I have written a ton about cluster feeding on my website.
One question I have gotten a lot is about newborn cluster feeding on day 2 after baby's birth. For some reason this day gets a lot of attention as a time when cluster feeding starts.
With my first baby this really did not happen, so I did not totally relate to this when I had her.
But now that I have had three babies, I can say for sure that cluster feeding commenced in earnest on day two for my second and third baby.
My first baby was born full term but ended up in the NICU. We had a rough go at breastfeeding, with me wondering if I would even be able to breastfeed her at all.
On day two my milk was not coming in and I could not breastfeed, or get anything productive from pumping.
We did end up going on to breastfeed successfully after a lot of work the first two weeks. This was not a typical breastfeeding experience. For many women colustrum does start to come in as soon as your baby is born.
With my second and third babies breastfeeding was easier and more typical for me.
Cluster feeding on day one
So what is going on during those early first couple of days breastfeeding?
On day one when your baby is born - it is important to bring your baby to your breast so they can get colostrum. You won't feel like much is coming out, and may wonder if your baby is getting enough.
I found in my experience neither of my babies nursed a lot in the first 24 hours. It felt like a little, and they slept a ton.
Take advantage of it if you can, and try to sleep as well. I never slept great in a hospital but once you get home things get much more hectic.
Cluster feeding on day two
On the second day - day two, your baby will start to nurse more. At this point I kept my babies on my breast as much as they wanted. I wanted to bring my milk supply in and it kept them happy so why not?
When they drift off nursing is the time to put them down and try to rest yourself.
It may feel like cluster feeding starts on day two. For me personally I felt the real cluster feeding ramped up after the first week or so, but there was a lot of nursing going on during days 2 and 3 after birth.
If you have concerns about how much your baby is nursing on day two check out this great post from La Leche League.
At this point your baby's sleep is going to be all over the place and it's going to feel really rough for you. I found this with my first baby even though she was in the NICU, and it was a shock to my system.
Knowing what to expect with my second and third made it seem a little more tolerable but still exhausting.
Try to roll with it knowing it is temporary. Your baby will not have any set sleep schedule at all in those early days, and may want to nurse on and off all night.
Eventually just like with regular cluster feeding, they will sleep a longer stretch. This is when you need to try and sleep too.
Eventually they will sleep more at night less during day, and feeding will move earlier.
Those early days will feel tough but try to roll with is knowing it will get easier.
I kind of freaked out with my first baby once we were home. I ended up finding a routine with time though, and things greatly improved after the first few weeks.
Read more about cluster feeding all over my website!
All the links below have tons of tips and ideas for getting through those early cluster feeding days.
Check them out and please let me know if you have any questions about cluster feeding on day 2!