Cluster Feeding & Fussy Evening Babies
Some newborn babies do not give their parents the luxury to relax. They cry and get fussy, and want to be carried and walked around by their parents all the time. But is this baby fussiness normal? A lot of babies have these fussy periods mostly in the evening or during late afternoon regularly (the witching hour as some people call it). Nursing helps to calm them down but still this period lasts for about 2 to 3 hours every day.
A crying and unhappy baby is never pleasing to the eyes. They are more demanding and their needs are hard to understand and satisfy. They disrupt everyone’s routine, especially their parents which can cause stress and anxiety when caring for them.
A normal fussy period occurs during the same time each day and is almost of the same intensity. It is known to occur most commonly during the evening because this is that part of the day when the baby is awake most of the time. During this normal fussy period, babies usually respond to frequent breastfeeding or being held, carried and walked around. As they begin to calm down they start feeling drowsy and soon go to sleep.
Nursing the newborns is never easy for parents. It is hard for them to identify why their child is crying, particularly if it is their first one. Do they want their mother’s milk? Are they sleepy, or are they feeling cold, or is it their normal fussy period occurring again? It is important for all parents to know that the occurring of such fussy periods amongst newborns is the norm, and that these end within 3 to 4 months. So, these are not the things to get worried about, unless of course your baby shows signs of other problems.
Soothing techniques for babies during their fussy periods
Taking your baby outdoors before their fussy time may help as you can relax them with a walk around the park.
Sometimes daddy can take charge of the baby during their fussy time. This change of pace may work for the baby and the mother will get time to relax herself after a tiring day.
Sometimes swinging your baby, or moving with them in rhythmic motion, or even taking them for a car ride works.
Try giving your baby a baby massage during one of their fussy periods. It is sure going to work.
Put your baby in a baby carrier whilst you complete your chores. This way you will be able to nurse them as well as complete your tasks with ease.
Make sure there is no noise and it is darker around as you swaddle the baby and put them in the cradle. Rock it gently while singing them lullabies or chanting other soothing sounds.
Put them in their stroller sometimes as you take them for a round outside. Let them have a look at the trees. Interact with them. It is one way you can bond with them.
Put them in a baby swing if they are old enough. Stay near them so that if they get upset or cry, you can immediately pick them up again. The key here is not to spoil their mood.
Do not make their routine monotonous. Keep surprising them because once they get familiar to their routines their fussiness may come back. So, try different strategies and use various methods to comfort them if nursing does not help anymore.
Cluster feeding is when babies tend to feed more, in clusters, at certain times of the day. For example, between 5 to 9pm they may feed once every hour. Timings may differ for different babies but these are mostly common during the evenings. Cluster feeding is often followed by the child sleeping for longer durations as their energy levels are full and they are tanked up.
Cluster feeding your baby during their fussy time is frustrating for the mothers. Their babies crying while being nursed, is bothersome for them. It makes them wonder if their baby is getting sufficient milk or not, or is it something that they are eating that the baby is not liking. Of course, it affects their confidence as everyone around feels the same.
Plus, the constant fuss of the babies while breastfeeding can sometimes be very tiring for the mothers. They clutch and feed, then stop and cry, and then again clutch and feed. This process continues for some time until the mother realizes that their baby has fallen asleep while latching on. So, she tries to unlatch and move. But no, they are up again and the process of clutching, feeding, stopping and crying continues.
Tips for mothers
Since mothers are there with their babies the entire time of the day, it is important for them to accept and plan for this phase of the day. They must be prepared rather than allowing their baby’s fussy period and cluster feeding time occurrence together to take them by surprise. This way, mothers will be able to schedule their tasks accordingly.
The baby showing their need to feed again and again makes the mother feel that they are not being able to provide sufficient milk to their little one and it really stresses them as they turn towards supplements. What they do not know is that this happens when the fussy period of their baby coincides with their cluster feeding times, and that it is normal for newborns. At this time, patience is the key because you are giving them all that they need from you.
It is that time of the day that mothers can utilize to interact with their baby since they are very close to each other. This way they get time to bond with them. Added to this, it can be a great time to relax if the baby’s fussy period is tackled successfully. They can even utilize their partner asking them to bring home dinner, drinks and anything else that is needed. If time spent happily, this can be one memorable period in the life of mothers.
© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.
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