Overfeeding a breastfed baby can be dangerous. Here are some ways to stop caregivers from overfeeding your breastfed baby, and cues that you need to watch out for.
Nutrition in the first year of the baby’s life is essential for its progress and growth. The healthy habits set in the initial years of the baby’s life are set for life. However, it often becomes difficult for the caregivers to understand what the baby exactly needs.
Many infants possess different cues and evidence when they are hungry. This leads to overfeeding as the caregivers are confused about the child’s needs. Here you will learn how caregivers can stop overfeeding the baby, which won’t take away the child from the mother’s breast milk.
Why is It Important Not To Overfeed?
Feeding a baby is essential for its growth. We need to understand the quantity of milk that a child needs. Overfeeding can take a toll on your baby’s health. You should altogether avoid overfeeding since they may suffer from gastroesophageal reflux, and they might frequently vomit or spit the milk.
You can keep bottles of different sizes depending upon the baby’s requirement. You may ask the caregiver to wait before feeding the baby with a particular bottle. They can assess the baby’s mood and understand whether they are hungry or not.
When To Stop Overfeeding the Baby?
#1 Use The Milk Calculator
If the caregiver is confused about how much milk the baby will need per bottle, you can ask them to use the milk calculator. You can learn to calculate how much breast milk your baby should take at each feeding here.
By using the milk calculator, the caregivers get a clear picture of how much milk the baby will need. The quantity calculated may vary; however, it is highly advantageous for caregivers as they will not overfeed the baby. This prevents any bloating in the infants.
#2 Pay Attention To The Cues
For understanding whether you are overfeeding your baby or not, you need to pay attention to the cues.
You can explain to the caregiver about the cues that if the baby turns before the milk is not finished or before your regular nursing time is not up, they are full now. This can prevent overfeeding in infants.
#3 Promote Burping
Burping is a significant part of feeding a baby. You can ask your caregiver to burp your baby by gently patting the baby’s back repeatedly. Caregivers can try different positions for burping the baby to prevent overfeeding the child.
Here are the positions which caregivers can try while burping the baby:
- Holding the baby sitting up across the knees
- Lay the baby on your lap on the side of the belly
- Try to sit upright and try to hold the baby against the chest
Burping prevents the baby from swallowing the air during the feeding. Swallowing excessive air can make the baby gassy or irritative. Due to the irritation, you may overfeed the baby, resulting in more problems for the kids. Thus burping is essential after feeding the baby every 10-15 minutes to avoid colic, spitting, GERD, and overfeeding.
#4 Take Breaks
You can ask your caregiver to feed the baby and then take a break for at least 1 to 2 minutes, as some babies do not have a regular and predictable feeding schedule. Thus, it is essential to take breaks.
Taking breaks will help caregivers to understand whether the baby is still hungry or not. This is an effective way to prevent overfeeding in infants.
#5 Stop When The Baby Starts Spitting
Babies start to spit up when overfed and drink the milk too quickly. Overfeeding can result in vomiting, and the baby can start spitting.
Ask your caregiver to see if the baby is playing and is energetic after drinking the formula milk. If the baby is not crying or irritated, then it is full. This can prevent overfeeding and spitting in the babies.
#6 Try Different Soothing Techniques
You can ask the caregiver to try out different soothing techniques once the baby has taken the bottle. The caregiver can try different soothing techniques like swaying, rocking, and going for a walk.
Sometimes, the caregiver can also sing their favorite nursery rhyme to soothe them rather than offering them an extra bottle of breast milk. Looking for signs to see if the child is hungry helps know when feeding is needed.
#7 Preserve Breastmilk
You can keep some extra breast milk bags in the freezer or fridge. You can preserve 1oz of milk in the refrigerator. This will help the caregiver if they want to offer the baby a little more later instead of overfeeding them.
#8 Ask To Reuse The Breast Milk
You may ask your caregiver to reuse the breast milk. Although, there is no proper research about the time to reuse breastmilk, but lactation consultants believe that if one bottle of breastmilk isn’t finished, it is acceptable to place it back in the fridge and use it within 4 hours.
#9 Premake The Milk
Try to prepare the milk in small quantities. Try to make 3oz bottles so that the caregivers don’t need to divide the quantity of 6oz bottles separately.
#10 Have An Open Discussion
Try to have an open discussion with the baby’s caregiver. Let the caregiver understand how the baby reacts when comfortable and happy. Show empathy and explain to them to read about the baby’s cues and how you soothe your baby.
Explain how much milk the baby truly needs and when the baby wants the milk. Tell the caregiver about the unique ways rather than just providing more breastmilk in the bottle.
What Leads To Overfeeding A Baby?
There are some circumstances where you might overfeed the baby.
Difficulty with bottle
When babies drink the milk from the bottle, they cannot control the amount of milk they consume in each gulp. Many parents want the baby to finish the entire bottle, regardless of the fullness or hunger.
Instead of forcing the baby to control the entire bottle of milk, allow them to dictate their natural feelings and needs.
Have improper eating expectations
Many parents expect that their baby needs to eat a specific portion to grow correctly. They want them to achieve a particular target of at least 6 to 7 ounces or XYZ ounces per pound of the body weight.
Children grow at different speeds. As long as your doctor is satisfied with the growth of your child, fixing a particular amount of weight or growth goals may lead to ignoring the signs of satisfaction and fullness.
Have normal weight expectations
Many parents worry about their weight gain when babies lack in the growth chart. This may encourage excessive feeding to the babies to catch up, which can lead to overfeeding, and they may put on weight at different rates.
Many parents predict the waking and crying of the child as hunger cues. They offer more food to calm down the baby. However, this behavior can indicate hunger, but babies often get irritated due to various other reasons.
Answers to More Questions About Feeding Your Baby
How can I stop my baby from being overfed?
You can stop your baby from being overfed by looking at the fullness cues the child gives.
The factors that can prevent overfeeding in babies include :
Breastfeeding: Several pediatricians suggest breastfeeding as the best way to prevent overfeeding in babies. It is because the flow of the milk from the nipple is not continuous as it is from the bottle. This will prevent your baby from overfeeding. But make sure you don’t let the baby feed for a longer duration.
Feeding intervals: Planning and maintaining the feeding intervals play a crucial role in preventing the babies from overfeeding.
Hold up for hunger indications: When the baby is hungry, they will give an indication from the mouth or hold the nipple. Feed them when they show such signs and not before. This will prevent them from overfeeding.
Why is it possible to overfeed a breastfed baby?
Babies have small tummies, which fill faster, and milk is more liquid than solid tends to digest quickly. Hence babies become hungry faster.
And when the baby is entirely dependent on the mother’s milk for some time, it becomes hard to measure the amount of milk that goes inside the baby’s body. It is not very difficult to overfeed babies.
If your baby is healthy and blooming or regularly spitting up, it is still possible to overfeed them.
How do you know if your breastfed baby is overfeeding?
If your baby is not ready to let go of the nipples, it can indicate that the baby is overfeeding. To know this, you need to take them off the breast.
If you notice your baby is slurping or swallowing the milk quickly, spitting up after breastfeeding, getting irritated, or gas is forming in their body. In that case, these are also some indications that you are overfeeding a breastfed baby, which is overall miserable.
Can you overfeed breastfed baby expressed milk?
Yes, you can overfeed a baby with expressed milk. There are a few common causes that lead to overfeeding of a breastfed baby. They are:
1. The parent might overestimate the amount of milk
2. The baby’s age
3. Little effort and energy is required to express feed the newborn
4. Use of fast flow bottles
5. Baby’s inadvertent need to suck
6. An imbalance in express milk
What happens if we overfeed a baby?
Overfeeding a baby can result in discomfort as the baby cannot digest all the breast milk or milk formula adequately. When a baby is overfeeding, it may swallow air, producing gas. This leads to increased discomfort in the stomach. This leads to irritation, and thus the baby starts crying.
Can comfort nursing lead to overfeeding?
This myth sustains that nursing mothers cannot overfeed their babies; however, this isn’t true in all circumstances. If the baby is healthy and playing happily, it is not overfeeding.
Why does my baby not seem satisfied after breastfeeding?
One of the reasons babies do not seem satisfied after breastfeeding is that they have tiny stomachs and smaller immature digestive systems.
Due to this, they keep regularly asking for more milk.
Another reason can sometimes be a baby may still be hungry because he wasn’t appropriately attached to your breast, so he didn’t get a full feed. Also, sometimes it may so happen that you don’t produce enough milk necessary for the baby to keep him/her full.
How do I know if the baby is still hungry after breastfeeding?
By understanding the following signs, you will know if your baby needs more milk or not.
1. When they open their mouths continuously to suck something.
2. When they become fussy or irritated.
3. When they move their heads from side to side.
4. When they are sticking out their tongues.
5. When they start sucking whatever they find and are looking for your breast.
6. When they put their hand into their mouth.
A Few Final Words
Many times babies overfeed, and this results in colic and different problems. They may vomit and spit up the whole milk. It is essential to understand the several ways to prevent overfeeding. You need to explain to the caregivers all the necessary cues and ways to take care of the baby.
In this article today, we have discussed how caregivers can prevent overfeeding babies.
We hope we were able to provide all the information you needed. You can give your suggestions, queries, and comments in the comments box below.
Lastly, don’t forget to share this article with others who may be wondering what they are doing wrong! So many new mothers are always confused about how and what they should or should not be doing: let’s try to help remove that confusion for them a bit!