Figuring out how much milk to feed a baby can be one of the most confusing tasks of new motherhood. It can be especially difficult if you're exclusively breastfeeding, meaning, you can't actually see how much your baby is ingesting. Even if you're measuring milk or formula into a bottle and giving it to your baby, the amount they eat seemingly goes up and down with no rhyme or reason. It can feel like rocket science, to be honest. Undereating and overeating are often concerns for new moms. So what are the signs your baby is getting too much milk?
There are many stories floating around about moms who don't seem to make enough breast milk, but there are also moms that make too much. It may sound like a dream to anyone that's struggled with supply before, but Baby Center noted that oversupply, or hyperlactation, can be an issue too. It can cause the mom to experience pain in her breasts, engorgement, and can present feeding issues for the baby, like overeating.
Breastfed babies aren't the only ones that could be overfed — formula fed babies can experience the same issue. However you feed your baby know that any issues with feeding can be corrected with a little observation and diligence. Here are seven things you can look out for if you suspect your baby is eating too much.
1. They Spit Up Or Vomit A Lot
A baby that throws up their food a lot may be eating too much. As explained on What To Expect, overfeeding can lead to overflow. A baby's tummy simply can't handle overage, so it's bound to come right back up. Sometimes, as Kelly Mom noted the frequent spitting up could be caused by Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
(GERD), which is a more seirous condition. Call your medical provider if you see a lot of spit up or even projectile vomiting, so as to figure out the cause and best course of treatment.
2. They Cry After Feedings
All babies cry so this might be a hard one to evaluate, but just think of how you feel when you eat too much. You probably feel uncomfortable and in pain - same with babies. When babies feel discomfort from overeating they can't talk, so they cry, according to Very Well.
You can tell if your baby's cry is one of pain by listening and observing it's pitch, as explained on What To Expect. If it's an ear-piercing, shrieking cry that leaves the baby breathless, it's probably an indicator that your baby is in pain.
3. They Pull Their Legs Up To Their Abdomen
Very Well noted that if you see your baby pulling their legs up to their abdomen, it may be a sign they're overeating. Additionally, The Bump noted that stomach pains from gas, food allergies, and eating too much can cause a baby to pull their legs up even to as far as their chest. In rare cases, it could a more serious intestinal condition called intussusception. Either way, it's a good idea to take this symptom seriously, and bring it up to a doctor who can perform a thorough exam.
4. They Have Lots Of Wet Diapers
If you notice that your baby is having several wet and heavy diapers, that could indicate that they're overeating breast milk or formula according to Baby Center. The amount of wet and soiled diapers per day that your baby will have will vary as they grow. The New Kids Center website offers a table as a guideline if you're unsure about how many wet diapers your baby should have daily for their age.
5. They Gain Weight Rapidly
If your baby is packing on the pounds rapidly, it may be because they're eating too much. As advised on What To Expect, if you notice that your baby's weight is exponentially increasing faster than their height, it might be a good idea to bring this up to your doctor.
6. They Act Like They Have Colic
Colic can be pretty frustrating and mystifying mostly because the symptoms and behaviors mimic typical baby behavior. Overall, they're just more intense. If you notice your baby is crying for long periods of time, is inconsolable, or is clenching up their abdominal muscles and even their toes, it may be that they're distressed from over eating, and not necessarily exhibiting colic, according to Mayo Clinic. The symptoms of both overeating and colic are so similar it may be hard to discern between the two. If you're really unsure which it could be, you could always bring up your concerns to a doctor to see what they think and what the best course of action is.
7. They Eat Way More Ounces Than Average
This one is kind of hard to figure out if you're not bottle feeding, because you can't see the ounces your baby is consuming if you're straight feeding from the breast. For bottle-feeding mamas, if you notice that your baby is eating more ounces than recommended, they may be overeating. There is a guide on Very Well, that breaks down how much milk a baby should be ingesting in ounces, based on their age if you need guidance.
Of course, all babies are different and require varying amounts of breast milk and formula, so determining if your baby is overeating may be hard when you use standard measures. Being attuned to your baby's cues and behaviors will probably be your best guide in figuring out how much milk your baby should be consuming.