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Meg Nagle, also known as Milk Meg, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, wants to ease the minds of thousands of scared mums that fear they are going to starve their babies.

Meg is also a keen blogger with a large international following, an author, speaker and attachment parenting specialist.

Meg regularly helps mother’s with all things breastfeeding, sleep and attachment parenting.

Meg is speaking out following a story this week of the mum who accidentally starved her baby boy to death. “If I’d just given him one bottle, he’d still be alive”

Meg shares, “I just saw the headline, “Baby dies from cluster feeding”…

“JUST. NO. This headline is sensationalism, scaremongering and ridiculous. Babies do not die from cluster feeding. If a baby dies it is because very obvious symptoms were ignored and good follow up post natal care was not given to this mother and baby. STOP WITH THE SCARE TACTICS. I am receiving messages every day from women scared out their minds that they are going to starve their babies and that they should supplement “just in case”.”

Meg explains on her website when cluster feeding is NOT NORMAL 

Meg says, “An unsettled baby who is crying even right after being fed and immediately looking for another breastfeed, after MOST feeds. This type of behaviour is not normal if it’s happening frequently. AS mentioned previously a bit of a “witching hour”…or hours can be completely normal, however a baby who is on and off the breast MOST of the time day and night is not normal and a good indicator that something is going on related to their breastmilk intake (remember look at the whole picture!) or something else going on.”

“Not having periods of awake times and sleep times as expected. Babies sleep a lot. We all know this! However babies also wake to breastfeed, wake to look around for a bit and babies usually try to throw in a 2am wake up period for an hour just to hang out with us and bring us to the brink of insanity. HOWEVER a baby who is awake all the time or very sleepy all of the time is a baby who might not be getting enough OR have something else going on.”

“A baby who is breastfeeding for up to an hour or more at EVERY or MOST feeds, 24/7. This is a really important one. Babies will breastfeed anywhere between 5 minutes to 45 minutes-ISH. And the time spent at the breast can change between each feed for the same baby. BUT if your baby is taking an hour or more at every or most feeds then this can be an indication that they are not effectively and efficiently removing the milk. Time to get an IBCLC or volunteer breastfeeding counsellor to help you look at the whole picture and assess whether or not your baby is getting enough milk.”

“Cluster feeding combined with reflux symptoms (vomiting large amounts, “silent” reflux, very gassy, wheezing, gagging, choking etc.) A baby who has reflux symptoms and is seeking comfort from the breast very frequently to help relieve these symptoms is a baby who needs a thorough evaluation by and IBCLC and/or your GP. With my first born his symptoms ended up being caused by my huge over-supply! This is just one of the many possible causes though.”

*Just a side note…if all of the other things are looking normal about (weight gain going well, nappy output perfect within the 24 hour period) then there could be something else going on unrelated to the volume of breastmilk intake such as tongue tie or food intolerances.

Read Meg’s full post – Cluster feeding…when is it normal? When is it not?

 

Meg also shared a post on her page recently highlighting that we need to listen more to the mother and help figure out why something is not right.

 

Share your comment below.

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  • check with your doctor if you are not certain! don’t just guess or take a stranger’s word for it.

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  • Finally come common sense. The internet is to blame for the stupidity of some of these articles.

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  • Interesting, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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  • If you are worried about your baby, the best thing to do is see your doctor or health nurse. If you don’t get sufficient help find another doctor for your baby as well as your own peace of mind.

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  • There’s soooo much information out there now. Everyone has their own opinion and Dr Google is a scary deep rabbit hole to visit…
    Ultimately the only person(people) you should trust are the medically trained professionals. GP’s, pediatricians etc. and of course trust your own instinct.
    Even as a first time mother you have intuition that things may not be right and need to be investigated.

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  • there is a lot of info out there and not all of it is correct, yes babies do cluster feed and yes it is normal until it isn’t. As someone else commented you may have plenty of milk but not the right type. If you are breast feeding and worried you can always comp feed with a formula bottle every now and then if milk testing isn’t available to you. Old school isn’t always right. Go with your gut or someone you trust, everyone has an opinion on everything these days but only a parent knows what is best for their own child and in the end a full belly and a clean bum and lots of cuddles is usually all they want, how the belly gets full is not anyone’s business but the parents

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  • Common sense must prevail. If a baby is not putting on weight or is crying all the time, then an investigation into the nutritional content of the breast milk must be made. If the breast milk is found to be lacking then a change of diet is necessary, and formula given in the meantime.

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  • Pardon my ignorance but what is cluster feeding?


    • Cluster feeding, also called bunch feeding, is when babies space feeding closer together at certain times of the day and go longer between feedings at other times. This is very common, and often occurs in the evenings. It’s often -but not always- followed by a longer sleep period than usual: baby may be “tanking up” before a long sleep. For example, your baby may nurse every hour (or even constantly) between 6 and 10 PM, then have a longish stretch of sleep at night – baby may even sleep all night.
      Cluster feeding often coincides with your baby’s fussy time. Baby will nurse a few minutes, pull off, fuss/cry, nurse a few minutes, pull off, fuss/cry… on and on… for hours. This can be VERY frustrating, and mom starts wondering if baby is getting enough milk, if something she is eating is bothering baby, if EVERYTHING she is doing is bothering baby… It can really ruin your confidence, particularly if there is someone else around asking the same questions.
      This behavior is normal! It has nothing to do with your breastmilk or your mothering. If baby is happy the rest of the day, and baby doesn’t seem to be in pain (as with colic) during the fussy time – just keep trying to soothe your baby and don’t beat yourself up about the cause. Let baby nurse as long and as often as he will.

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  • Meg, you forgot one thing. You can have plenty of “milk” but it have NO nourishment in it…..it can be like white water as far as nourishment is concerned. I know a Mum of 3 children. She had the same problem every time. When she was pregnant with her third she went on a special diet including lactation diet. Still only “white water” after two weeks. Her milk was tested on each occasion. My Grandma and Auntie knew a lady whose baby was feeding well, but always seemed to be hungry and crying. This was back in the 1940s. Her Dr. had her milk tested too. Same problem. She was upset because she was determined to breastfeed her baby.


    • All sorts of things can happen preventing mums from breast feeding even when they desperately want to. Some dear mums never get breast milk so how can these lactation consultants expect them to breast feed? I WAS UPSET NOT BEING ABLE TO BREAST FEED MY 1ST BUB then they found out by accident that my milk did not arrive till day 10 or so after the birth when I HAD MY 2ND BUB. tHE 3RD AND 4TH WERE EVER SO EASY. lACTATION CONSULTANTS DONT ALWAYS KNOW IT ALL.

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  • So many mixed messages. Listen to your Maternal Health Nurse or a medical professional you trust, eg. GP.

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  • The big thing is if a bub is gaining weight. If they are not gaining weight then things have to be investigated.

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  • Yep I saw that article and immediately thought of new mum’s that would be freaking out. While fed is best, that poor mum had bad post natal care and info. I know I had great care and received a lot of great info while my little girl was in NICU (prem), it made me so confident of my choices and knowing when there was an issue or not. New Mums need better support, even now I hear stories of Mums who struggle and it’s all from lack of good info & support.

    Reply

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