How to Deal with
It’s inevitable, at some point your baby will cluster feed, and that’s okay! There is no reason you can’t cluster feed and still work on consistent nighttime sleep.
Cluster feeds are when your baby wants to eat smaller amounts, closer together. Cluster feeds can happen anytime but they’re most common when babies are very young (the first few weeks of life), when they’re going through a growth spurt or when there’s a developmental leap.
With The Full Feedings Method®, we always believe in feeding your baby if they’re hungry, and we recommend always feeding them fully. We do not want to withhold food from a hungry baby, ever. Full stop.
So, how do you manage cluster feeds and still follow The Full Feedings Method®?
- Work to feed fully. As with any other feed (dreamfeed, daytime feed, MOTN feed) we want all feeds to be full. When your baby is cluster feeding, we still want to work on making them as full as we can. This means encouraging your baby to eat until they’re full and stopping to burp often. This does NOT mean force feeding, as that can often lead to aversions, but feeding is not passive so really working towards full (cluster) feeds will help cut down on the number of times your baby wants to eat. It's important to note that we believe it's “normal” to feed fully every 2-3 hours during the day.
- Wake your baby to eat. I know no one wants to do this, but it’s is crucial that you wake your baby to eat during the day. When babies go too long between feeds, they get very hungry and may need to cluster feed to get enough calories to feel full. This can compromise their OWT, so we want to always feed at least as often as what is listed on the guide.
- Avoid snacking. As mentioned above, we want all feeds to be full so we want to work to keep cluster feeds from turning into snacking. Work to keep your baby awake and eating for a full feeding, so they aren’t snacking during this time.
- Continue following your age-appropriate guide. After you finish the full feed, put your baby down for a nap within their OWT. If they wake up early, offer another full feeding and continue on from there.
Often cluster feeds are short-lived and will only last for a day or so. During this time, we want to really work to make sure these feeds are full so your baby doesn’t start snacking. Within a few days, everything should be back to normal if you continue to feed fully.
If you are a member and experiencing cluster feeds, reach out to email@example.com for email support.
If you are not yet a member, check out our NO CRY IT OUT sleep method here! We have super affordable online programs that will teach you an easy 3-step method to get your little one to sleep!
To eating & sleeping well,