What is ‘cluster feeding’?

I have had two children and have never heard the phrase ‘cluster feeding’ until recently, when one of my mummy friends described her newborn’s frenzied nursing as ‘cluster feeding’ – and no, although totally genius, she couldn’t take credit for originating the phrase.

So, exactly what is ‘cluster feeding’? – and it’s not a group of mums who cluster together for a feeding (although you could try that if you wanted to?)

It’s described by Babyzone.com as a “group of breast or bottle feedings closely spaced together, usually baby-initiated.”

Cluster feeding can happen at any time, day or night, but is most common in the early evenings. At cluster feeding times, babies are usually fussier and cry a bunch more.

Although I wasn’t aware of the phrase at the time, my second baby certainly engaged in loads of cluster feeding (usually in the early evening but at other times as well) – it drove me absolutely insane; I felt less like a human being and more like a milk machine. I remember googling ‘growth spurt’ at least every second week, only to find a myriad of unhelpful answers; it seems that babies are always undergoing some type growth spurt.

I concluded that babies are just hungry and I’d have to put up with it.

What I can say is that the incessant feeding doesn’t last forever, even though it feels like it might when you are going through cluster upon endless cluster.

If you’re interested in the causes of cluster feeding (other than that your baby is just hungry), visit Breastfeedingproblems.com for some extra info.

Did/does your baby ‘cluster feed’? Do you have any tips for mums who are going through it?