I went in to breastfeeding knowing that it’s usually pretty difficult. I had watched my sister and her baby struggle with latching and biting and knew a lot of women had trouble with supply. So I had the mindset that I would give it a try, but that if it was stressing me out a ton I wasn’t going to push it. I would rather enjoy bonding with my baby than wrestling with breastfeeding.
When we were in the hospital we had the usual newborn struggles of keeping her awake long enough to eat, and positioning being awkward at first. However, she had a decent latch and my milk came in just fine, after a few days.
The third week, cluster feeding hit. I had never heard of this, and I was completely unprepared.
For those of you who don’t know what cluster feeding is, it is when a baby is going through a growth spurt and wants to nurse pretty much constantly. The constant nursing signals the mother’s body to make more milk. It’s the way the body knows that baby is growing and will start to need more milk. Cluster feeding is completely normal and helps regulate milk production. However, if you don’t know about it, most mothers think their baby is not getting enough milk and they have low production and so will stop breastfeeding because they think they are starving their baby.
When I say constantly, I mean that she would nurse for 45 minutes. I would hand her off to her dad to try to get some sleep (thinking I should have 2 hours until she needs to eat again), and 20 minutes late she would be crying in hunger and rooting. I found out about cluster feeding by literally googling “why does my baby act like she’s starving?”
So, to anyone who has never breastfed before and is looking to try to, this is my advice: learn about cluster feeding! It is normal. Trust your body and keep going. The rule of thumb to make sure your baby is getting enough milk is to go by the amount of wet diapers they are having. If they are having enough wet diapers, gaining weight, and seem satisfied after nursing, you’re doing great!