Baby cluster feeds in the evening

My daughter is six weeks old. She nurses well and is healthy. I've noticed that between the hours of 6pm and midnight she wants to eat much more frequently than at other times of the day. I have to go back to work soon, and I'm concerned that this schedule will be difficult to maintain.

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

It is very common for babies to cluster their feeds in the evening. During the evening hours your baby may seem to nurse constantly. At that time of day your milk supply is lower than it is in the morning hours. Breastfeeding is not just a way of nourishing your baby. You also nurture your baby at your breast. Your baby may have extra sucking needs at this time of the evening. The evening is usually the time when babies, especially those under three months of age, are at their fussiest. She may be colicky and feel great relief while nursing, especially on an "emptier" breast.

It is also very common for babies around six weeks of age to be going through a growth spurt. Babies of this age often increase their frequency and duration of feeds for several days. This increase in nursing helps tobuild your milk supply to keep up with their growing needs.

Though you haven't yet returned to work, some moms and babies find that clustering feeds in the evenings, when they are together, actually works best for them. These babies sleep more while separated from their moms and take in a good portion of their calories in the evening hours. This doesn't need to be as tiring as it may sound. When you come home you can lie down with your baby, resting as he has a good feed. This helps you both to relax and reconnect, and can get the night off to a great start. In the early months, it can be very helpful to adjust your schedule to fit your baby's. Simplify and prioritize your life.

Following cluster feeds your baby may fall into a deep sleep for several hours. This is a good time for you to get some rest too, especially once you have returned to work. If you can think of frequent nighttime feeds as a way that you can also sit down or lie down and get some much needed rest, it may be easier for you. It is always very important, but particularly so in stressful times, to find a way to take care of your needs as you are caring for your baby. My best wishes!

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