On most days, if you’re needing me from around 3pm-7pm I will be found in one place. That is, wherever my baby’s mouth is. Because, you see, the hours from 3pm-7pm have somehow turned into the cluster feeding hours and I really don’t know how that large of a chunk could get “dibbed” by my baby, but it has.
Yesterday from 3-7pm she nursed 6 times. I felt delirious by the end and like I hadn’t eaten in months. Tonight it’s been the same story. This has been going on for maybe a week now, just long enough for me to finally go “oh hey, maybe this is a new routine.”
Instead of being annoyed by the clustering and worrying about the work I’m not getting done, I decided to let the cluster feeding teach me a thing or two.
Here are the 5 lessons cluster feeding taught me:
1. Slow Down, Mama – This one is obvious and yet I still needed to learn this lesson. It’s ok, I don’t need to try and rush my baby, because she’s just going to want to nurse again soon anyways. Let’s sit together and just develop the bond as much as she’s developing her body (and needing all these nursings to begin with). As much as I know you can’t really “rush” a nursing baby, my energy would be anxious and I knew that was affecting my baby too.
2. Drink More Water – After yesterday’s “imma pass out” moment I realized that I had gone into Cluster Town entirely too dehydrated. It’s really easy for a work at home mama like me to just completely forget to drink as I blink and hours at the computer have already passed me by.
3. Stop, Chill, Be Pampered – I decided to take some of the advice in this article about things to do to make the most out of cluster feeding and maybe suggest someone give me a foot rub during my nightly sabbatical into nursing-land. It’s really not that hard to make my day lately, and a great foot or back rub will do it.
4. Mental Snapshots – I’m working on taking actual snapshots during these nursing times, but for now just to stop and take mental note of what my baby looks like, how she acts, right here today — is so, so important. Just today I noticed her eyelashes were longer and that alone is a WIN.
5. Surrender - I realized after a few days in a row of this clustering that I was starting to resent it. I was finding myself stuck and unable to do my usual afternoon work/routine/runaround and instead of just letting go I was getting a tad bitter. Tonight I let go, took deep breaths and remembered again how long the days are and how short the years.