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Overfeeding a newborn is one of the most common issues that new mothers face. Although it is important to feed the baby every few hours, overfeeding them should be avoided , as there are a few risks attached to it.
One of the most asked questions that new mothers have is “am I overfeeding my newborn?” In this article, let’s briefly look into it along with all the risks and signs every new parent needs to know about overfeeding a baby.
Causes of Overfeeding a Newborn
There are quite a few causes of overfeeding a newborn:
1. Baby drinking more milk: Babies less than 12 weeks old are not aware of the amount of milk that is required to fill their tummies. They sometimes tend to drink way more milk than their requirements.
2. Baby’s habit: Some babies are used to taking a feed while falling asleep. Since they are on the verge of sleeping, they tend to suck more milk and drink more than their requirements; they are being overfed.
3. Overfeeding: We understand how difficult it must be for a mother to know if and when the baby’s tummy is full or when to actually feed them.
Most mothers doubt themselves for not having milk and tend to feed the baby very often. This results in overfeeding the baby.
4. Not taking the signs: babies over 12 weeks of age start showing cues and signs to communicate. It may be hand signs or crying.
Sometimes, the babies cry just for comfort, but mothers misinterpret that for hunger and feed the baby, which results in overfeeding.
5. Wrong nipple size: For bottlefed babies, the nipple size of the bottle they take the feed is really important as they decide the amount of milk and how fast the milk comes out of the bottle. If the nipple size is too large, it might cause overfeeding.
6. Society’s pressure: As a mother of a newborn, one might be receiving a lot of advice that is mostly mythical or just society’s pressure in disguise.
As the mothers are often advised to feed the baby every few hours, they feed the baby even if the baby shows signs and cues that they are full, resulting in overfeeding the baby.
Am I overfeeding my newborn?
Another important question that new moms have is: how do I know if I am overfeeding my newborn?
There are few overfeeding newborn signs to look into while feeding a newborn:
1. Crankiness: When the baby is overfed, the intestines and the entire digestive system need to do a lot of work, which makes the baby more cranky.
2. Difference in the baby’s poop: When overfeeding a baby, the intestines cannot process and digest the entire milk, making the baby’s poop extremely smelly. Some babies can even have excessive farts, liquified pooping, etc.
3. Excessive regurgitation: When there is too much milk in the baby’s stomach, the digestive system cannot process it all, and it comes out as regurgitation.
Although it is normal for babies to regurgitate milk every now and then, excessive regurgitation isn’t. If the baby spits up a lot more milk than usual, it could be due to overfeeding.
4. Less activity: If the baby is being sleepy and is having little to no activity throughout the day, it could be a sign of overfeeding. Even adults feel so full and slothful after having heavy meals. It is the same with babies, too.
5. Less sleep: Although not all babies are able to sleep through the night without awakening, overfeeding them may be the cause of less sleep. The milk can’t be properly digested when the baby is overfed which keeps them awake.
6. Frequent diaper changes: If the frequency of changing the diapers is more due to excessive pooping and peeing, overfeeding them could be one of the main reasons for it. Excessive feeding leads to excessive pooping and peeing.
Risks of overfeeding a newborn
1. Obesity: The first and foremost risk of overfeeding a newborn is obesity. Although it is important to maintain a healthy weight for the baby, it is equally important for them not to be obese, as it is accompanied by a lot of other diseases.
2. Slow growth: The slowdown in achieving milestones could be another major disadvantage of an overfed baby.
3. Little to no activity: When overfeeding a newborn, the baby does not tend to indulge in a lot of activity as their tummy is always full, which is definitely not healthy for the baby at all.
It is important to strike a balance between underfeeding and overfeeding a newborn. Some babies need more milk than others, and some babies need less milk than others, as every baby is different.
Look for the signs the baby gives when they are hungry, and make sure to not overfeed them. Consult with a pediatrician and seek help from them.
1. How do I avoid overfeeding my newborn?
- Tips to avoid overfeeding a newborn:
- Follow signs from the baby.
- Do not feed them every time they cry.
- Note the timing of the feed.
- Use the right nipple size for bottle fed babies.
2. Will newborns overfeed themselves?
Yes, sometimes when a baby is too hungry or drinks milk in a hurry, they might end up overfeeding them.
3. Is my baby hungry or overfeeding?
To know whether your baby is hungry or just overfeeding:
- If the feed time is longer than usual, there are chances of overfeeding.
- Do not feed the baby every time it cries. Sometimes the baby could cry for reasons other than hunger, like discomfort from diapers, wanting to be carried, or sleepiness.
- Follow the cues the baby shows when it is hungry.
4. Why is my newborn still hungry after feeding?
The milk requirement increases as the baby grows older. If the baby is drinking more milk than usual, it is a sign that the baby is growing and the amount of milk it requires is greater than usual.
5. Is a 10-minute feed long enough for a newborn?
When feeding a newborn, it is important to give them at least 20 minutes. but as the baby grows older, the feed timings can change as they learn to suck more milk in less time.