Can breastfed babies overeat? With the rise in obesity cases in the world, it’s only logical that as a new mother you would be concerned about the weight of your baby.
It’s true, there are times when the baby will be eating much more than normal. But to everything, there’s a limit. More so with babies. Today we seek to find out whether breastfeeding babies overeat or this is just another breastfeeding myth.
Can you overfeed a newborn?
I asked myself this question many times with my son when he was little. There are times when he would be on the breast for so long until he’s not able to breathe properly. After the feeds, he would burp so loudly that the milk would come out through his mouth and nose.
Babies eating too much is probably a very good problem for a breastfeeding baby, in my opinion.
How to tell if you’re overfeeding your baby
An overfed baby is an uncomfortable baby. The baby can’t digest all of the breast milk properly and he may end up having an upset stomach.
There are two major signs of an overfeeding baby:
Ceiling breaking weight
If the baby’s weight is way above the charts, chances are he’s overfeeding. The healthy baby graph helps you see when your baby’s weight is above the healthy line.
If the baby’s folds are getting deeper and thighs thicker, you might be overfeeding him.
He’s always spitting up milk
Do you end up with more milk on the floor or your clothes every time he feeds? He could be taking in much more than his tummy can hold at a time.
Spitting up milk could be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) as well. Check with the pediatrician to rule out reflux. Babies with reflux mostly have projectile vomiting.
If reflux is ruled out, then he is most likely breaking the tummy banks in his feeds.
Reasons Your Baby Is Overfeeding
If your newborn won’t stop eating, it could be any of the following things happening.
He’s cluster feeding
Also called bunch feeding, this when your baby tends to feed more at certain times of the days. The baby will also sleep for longer after cluster feeding which means they are less active. If the baby is going through the cluster feeding phase, he will most likely be overfeeding which explains the longer sleep intervals.
He’s going through a growth spurt
Babies eating too much might also be going through a growth spurt. This is a point in your baby’s early life when they will grow more – they will add more weight and height.
The baby’s nutritional requirements increase during growth spurts. They, therefore, tend to eat much more and for longer than other times.
If you’re having a ravenous baby who is literally inhaling all the milk, don’t worry too much. He’s probably going through a growth spurt.
He’s nursing for comfort
Sometimes, an overfeeding baby will be putting in extra nursing hours because they need the comfort it brings. This can be due to factors such as teething, separation anxiety, or even sickness.
Do you remember what it felt like to have that molar sprouting? It’s itchy and somewhat painful. When the baby is teething, the gums are swollen and itchy. The baby may also feel a little feverish and sickly.
It’s not the baby, it’s you
Postpartum depression manifests in various ways. Over breastfeeding your baby is one of them. The emotional and mental instability makes it hard for the mother to cope with the pressures of life and motherhood.
The only way she’s able to cope with the baby’s cries is by feeding. The result is a baby who has the boob stuffed in his mouth all day to keep him from crying.
Postpartum depression may render a new mother forgetful. That it gets harder to concentrate doesn’t help things. An affected mother may use breastfeeding as comfort for herself. If you are still seeking answers to the question, can a breastfed baby overeat? maybe you need to consider whether the problem lies within you.
He just has a good appetite
Dealing with a poor feeder is every mother’s nightmares. My first baby was a poor feeder. He would not be on the breast for five minutes.
Everything I read seemed to suggest I nurse him for 10-15 minutes so that he gets enough hindmilk. Each read gave me an instant migraine. It felt like someone was asking me to cut a tree with a razor.
Enter my second baby. Any time was feeding time. He fed until I got dizzy but I was so grateful. And their weight and development proved that the over-feeder was overall better than the poor feeder.
Breastfeeding Tips For An Overfeeding Baby
Learn his “I’m full” cues
When his tummy is at the brim with milk, the baby will momentarily stop suckling and may even detach from the breast. Take this cue and pull the boob away. If he stays on longer, he may restart suckling.
Keep him upright after feeding
Chances of spitting up all his lunch are much higher when the stomach is full to the larynx. To prevent reflux, keep the baby upright for at least 10 minutes.
You can practice babywearing and take a walk as you soak in some vitamin D and give the milk time to settle in.
Get help with postpartum depression
If postpartum depression has you attached to your baby like a koala to a tree, you need to get help.
Taking care of a newborn is a massive responsibility that requires you to be on your best frame of mind.
Let someone take the baby out of your hands for a while and do something relaxing. It will also save the baby from drowning in breast milk.
Your Take Away
Can breastfed babies overeat? Yes. However, when it comes to newborn babies, feeding more is always better than feeding less.
A baby who is feeding well will also develop better immunity. They will also achieve their milestones faster and more easily.
The weight gained in infancy goes away when the baby starts getting more active.
And honestly, who doesn’t love a chubby baby.
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