I’m letting you all in on a little secret I often discuss with my Newborn clients: The Evening Cluster!
The Evening Cluster is a concept I developed (and honed with own babes) as the answer to The Dream Feed – which, if you have been following me for awhile – you know I believe typically does NOT work to help extend nighttime sleep for newborns.
“So who qualifies as a good candidate for The Evening Cluster?”
A healthy, growing newborn who is at least 8 weeks old, is on a semi consistent feeding/nap schedule, and has a consistent bedtime, but is still struggling with an early AM feed (typically between 3-5 AM).
“Got it. My baby is perfect for this. Tell me more.”
Typically babies on a schedule by month 2 have a bedtime around 7-8 PM and are feeding about every 3 hours during the day. If this is a schedule you’re following, you probably know all about the Eat, Wake, Sleep principle, and are paying attention to your baby taking full feeds during the day. The Evening Cluster is going to be your exception to the every 3 hours principle.
“I’m sold. What do I do.”
So let’s assume you’re feeding baby at like….4 PM and 7 PM. Then baby goes to bed and ALWAYS wakes up at 4 AM to eat, and again at 6/7 AM for the day. So instead of feeding at 4 & 7 PM, I want you to feed at 3:30, 5:30 and 7:30 PM! It doesn’t have to be those EXACT times. But essentially, baby should be taking full-ish feeds every TWO hours before bedtime instead of every three! Once baby drops that early AM feeds (which will likely happen quickly), then you can move back to the 2 evening feeds.
“This sounds amazing in theory, but so far from my current reality.”
Fear not, my friend. It’s literally my JOB to help make this your reality. Whether your sleepless babe is 4 weeks old or 4 years old, I have solutions to fix your problems.