“Can you overfeed a breastfed baby?”
No, you cannot overfeed a breastfed baby…why do I say this?
1. Your baby will nurse when he needs comfort and nurse when he is hungry…both of these needs should be met. (read about comfort breastfeeding)
2. Weight of a baby has a lot to do with genetics
3. Breastfeeding protects baby against adult obesity
4. Baby will start to lose weight when he begins to move around, so you could see the extra fat stores as extra energy reserves.
5. Limiting baby’s feeds can limit his growth and brain development
Other reasons why baby might be breastfeeding more than usual
- Oversupply ~ If baby is breastfeeding a lot and then afterward becomes very gassy , fussy and starts spitting up a lot you might have an oversupply of breast milk. This means that you will need to start letting baby finish one breast before offering the other…in this way 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 on foremilk and hindmilk imbalance
- Growth Spurts ~ Another reason why baby might be drinking more than usual could be because he is going through a growth spurt
- Acid reflux ~ This can also cause baby to drink more than usual because baby is trying to calm the pain by drinking more...which escalates the problem even further
- Mom might be misinterpreting why baby is crying… other reasons why 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 ~
Moms should exclusively breastfeed until six months, then only start adding foods to baby’s diet. Giving baby any other foods or drink before six months is unnecessary and can cause the extra weight gain.
How often should I breastfeed?
“how much should a newborn eat?”
Moms should breastfeed on demand “whenever baby wants to”. When breastfeeding on demand, baby usually feeds every 2 – 3 hours, but some babies might even 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) and this is why baby will need to drink more frequently.
After a few weeks, mom’s milk supply will be more adequate and baby will have learned how to nurse more aggressively…which means longer periods between feedings.
Formula fed babies “overfeeding formula”
Formula fed babies will usually drink between 2 – 3 ounces of formula per feed, by six months of age the amount should increase to approximately 6 – 8 ounces, but frequency of feeds usually drops to 4 – 5 times per day.
If baby is drinking formula more often than five times per day after about five months then it is time to start adding solids to his 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 baby needs.
If baby is not picking up weight due to a low milk supply, mom can supplement with formula and use an SNS, this is a device that can be attached to your breast with a little pipe…the formula comes out the pipe and encourages baby to suck…increasing mom's own milk supply. Video on using an SNS.
Overfeed a breastfed baby
~ Interesting fact ~
Normal breastfeeding baby weight gains 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
- Breastfeed for as long as you can. It is recommended to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months and then continue solids and breastfeeding for another six months.
- Avoid solid foods until baby is 6 months of age
- After six months, you should offer the breast first and then the solids, this is so that baby gets most of his calories and vitamins from the best source first.
- Never force your child to eat, let him eat when he is hungry. Read more on how to know if your baby is hungry
- Make sure baby is getting in enough exercise playing and moving about.
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