Can You Overfeed a Breastfed Baby? Know the Truth Behind the Myth
I once asked my friend when she mentioned that my baby seemed overweight. “Can you overfeed a breastfed baby?” She said yes especially if my baby keeps on gaining weight in just a short time.
I was not convinced by that claim, so I looked for answers about the matter. I do not want my baby ending up getting more than she can especially when it comes to her nourishment. Though I want to give her everything she needs, I want it to be just enough for her.
After my research, I had gathered several facts that helped me understand breastfeeding and the proper way to do it.
Benefits of Breastfeeding a Baby
Breastfeeding is when a mother feeds her baby through the breast. Milk coming from her breasts serves as the food nourishment of the baby thus helping him grow and develop. However, there is more to breastfeeding than just supplying milk.
One of the reasons for breastfeeding is to provide the infant with proper nutrition especially vitamins, protein, and antibodies. Breast milk includes antibacterial properties that fight off viruses in the body. It also helps in lowering the risk of allergies and infections.
Breastfeeding can also give comfort and reassurance to the baby. The skin-to-skin contact between you and your child creates a bond that is soothing for your baby. It also nourishes a loving relationship between the two of you.
There are also studies showing that breastfed babies have higher IQ scores in life. The fatty acids in the milk can help boost brain development.
Signs that Your Baby is Hungry
The perfect time to feed your baby is when she is hungry. But, how can you tell when is the right time to offer your milk to her?
Early Signs of a Hungry Baby
- Sucking her fingers or putting them in her mouth – She is looking for your breast to suck milk.
- Opening and closing of her mouth – You will see that she continually opens and closes her mouth, hoping to have something to suck on once opened.
Late Signs of a Hungry Baby
- Acting restless – When you see your child waking up from sleep and moving around all the time, it means, she is calling your attention for milk.
- Rooting for the breast – Touch the cheek or the lips of your baby and when she moves to the side and make a sucking motion, she is hungry for your milk.
- Crying – When your child starts to cry, it is best to calm her first before introducing the milk.
Signs That Your Baby is Full
Babies will love to suck on your breast not just for milk but also for the comforting feeling, which often rocks them to sleep. But, there are times when they are already full in the stomach without you knowing.
Know the signs that your baby is full so you can remove your breast and put her to sleep or in her crib.
- When your child starts to turn away from the nipple
- When she starts to fall asleep and pause sucking
- When she gets distracted by other things and turns her head to the sides
- When she is spitting out of the nipple
- When she stops sucking even if she is still latched to your breast.
How Often Should You Feed Your Baby
Ideally, a newborn baby must be breastfed 8 to 12 times a day on her first month. By the time they reach 1 to 2 months, they can be nursed 7 to 9 times a day.
Each session normally last 20 to 30 minutes, and mothers can drain one breast entirely. It will be more beneficial to the baby since the last of the mature milk is rich in calories and fats. However, bear in mind that your child will know when to stop feeding so watch for the signs as well.
Nursing intervals can be within 1 and half hours to 3 hours. You can feed more often or go hours within feedings but never go beyond 4 hours without feeding your baby.
Going Back to the Question…
So, can you overfeed a breastfed baby? Breast milk is different from formula milk, and they are easier to digest. Even if you feed your baby more breastmilk, she will be able to digest it easily and becomes hungrier more often.
There are also times when your baby seemed to be feeding off your breast but is not drinking more milk. Once she had enough, she will continue to latch on your breast for comfort, pain relief or even just for entertainment. She sucks less thus getting lesser milk than when feeding.
How to Know If Your Baby is Getting Enough Milk
Average Weight for Breastfed Babies
The weight of your baby will fluctuate within the first few weeks at about 5 to 7 percent. However, infants usually start to gain back their weight on their 10th day or after two weeks.
While babies who breastfeed takes 19 to 30 ounces per day, the average weight gain should be 5 to 7 ounces each week within the first three months. Then, it will drop to 4 to 5 ounces per week in the next 3 to 6 months. By the 9 to 12 months, your baby’s weight gain will be between 2 to 4 ounces every week.
However, you must understand that every baby is unique and may vary from each other. Though these are the average weight for breastfed babies, these are merely guidelines to put your basis on.
Tips on How to Properly Breastfeed Your Baby
Test out different breastfeeding positions and know which one works for you.
- Burp your baby properly after breastfeeding.
- Look for signs from your baby and not on the clock.
- Live a healthy lifestyle to produce good quality milk.
- Support your baby when feeding.
Breastfeeding your baby is a special activity that you will always cherish and remember as a parent. It forms a strong relationship between you and your baby that she can bring up to her childhood.
Keep in mind to work with your baby whenever it is breastfeeding time. Understand her needs so she can always get the best nourishment from you.
Was the article helpful to you? I would love to hear your thoughts about breastfeeding!