Cluster feeding is when a baby breastfeeds very frequently, and it can be hard to tell when one feeding ends and the next feeding begins. Even though it is a normal part of breastfeeding, it can be overwhelming and tiring. Here are some simple tips to help you keep your sanity during these marathon nursing sessions.

How To Correctly Identify Cluster Feeding In Your Little One

Cluster feeding is a challenging affair to spot since newborns rarely display a predictable sleeping or eating pattern. However, your little one is likely beginning to cluster feed if:

  1. They’re a few days or weeks old
  2. They’re showing their usual hunger signs or won’t stop crying until they feed them. 
  3. They want to eat constantly and frequently over short periods.
  4. They may still have regular wet and dirty diapers.

Cluster feeding usually tends to manifest itself more commonly during the evening. Relatively older babies may usually eat more than usual throughout the day for several days. It may be because of growth spurts or teething.

When Does Cluster Feeding Typically Happen?

Many babies have a cluster feeding period every day in the first two to three months. The late afternoon or early evening is typical for these sessions to occur. Some people call it the “witching hour.” 

These are other typical times that a baby wants to eat frequently.

  • Babies usually cluster feed for a day or two before mom’s milk comes in.
  • Right after a long stretch of sleep.
  • During a growth spurt: These are known to be at 2-3 weeks, six weeks, three months, six months, and nine months.
  • When they are feeling overstimulated.

How Long Do Cluster Feeding Sessions Last?

It can vary depending on what is causing the cluster feeding. Witching hour sessions usually last an hour or two. Occasionally they will last longer. Cluster feeding can last all day when a baby goes through a growth spurt. The older a baby is, the longer the cluster feedings last. This may even stay several days.

How Can I Make Cluster Feeding Sessions Easier?

You can have a designated nursing station with everything you need in one place. Alternatively, you can make a few nursing baskets with all the necessary items and put them in various areas around your house. Include items for both yourself and your baby.

  • Water bottles.
  • Healthy snacks.
  • For those extra-long sessions, remember to eat full meals.
  • Books and magazines. Having an electronic reader or a tablet gives you many reading options and takes up minimum space.
  • You can take advantage of cluster feeding sessions to catch up on some television shows.
  • A nursing pillow.
  • If your baby typically cluster feeds around the dinner hour, prepare dinner earlier in the day.
  • Have some dinners in your freezer for when a cluster feeding session catches you unexpectedly.
  • A nursing stool will help you avoid hunching over and experiencing back discomfort.
  • If you have older children, have a basket of books and toys that you can enjoy with them while you are breastfeeding.
  • Remember that cluster feeding is your baby’s way of ensuring your milk supply meets his growing needs. It’s a good thing.

Pros And Cons Of Your Baby’s Cluster Feeding

Cluster feeding comes with both positive and negative effects. Let us highlight these in greater detail.


  • A baby tends to sleep longer.
  • Boosts your milk supply significantly.
  • It can boost your babies’ regulation of emotions.
  • It can increase your skin-to-skin time with your baby, which benefits the baby and the mother. 


  • Cluster feeding can cause soreness of the nipples.
  • It’s an unpredictable occurrence.
  • It can exhaust you both emotionally and physically.
  • It is a time-consuming affair that prevents you from handling other household chores well. 


Is taking a break during cluster feeding okay?  

Being attached to your baby for hours at a time can be overwhelming. You may also need to use the restroom, have a meal or even take a nap. Having your partner or someone hold the baby for a while as you take a break is fine. When a more extended break is necessary, they could offer a bottle of your expressed breast milk. The demands of a baby going through a long cluster feeding period can be exhausting.

If your partner, friends, and family aren’t available to help, you could hire a postpartum doula for extra support. Taking care of your needs will enable you to care for your baby’s needs.

Can I offer a pacifier if I need a break?

Offering a pacifier for a quick restroom break should not cause any problems. Babies cluster feed to increase their calorie intake and stimulate milk production. However, giving a pacifier for extended periods can disrupt your milk supply’s supply and demand balance.

Can cluster feeding be a red flag for milk supply problems?

If you feel like your baby constantly cluster feeds, get help from a lactation consultant. She can assess your milk supply, and she can also determine if your baby is feeding efficiently. You can keep a log of feedings to see if the feeding marathons are happening as frequently as you think they are.
Although it can be overwhelming, remember that it is normal in a baby’s development. It’s the most natural way to boost your milk supply and it’s an opportunity to relax and enjoy your baby.


Cluster feeding is generally a normal baby behavior and can happen any time, though it’s most common with newborns and in the evenings. Researchers haven’t comprehensively provided information regarding why it happens, but it does not necessarily point to anything alarming. As a parent, you may be required to reset your expectations for these periods, since cluster feeding is temporary and will end, eventually. Good luck!

Also read: Natural Ways To Increase Breast Milk