignificant reason, the baby tries to get rid of it. You can get rid of discomfort by getting into the usual conditions of a comfortable stay. The only place where the baby after birth can feel the sensations familiar to him is in the arms of the mother. The only familiar action is sucking. The only familiar taste and smell is the taste and smell of milk and lube in the areola. Milk and lubricant have an odor and taste similar to the taste and smell of amniotic fluid. Therefore, experiencing discomfort, the baby squeaks, or begins to look for an object to suck with his mouth. Ideally, it is immediately applied to the chest. The baby becomes warm, cramped, he hears the beating of his mother's heart, breathing, grumbling in the intestines, he sucks and feels the familiar taste and smell. If such an action happens constantly, the baby gains confidence, no matter what happens, he will solve all his problems with his mother. The place of comfort is now under the breast, and you can suck on the breast.
This whole process is justified from a biological point of view. A newborn child does not feel the feeling of hunger, this feeling is not formed in him. It will begin to form at about two months of age. How to feed a creature that does not experience hunger ?! How to encourage him to take some action to get food? This can be done only at the expense of some other incentives. This stimulus for the newborn is constant bodily discomfort, thanks to which he wants to suckle all the time! The most intense, frequent and prolonged sucking in infants is observed in the first two or three months of life. It is in these first months that the main weight gain of the baby occurs.
Feeding in the first month
Baby falls asleep with the breast in his mouth, sleeps sucking for a while. Falling asleep deeply, lets go of the chest. After sleeping for a while, he wakes up, and is applied on waking. After sleep, he can stay awake for some time, for example, an hour and a half. During wakefulness, he may feel discomfort 2-3 times, for example, from a completely natural desire to pee, and having called his mother for help, having kissed for a couple of minutes, he will do his deeds. Then he will want to sleep, feel discomfort and, kissing his chest, will again fall asleep sucking. After some time, he will wake up and attach again. Then again a little "walk". And after some time, he will fall asleep at the chest again.
The daytime naps of a one-month-old baby feeding on demand vary in duration and number. There can be 4-6 dreams during the day, and they can last from 5-15 minutes to 2-2. 5 sometimes 3 hours. "Around" each dream, the baby is applied to the chest, and applied between dreams several times. At night, the child falls asleep at the breast. Usually in the early morning hours, he begins to fuss and apply. In the morning, he almost never fully wakes up. The baby sleeps, from time to time, sucking on his mother's breast. Waking up in the morning, the baby is again applied to the chest. If you count all the attachments that have happened in a baby of one month of age, then approximately 16-20 attachments are obtained. This is how a newborn human cub behaves if it is given the opportunity to behave in accordance with physiological and psychological needs, which, by the way, are genetically determined. The child of the first months of life does not separate his personality from the personality of the mother and from her breast. Mom and her breasts, and everything connected with them, are the universe of the baby and himself.
In most cases, a modern woman, being afraid to “accustom a child to hands”, strives to limit his requests for sucking. A pacifier and a bottle of tea or water come to her aid in this matter. They, too, can be sucked ... The need for sucking seems to be satisfied. But only the need for communication with the mother during suckling is not satisfied, the peculiar chain of mutual assistance and cooperation between mother and baby is destroyed, the formation of maternal affection and concentration is disrupted. Is the difference in the two actions noticeable to the reader: the baby cried, the mother took him, put him to her chest and started rocking him, or gave him a pacifier and started rocking the stroller, even with the words “Why are you crying, my sun?”
The modern woman who gives a pacifier and pumps a stroller is not a bad person deliberately harming an infant. She is simply in captivity of prejudices regarding the relationship between mother and baby. She does not know how to behave correctly, does not know what to do in accordance with the natural needs of the child. If you tell her what the child really needs, she will exclaim in horror: “What is it, don’t let him get away with?!” Indeed, the child of the first months of life must not be let off the hook. For a woman who does not know how to comfortably carry a baby, and who does not know how to feed him in various positions (sitting, lying, standing and even moving), this can be very difficult. Especially if she is not sure of the correctness of her actions.
An action that should become automatic for the mother of a newborn: when the baby cries or shows other signs of anxiety, put the baby to the breast.
The baby is growing. A fairly stable rhythm of daytime sleep begins to form in him, and a 3-4-month-old baby behaves quite differently from a newborn. Feeding on demand at this age looks something like this...
- At three months, the baby has 10-12 feeds during the day and 2-4 at night. There are frequent applications for a short time, but their number is reduced. There may be a long night break in feedings, about 5 hours, but this is very rare. Much more often the night break is 2.5-3.5 hours. By this age, the baby's body is noticeably rounded.
- At four months, the baby begins to breastfeed noticeably less frequently. The main feedings are associated with sleep: the baby suckles before bedtime, during awakening and during sleep, both daytime and nighttime. In this regard, he has a fairly accurate feeding regimen. And many babies stop breastfeeding when they wake up after daytime sleep, sometimes as early as 2.5-3 months.
- At five months, the baby has 8-10 daytime feedings and 2-3 nighttime feedings, as well as in the fourth month of life, they are organized around dreams - the baby eats when going to bed and some babies suckle when they wake up.
- Feeding regimen changes at six months. The most active sucking shifts to the last 2-3 hours before waking up from a night's sleep. The period of daytime wakefulness can be divided into two periods: in the morning, when the baby sucked during the night is rarely applied to the breast, and in the evening, when attachments become very frequent. In total, there can be 7-10 day applications and 3-4 night applications. At this age, the baby begins a period of acquaintance with new food - pedagogical complementary foods. Sometimes there are attachments associated with the introduction of complementary foods, the baby “washes down” samples of new food with mother's milk. But many children do not want to drink complementary foods. When complementary foods are introduced to an on-demand baby, it is never meant to replace feedings with complementary foods. This is practically impossible, because the main feedings of the baby are associated with sleep, and mother's breakfasts, lunches and dinners, during which the baby gets acquainted with new food, are located between the baby's dreams, during his wakefulness.
- At seven months, the frequency of applications is about the same.
- At eight months, the feeding regimen changes. Since the baby shows high motor activity and is very busy exploring the surrounding space, in the daytime he forgets to breastfeed. In this regard, the number of daily feedings can be reduced to 6-8 times. The baby compensates for the reduction in daytime feedings by increasing the frequency and duration of nighttime feedings up to 6 times.
- In the second half of the year, babies who stopped breastfeeding when waking up after daytime naps recall this habit again. The baby’s daytime sleep in the second half of life, as well as in the region of a year and older, looks something like this: the baby falls asleep sucking, sleeps quietly for a while, for example 1-1.5 hours, then starts tossing and turning, fiddling, worrying, at this moment the mother lies down next to , gives him a breast and the baby can fill up 10-15-30 minutes sucking. Mom may well use this time for her own rest - lie down, read, while the baby sleeps while sucking. I know my mother, a lover of embroidery, who used this time specifically for embroidery ...
- Breastfeeding becomes more frequent at nine to ten months. In the daytime, this is 4-6 full feedings and about the same number of attachments for various reasons. The baby has new reasons for attachment. If, during active actions to master the world, the baby fills a bump or gets scared, he calms down with his mother's breast. There may be situations when you can comfort the baby by sitting next to him and hugging him. At night, 4-6 feedings remain, the baby begins to suckle more actively in the morning between 3 and 8 hours.
- At eleven months, a baby can already have 2-3 complete complementary foods. Initiation to adult food in the mind of a child is not associated with breastfeeding: attachment to the mother's breast is something other than the desire to get enough of the product they like. As a rule, after the baby has eaten, he feels the need to attach himself to the breast. The number of daily feedings remains the same in the child, but the number of short-term attachments increases. There are active mid-morning feedings between 4 and 8 o'clock in the morning.
- At ten or twelve months, the baby, if he is already walking, can sometimes breastfeed every time he comes to his mother, i. e. about every 15-30 minutes. Attachments around dreams and night sucking persist. Therefore, if a mother says that a child suckles once or twice a day, this means that there is no feeding at the request of the child. There are restrictions imposed by the mother, with which the baby has come to terms. He treats breast sucking like food, sucks on a pacifier or a finger to fall asleep or soothe, or falls asleep just like that, without calming down.
- At twelve months, the baby is applied in about the same way.
- At the age of one and a half years, there may already be one daytime nap, so there are fewer attachments associated with sleep. Preserved for morning sucking. The baby is very free with his mother's breasts. Sometimes it happens that he comes up to suck just for fun. For example, like this: he comes up, climbs on his knees, looks into his mother’s face, smiles, starts to swarm in his shirt, gets breasts, smiles at his breasts, sucks for 30 seconds and leaves.
As for the number of feedings per day when feeding a child on demand, their number is almost never less than 12. A newborn has 12 or more attachments, basically they are all associated with dreams. And a child, say 1.5-2 years old, can also have about 12 attachments, only 3-4 are associated with sleep, and the rest are short-term attachments for various reasons. I suggest to all mothers reading this text - do not count the application, do not notice their duration. Breastfeed your baby as often as he asks, when you feel the need to.
Moms who don't think about breastfeeding without looking at the clock may get the impression that when breastfeeding on demand, the mother can do nothing but feed the baby. This is not true. After the birth of a baby, a mother begins another life, she is called life with a baby. That's all. The child is with the mother, not the mother with the child! Feel the difference! You need to be able to organize your life in a different way, in the first months, of course, the help of loved ones is very necessary. In the tradition of many peoples, it was customary for the first 40 days after childbirth to remove a woman from any housework and household chores, she was engaged only in a child. In some nations, objects that the mother of a newborn touched were considered “unclean”, therefore, they preferred to protect the mother from the rest of the household, allocating her a separate “corner” of the house, where no one bothered her and she did not interfere with anyone. Among the Slavs, such a restrictive custom was called a six-week. By 1.5-2 months, the rhythm of daytime dreams begins to form, and the baby has a kind of “regime”, the mother becomes more free.
For a mother who can't imagine breastfeeding without looking back at the clock, and who is sure that the “right” baby is the baby lying quietly in her crib all the time, feeding on demand will be a complete hassle. It will be much easier for such a mother if she stops looking at the clock and ties the baby to herself with a large scarf or uses a patchwork holder (sling). It will become easier for her if she stops running between the nursery and the kitchen, but takes the baby with her to the kitchen and carries him around the house with her, doing housework, in a box, a cradle, a special chair, if she tries not to put him off often, and pick up as soon as possible, postponing the baby only in case of emergency and not for long.
Breastfeeding is not the same as house arrest. In the conditions of modern society, it is possible to organize the exit of a nursing mother to work from about 6 months of age of the baby. If necessary, you can start working from the age of 4 months, but, of course, it is better not every day of the week and not full time. It is the responsibility of a breastfeeding consultant to help a mother organize her return to work.
Sometimes, when I advise mothers on breastfeeding, I suggest that they forget for a second that they are already living in the 21st century. I propose to return, for example, to the cave and ask what they will do if the child woke up at night, how to calm him down? If you are walking through the forest and trying not to attract the attention of predators, how to make the baby silent? If the child is thirsty, what will you give him? What is the baby used to, for thousands of years of its existence? To the fact that he sleeps on his mother while she wanders through the forest with a digging stick in search of roots, and wakes up when mother stops. Since mom stopped, then there is time to wake up and suck. Therefore, even now the child sleeps well, tied to the mother with a patchwork holder, wakes up when the mother, having done a few household chores, sits in a chair to take care of the baby.
Some mother, reading about the cave, will be offended, saying that she is a civilized creature. But please think. Man, mother's breast and mother's milk have been created by evolution over millions of years. They are made for each other. Baby food has created progress and more recently. The skills of motherhood and breastfeeding have also been lost by our society quite recently. A person is not physiologically adapted to artificial feeding and a pacifier. The mother's breast will not produce enough milk at 6-7 feedings per day. Nature did not know, when creating man as a mammal, that the time would come when the need for breastfeeding would be satisfied by some kind of pacifiers and nipples.
Changes that occur during the formation of the personality of a child who did not have full contact with the mother during prolonged breastfeeding are noted by modern research by psychologists and sociologists.