Trying to figure out how much your baby should eat in the first year can sometimes feel like rocket science. Babies often have erratic sleeping and eating behaviors, leaving you clueless as to how much and how often both should occur. When babies are supplemented with bottles it can get even more complicated. because the milk has a steady flow from start to finish, unlike the breast which ebbs and flows in phases. Many mothers who bottle feed often wonder if they're over doing it. Thankfully, there are signs you're overfeeding your baby when supplementing that you can watch out for.
I supplemented my babies with formula, and it seemed I was always trying to figure out the mysterious perfect number of ounces to feed them. One day it would feel like I was feeding them too little and they were hungry just an hour after a feeding. Other days it would feel like I was giving them too much and they were turning away from the bottle every time I tried.
The good news is that it's pretty much impossible to over feed your baby. According to The Bump, babies have this great self-regulation system that makes them eat when they're hungry, and refuse when they're not. Additionally, the site noted that it's more dangerous to underfeed a baby, than overfeed one. Babies will often give visible cues that they're full by simply turning away from the nipple or bottle, or falling asleep. But those cues aren't always so easily recognizable. Here are seven signs to look for if you think you might be overfeeding your baby.
1. Your Baby Spits Up Frequently
This sign is a little tricky because sometimes babies can have reflux caused by something else. But according to The Bump, if you notice that your baby turned away from the bottle a few times during a feeding and then subsequently spit up that may be an indicator that the baby is taking in too much at one time.
2. Your Baby Is Really Fussy (And Often)
Just think about how you feel when you know you've overeaten. You feel bloated, your stomach might actually ache, and you just feel generally uncomfortable. It's the same for babies. If they have too much milk in their stomach, the New Kid Center website noted that babies will get fussy because they feel discomfort with an overfull belly. Any possible reflux will also cause them to not feel good. The site also said if you have a colicky baby overfeeding can make them even more agitated.
3. You Are Changing 8 Or More Heavily Wet Diapers Per Day
The elimination habits of babies will change constantly over the first year of life. According to Kelly Mom a good general guideline for determining if your child is getting enough milk is if your baby has four to five sopping wet diapers per day. This applies to all babies older than six weeks. If you're changing an upwards of eight fully soaked diapers a day it may be time to ask your pediatrician if that's normal for your baby.
4. You Are Changing Several Runny Poop Diapers
Part of analyzing the health of your baby is checking out the appearance of their poops. According to the Baby Center website, formula fed babies have pasty, peanut butter like poop. It can be yellow or green brown. If your formula fed baby has frequent, runny poop it may be a sign that they're being fed too much milk.
5. Your Baby Has Lots Of Gas
If your baby is burping or passing gas a lot it might be time to look more closely at their milk intake. The Baby Care And Advice website said if you are overfeeding your baby they can get lactose overload, which occurs when the baby is taking in too much lactose from too much milk and doesn't have enough enzymes in their stomach yet to break it all down. The baby isn't necessarily lactose intolerant, just unable to digest it all.
6. Your Baby Has A Hard Time Sleeping
Think about how often your sleep is disturbed if you drink a lot of liquids before bed. You're constantly waking up to go to the bathroom, or might feel really uncomfortable and have a hard time falling asleep. Same with babies. According to New Kid Center if your baby has poor sleep habits and is waking often, it may be time to look at how much they're eating.
7. Your Baby Is Gaining More Weight Than Average
Just like adults, if you're eating more food than your body needs you will gain weight. The difference between adults and babies is that babies need to gain a certain amount of weight regularly because they are growing. However, if a baby is taking in more calories than they are burning they will gain weight more rapidly according to the website Kids Spot.
Here's where depending on weight as a sign of overeating gets challenging. if your baby is spitting up from overeating they might actually end up losing weight, not gaining. Relying solely on your child's weight as an indication of overfeeding is not advised. But if your doctor notices your baby gaining weight rapidly and you observe some other signs of overeating it may be time to talk about ways to manage feedings better with your baby.
As a new parent you're bound to question everything including how much your baby is eating. Some babies might be super vocal and very obvious in their eating patterns, others not so much. Just remember you don't necessarily need to focus on the ounces and the numbers on the bottle you just need to focus on how your baby is acting. You know your baby best.