Our 3 week old daughter is a great sleeper at night, sometimes sleeping for 5 or 6 hours without waking. (In fact last week we had to set an alarm to wake and feed her every 3 hours as our midwife had recommended that newborn babies shouldn't be sleeping for 5 / 6 hours.)

However, the flip-side is that during the day she will often feed almost constantly, especially during the late afternoon / early evening. Also, she is very difficult to settle even for a few minutes and requires constant picking up / rocking to stop her crying.

I know it's early days yet but wondered if anyone could offer any advice? We've spoken to other couples in our area, whose babies all seem to be feeding periodically rather than cluster feeding (which I thought was more common amongst slightly older babies). Should we be making more effort to wake our baby at night and feeding her? We've had a few attempts but often she doesn't want to feed.

On one hand I'm thankful for a decent night's sleep before work but on the other hand I'm fearful for my wife's sanity :-)

asked 26 Mar '10, 15:06

Adamski's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


Is your wife breastfeeding? It is quite normal for breastfed babies to want to cluster feed in the afternoon/evening as this is the time of day when a mother's milk supply is usually the lowest.

(26 Mar '10, 18:32) cat_g

I see from your comment below that she is breastfeeding.

(26 Mar '10, 18:33) cat_g

No advice, just reassurance that our daughter was very similar. Evenings can become very exhausting when the baby is cluster feeding and won't let you put her down. All the recommendations given were also helpful for us. It may feel like it but it won't always be this way.

(26 Mar '10, 19:04) Tammy ♦♦

If she wants to be held constantly I'd invest in a good baby carrier, maybe a Moby Wrap? It will make it easier if she just wears the baby.

Congrats on a great night sleeper!!


answered 26 Mar '10, 17:17

Michelle's gravatar image

accept rate: 3%

edited 29 Mar '10, 11:39

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller


Yes! I agree - baby carriers are lifesavers!

(26 Mar '10, 17:49) Fun2Dream

I totally agree, as well. My sling and baby carriers have been lifesavers!

(26 Mar '10, 18:34) cat_g

Those of our kids that slept 4-6 hours at a time at night were a great blessing for my wife and I, especially so early on!

It's not common, but it's not very rare either. We just followed the basic rule that when the baby sleeps, we sleep, and we feed on demand.

We did find, though, that for those babies that were restless during the day a swing was necessary if we didn't want to carry them all day. A swing also changed their sleeping habits a little bit.

Also, if they seem tired or you do want them to take a nap during the day, try swaddling. Even if they don't fall asleep, a well swaddled baby may just sit and relax in the bassinet or in your arms, but not require the constant moving, and may stop crying so much.


answered 26 Mar '10, 15:25

Adam%20Davis's gravatar image

Adam Davis
accept rate: 31%


Thanks for your advice.

(26 Mar '10, 15:45) Adamski

My youngest was just the same, until the 4 week growth spurt hit he nursed a lot in the evening and slept through the night (or near enough!). I thanked heaven and enjoyed it while it lasted. Swaddling and baby-swings have saved my sanity more times than I'd care to admit!

(26 Mar '10, 16:47) Neen

@Neen - I never understood swaddling until I had my first kid - and now I'm a swaddling convert!

(26 Mar '10, 17:08) Adam Davis

According to the LLL Breastfeeding Answer Book a healthy thriving breastfed baby should feed between 8 and 12 times in a 24 hour period and be gaining weight (you could look at the WHO breastfed baby charts to check what sort of rate your baby should be gaining at).

Another way to check that your baby is getting enough milk is to check her diapers. If she is wetting her diapers 5 - 8 times a day (try comparing with the weight of a dry diaper if you're not sure) then she is probably doing fine. The urine should be pale and only mild smelling.

I think my point is that I don't see why you should need to wake her in the night - unless there is some other health issue. I would follow her cues and feed her as and when she shows interest. Cluster feeding is not unusual behaviour and it's likely that she will grow out of it as she gets bigger.


answered 28 Mar '10, 15:58

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

A friend recently told me that both of her children were the same way and both are healthy kids.

Your wife could try expressing milk and see if your daughter will take the occasional bottle. Then you could help with feedings and give her a break from time to time.


answered 26 Mar '10, 15:14

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

Thanks for your advice. We are actually trying to express but the expressed milk doesn't tend to last long - Our daughter is so hungry! Good to hear of other reports of similar behaviour though.

(26 Mar '10, 15:41) Adamski
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Asked: 26 Mar '10, 15:06

Seen: 3,584 times

Last updated: 29 Mar '10, 11:39