Monday, 10 February 2014

Surviving cluster feeding

I'd never heard of cluster feeding until I was in hospital. There was one evening when Sticky wouldn't stop screaming and one of the midwives said she was cluster feeding. Basically it means babies feed and feed regularly and it's hell!

Babies cluster feed because their stomachs are so small. It doesn't take long to fill them up or to empty. So, they go through periods where they seem constantly hungry and that's because they are. They are bottomless pits and it feels like you do nothing but feed.

There's nothing you can do about it - your only choice is to feed. The only thing you can do about it is to be prepared so you can cope with it so here are my top tips.

1- Have a comfy chair in an area set up just for feeding. You need a lot of materials so you don't want to keep putting things away between feeds.

2- Purchase a good breast feeding pillow. I ditched the original Milk Bar pillow I'd bought for a u shape one from a Target. You want something that lifts the baby up and supports their weight. You'll be sitting a lot so make sure you're comfortable!

3- Have all your materials ready to go. I have my phone, Ipad, notebook, water bottle, 2 face washers, speakers, iPod and muesli bars. Each piece is essential!

4- If you are having any problems or pain feeding seek assistance immediately. You will be doing so much feeding it's important you get it sorted out straight away.

5- The best way to look after your nipples is to rub some expressed milk on them. Milk is nature's moisturiser so stick clear of creams and other lotions as the milk is free!

6- When you start to feel like a cow take heart that cluster feeding normally only lasts for a few weeks. It's exhausting and draining but keep the faith there's light at the end of the tunnel.

And, when all else fails, and you find yourself sitting there in tears, try to remember that you are spending time with your child and even though it's a challenge, any time you get to spend with your child is something to be cherished!

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