Newborns tend to be thirsty for breast milk, and that is definitely not something out of the ordinary.
However, some people have started to notice their children’s abnormal tendency to crave breastfeeding every second, which prompts heated debates about whether or not it is worrying.
Will the babies get overfed? If yes, how much breastfeeding is enough for them? Is there any solution?
This article will be the antidote you are looking for, discussing relevant aspects of 9 week old breastfeeding every hour.
Keep scrolling to learn our take on the matter – as well as some wonderful tips for health maintenance!
Is 9 Week Old Breastfeeding Every Hour Normal?
So, should parents do something about their baby breastfeeding every hour? Fortunately, cluster feeds are not abnormal or concerning.
The number of feeds simply boils down to your milk fat levels, how they change, how much your breasts can hold, and the child’s own feelings.
Several days after birth, newborns tend to have a constant need for milk. Instead of consuming a huge amount all at once, they drink small quantities (only a teaspoon of 5 to 7 ml) on each feed.
This number is quite perfect; after all, remember that their tummies are not more than the sizes of cherries! Forcing them to drink more than that is impossible.
Then, a few days after that, mothers can make more colostrums in every feed, gradually increasing the milk flow to stretch the kid’s tummy.
Still, despite its sugary deliciousness, colostrum is not packed with fat, which means your baby still has to feed constantly to keep himself full up.
Every time he feeds, your breasts can produce more milk supply, sustaining enough nutrients to lure the kid into longer sleep (around 3-4 hours).
So what is the exact number of feeds required in newborns during these periods? Well, in general, babies will feed around 9-12 times a day in the very first month.
And around 6 to 8 weeks after that, their feeding patterns might change again, fluctuating from only 4 to 13 times per 24 hours.
(Some rare cases still report 10 to 11 feeds, though, so the exact number depends).
Why Is The Baby Nursing Every Hour?
Yes, we all know that their tummies are small, requiring them to take many small sips instead of consuming huge amounts all at once.
But what leads to their insatiable demands for milk in the first place?
Until now, researchers are still confused about why a weeks-old baby eats every hour, arguing over lots of unproven theories.
The most agreed-upon hypothesis to date is that frequent feedings are established to satisfy several frequent needs only found in a baby’s developmental stage.
Turgeon Heather, a known author and psychotherapist, claimed that it’s a way for the kid’s nervous system to regulate properly, storing enough food for hours at nights.
You might hear some so-called “experts” recommend establishing a predictable schedule for cluster feeding.
However, setting a specific feeding time of day like that will likely not work, as it fails to give the needed feedback to your child’s demand system.
Thus, while scientists can fight for decades over the theories behind constant feeding, what matters most is that you always let the child have what they want immediately.
That’s the only way to maintain your consistent and healthy milk production.
And no, contrary to some popular belief, cluster feeding is NOT the result of limited milk sources.
But if you still feel unsure, checking the kid’s weight gain or wet/dirty diapers can reveal whether he’s getting sufficient milk intake or not.
Here are the average numbers for daily wet diapers (varying across age ranges):
- 9 weeks: 6 wet diapers
- 3 – 4 months of life: 4-5
- 4 months onwards: At least 3
What Are Some Cluster Feeding Cues/Signals?
Cluster feeds are harder to identify than expected, as newborns do not have predictable sleeping or eating schedules.
Still, keep your eyes on some of these signals/factors listed below, which often fosters cluster feeding:
- He’s only a few weeks (or even days) old.
- He shows hunger cues frequently, refusing to stop his cries till he’s fed.
- The baby wants to eat every hour – or frequently eats in short sessions every time.
- His dirty and wet diapers are still regular.
- Nothing else looks unusual; the baby looks content during his eating.
While the phenomenon is reported to occur in evenings rather than days, an exception is still found in older infants, who can eat a lot for a few consecutive days due to teething or rapid growth spurts.
Side Note: Colic versus Cluster
One thing to note, though: Cluster feedings and Colic are quite similar, which might confuse some inexperienced moms.
The latter poses more serious troubles, as it’s impossible to soothe your baby with simple nursing methods.
So, all in all, Colic involves crying that lasts for at least two hours throughout four days a week, four weeks consecutively.
About 10 to 40 percent of premature babies worldwide are affected by this, and there exists no difference between female and male – or bottle-fed and breastfed babies.
Some notable symptoms (and much more severe than clusters) include:
- Loud crying that’s on the verge of screaming
- Body and face look contorted and tense
- The crying happens at predictable hours every day (usually at night)
How to Avoid Exhaustion Of Newborn Babies Breastfeeding Every Hour
Yes, constant breastfeeding is nothing serious or worrying. That doesn’t mean it will not take a toll on your health, though. These tips listed here might help you take care of both your baby and yourself:
a. Keep water bottles and snacks in the nursing area. They will keep you nourished and hydrated. (And your child benefits from that, too; moisturized mouths keep saliva-choking accidents at bay).
b. Set this nursing area before the TV to browse shows and movies. You can also listen to podcasts and audiobooks instead. Also, do not forget to keep your chargers within close distance.
c. Change the breastfeeding positions frequently to avoid soreness (For babies that keep crying whenever you sit down/adjust positions, here are some great tips!)
d. During your downtime, phone a close friend. We strongly suggest you use earbuds to free both hands – which are supposed to support the baby.
e. Sit on your floor or couch to feed the newborn and simultaneously play with the older kids.
f. Place a nearby basket full of special toys for some of your older kids. They will have something to be occupied with during the newborn’s nursing sessions.
g. Try to practice feeding your baby when he’s in the baby carrier. That way, it will be easier to walk around the house; you don’t have to sit still all the time.
This article has discussed whether 9 week old breastfeeding every hour calls for immediate medical care. While our answer is a fortunate No, learning how to sidestep exhaustion is still critical.
Hopefully, our tips above can lend you some support. And feel free to write to us if you still need more answers!