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Tracy Hogg, author of the Baby Whisperer (Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby and The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems: Sleeping, Feeding, and Behavior–Beyond the Basics from Infancy Through Toddlerhood)books, is an advocate for “cluster feeding” in the evenings. In short, cluster feeding is feeding baby every two hours in the evening to get the baby nice and full right before nighttime when you hope to get a longer stretch of sleep from the baby.
Your first feed in your cluster feed cycle is the evening feed. This is typically somewhere between 5 and 6 PM. So if it was at 5 PM, you would feed at 5, then 7, and would finish up with a dreamfeed (dreamfeed happens between 10-11 PM).
Cluster feeding can start as soon as you bring baby home from the hospital. Hogg recommends stopping cluster feeding by 8 weeks old (Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, page 94). In Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Hogg suggests starting cluster feeding at six weeks old (page 208) and doesn’t have an ending age.
Hogg points out that some babies will only do one or the other, so if you cluster feed, your baby won’t take a dreamfeed. Hogg puts the higher value on the dreamfeed, so if you have to choose one or the other, choose the dreamfeed.
I never heard about the Baby Whisperer until I was pregnant with McKenna. Well, now that I know about her, I think I saw her on a television show when I was pregnant with Brayden, but I can’t be sure. When I was pregnant with McKenna, I decided to read the book to learn more about her methods.
When Brayden was a baby, despite not knowing about the Baby Whisperer, we did some “tanking up” in the evening, but he was older when we did it. He was more around 3/4 months old. He just obviously was more hungry in the evening so I fed him.
It was a similar situation with Kaitlyn. We did the two hour interval in the evening hours.
With McKenna, I knew about the official term “cluster feeding.” We did cluster feeding starting around 8 weeks old (if you want exact numbers, you can look at the “newborn summary” posts).
Cluster feeding seemed to help and it definitely didn’t hurt anything while we did it. If you find you are looking for ideas to help give baby that extra bit she needs to sleep through the night, cluster feeding just might be your answer!
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