Can You Overfeed a Breastfed Baby?


You Cannot overfeed a Breastfed Baby, why do I say this?

1. Your baby will nurse when he/she needs comfort, and will nurse when he/she is hungry; both of these needs should be met.

Read about comfort nursing.

2. The weight of a baby has a lot to do with genetics.

3. Breastfeeding protects your baby against adult obesity.

4. Baby will start to lose weight, when he/she begins to move around, so you could see the extra fat stores, as extra energy reserves.

5. Limiting your baby’s feeds, will limit growth and brain development.


Reasons why your Baby is Feeding more often than Usual

Other reasons why Baby might be breastfeeding more than usual

- Oversupply: If your baby is breastfeeding a lot, and then afterward becomes very gassy, fussy and/or starts spitting up a lot, you might have an oversupply of breast milk.

This means that you will need to start allowing your baby to drain one breast as much as possible, before offering the other. In this way, your baby will be receiving the substantial hind milk too, instead of just watery fore-milk, which causes the cramps and/or gas. With the next feeding, you can start with the opposite breast.

Read more about foremilk and hindmilk imbalance

- Growth Spurts: Another reason why your baby might be drinking more than usual, could be because he/she is going through a growth spurt.

- Acid reflux: This can also cause your baby to drink more than usual. Your baby might drink more, in an effort to subside the pain, this in turn, escalates the problem even further.

- Mom might be misinterpreting why her baby is crying…

Read other reasons, why your baby might be crying.

- Baby is comfort nursing.

- Rare reasons: Heart failure, renal anomalies, and/or endocrine disorders, which make continued breastfeeding even more essential.

Overfeed a breastfed baby

Interesting fact

A mother should exclusively breastfeed, until six months, then only should she start adding foods to her baby’s diet. Giving your baby any other foods or drink before six months, is unnecessary and can cause excessive weight gain in Baby.


Overfeed a Breastfed Baby
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How Much Should a Newborn Eat?

How often should I breastfeed?

A mother should breastfeed on demand “whenever Baby wants to”. When breastfeeding on demand, a baby will usually feed every 2 – 3 hours, but some babies might breastfeed every hour for the first few weeks. Most feedings range between 15 – 30 minutes.

Breast milk is digested very easily, much faster than formula; this is why your baby will need to drink frequently.

Read more about breastfed babies and their bowel movements

After a few weeks, Mom’s milk supply will be more adequate, and Baby will have acquired the skill of breastfeeding aggressively, which means longer time periods between feedings.


Overfeeding Formula?

Formula fed babies

Formula fed babies, will usually drink between 2 – 3 ounces of formula per feed, by six months of age, the amount should have increase to approximately 6 – 8 ounces. Frequency of feeding usually drops to 4 – 5 times per day.

If your baby is drinking formula more often than five times per day after about five months, then it is time to start adding solids to the diet.


Do I Need to Give Baby Anything Else to Drink?

Babies who are exclusively breastfed, do not need any water or other liquids. Your breast milk, has all the water and nutrients that your baby needs.

If your baby is not picking up weight, due to a low milk supply, your can supplement with donor breast milk or formula, and use an SNS.

An SNS, is a device that can be attached to your breast with a little pipe; the milk flows out of the pipe, and encourages a baby to suck, therefore, increasing a mother's own milk supply.

Video on using an SNS.


Overfeed a Breastfed Baby?

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Normal Weight gain

Breastfeeding baby weight gains, that are normal during the first year…

• 4-7 ounces (between 112-200g) per week for the first month. 

• 1-2 pounds (1/2 to 1kg) per month for the first six months. 

• 1 pound (1/2 kg) per month from six months to a year. 


Preventing Obesity

- Breastfeed for as long as you can. It is recommended to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, and then continue solids while breastfeeding, for another six months.

- Avoid solid foods until your baby is 6 months of age.

- After six months, you should offer the breast first and then the solids, this is so that your baby gets most of his/her calories and vitamins from the best source first.

- Never force your child to eat, let your little one eat when he/she is hungry.

Read more about hunger cues.

- Make sure that your baby is playing and moving around.

Read more about weaning here.




Other pages on “breastfeeding problems” in connection with overfeeding a breastfed baby

- Calming baby.

Cluster feeding.

- Baby breastfeeding too much? Comfort nursing.

- Overfeeding baby on lactose & lactose intolerance.

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