Most moms worry about their baby not getting enough to eat, but some may actually wonder if they are overdoing it. We consume too much time fussing over whether the baby is receiving adequate formula or breast milk—and for new moms, it can be difficult to tell what’s actually enough. Many moms may try to persuade the baby to finish their bottle or worry if baby isn’t feeding enough when really, the baby just had their fill. So, can you overfeed a breastfed baby with a bottle? Read on to learn if you are overfeeding your baby, the signs to look out for and what to do.
Can You Overfeed Your Baby?
If you’re still concerned about the issue, ‘can you overfeed a breastfed baby with a bottle,’ you can now probably breathe a sigh of relief. Overfeeding a baby is practically impossible, and most of your anxiety over babies’ food intake and appearance is unnecessary.
You may not know that babies come with an amazingly sophisticated self-regulation system: this means that when they’re hungry, they will eat, and when they’re full, they simply stop feeding. So, when babies turn away from the breast or the bottle and refuse to consider another nip, chances are, they’re already full. But, when your baby keeps coming back for more, that’s a sign that they’re starving (even if they just consumed a full six ounces).
Why Overfeeding a Breastfed Baby is Impossible
Here are some answers to, ‘can you overfeed a breastfed baby with a bottle’.
- It demands a lot of hard work for your baby to breastfeed. Science explains that a baby uses 40 different facial muscles when they are breastfeeding. In short, if a baby doesn’t need food, hydration, pain relief, comfort, or extra nourishment for fighting sickness, or does not require some distraction due to boredom or anxiety, they simply won’t breastfeed!
- Babies breastfeed for a lot of reasons. They breastfeed for hunger, thirst, comfort, illness protection, entertainment, pain relief, and a lot more. It is the biological standard for babies to breastfeed for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. From a biological perspective, it is not reasonable to have what is common behavior of a breastfed child to cause obesity, fast weight gain, and growth.
- Between three to twelve months, the breastfed baby’s growth slows down a little compared to a formula-fed baby of the same age. During the first three months, breastfed babies will grow more rapidly than formula-fed babies. This slower growth shows just how false this assumption is of “overfeeding” your breastfed baby. It is formula-fed babies who see a more rapid growth between these months, not breastfed babies.
- If you pay close attention to how your baby is breastfeeding, you will notice how they’ll change the “suck, suck, swallow or suck, swallow, suck, swallow” patterns when feeding. After feeding for some time and have fallen asleep, most moms notice that their baby starts to swallow less milk and mostly suck. Although mom’s breasts are never empty, there are times during breastfeeding where your baby will get much less milk.
Can Overfeeding Still Happen?
The question still remains, can you overfeed a breastfed baby with a bottle? Overfeeding your baby may be very rare, but it can happen. It’s more common in bottle-fed babies, only because it’s easier for parents to notice how much food their baby is consuming. It also does take less effort to feed on a bottle, so your baby (who loves to suck) may involuntarily get too much milk while feeding.
Signs of Overfeeding Baby
The good news is, since you will likely be visiting a pediatrician frequently in the first few months, you can track your baby’s weight gain and feeding patterns. But don’t rely on your baby’s weight as an indicator of whether or not you’re overfeeding your baby. Spitting up milk could be a sign you’ve forced your baby to take in extra food. For instance, if the baby spits up after consuming a bottle that you kept giving after they turned away. But more often than not, a baby’s spitting up is a common infant reaction or reflux.
If you’re worried that your baby is overfed for their age or has signs of vomiting, your pediatrician might suggest restricting the amount of your baby’s feeding or how many times they should be feed.
What to do to Avoid Overfeeding your Baby?
If you learn that you have been overfeeding your baby, make it a point to respect your child’s feeding cues. If your baby turns away before their bottle is finished or your typical nursing time is up, admit that they aren’t hungry. Don’t focus too much on numbers. It does not matter how many ounces your baby can finish each feeding. What matters most is that your baby is healthy and happy.
So, can you overfeed a breastfed baby with a bottle? The short answer is no. The best thing you can do for your little one is to let them nurse. Babies have cues during feeding, that will indicate how hungry they are or how full they are. Their cues could signify that they need something, whether it’s food or comfort, or pain relief. Just pay close attention to these cues to help properly feed adequate nutrition and give comfort to your little one. Know more about breastfeeding.