Most moms will tell you that it’s not possible to overfeed a breastfed baby. However, there can be times when you start to panic because your baby is having some colicky symptoms when you’re breastfeeding them! Or, they could have spit-up pretty badly after you fed them. Sometimes, you also end up wondering whether you’ve fed your baby too much or too little.
There are so many questions regarding breastfeeding. In this article, we are going to clear some facts and claims on breastfeeding with regards to the fear of overfeeding.
Can You Really Overfeed a Breastfed Baby?
The short answer is no – you technically can’t overfeed a breastfed baby. The long answer would be the following reasons:
1. Breastfeeding is a normal baby instinct. Nursing your baby is quite natural because your baby will need them not just to fill up their tummies. Breast milk could also help them get away from illnesses due to the health benefits given by your own formula.
What’s more, breastfeeding can be seen as a comforting activity and a form of bonding between you and your little one. They could even do this for pain relief or when they are bored. Babies don’t really suck your nipples only because they’re hungry.
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2. Sucking milk actually takes a lot of effort. Compared to sucking from a baby bottle, your little one needs to work hard in order to suck up all your internal juices (and by that, we mean your breast milk) so it’s very less likely to overfeed your little one. After all, the holes on your nipple and the supply system inside your breasts aren’t anything like a baby bottle filled with infant formula.
3. Your baby will eventually grow up fast. With this fact, you can actually feel rest assured because your baby will have more room in their tummy for more breast milk if it keeps on coming. Did you know that babies do grow fast during the first 3 months of their life?
4. They don’t suck milk in all the same patterns. Babies will change patterns when they feed from your breasts, which means that there are times they could actually get less milk from your system. Sometimes, their sucking is just a reflex. If they can’t get milk out of your body, they’ll probably just give up soon!
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5. Real nipples have the slowest flow. Even if there are nipples out there that mimic breastfeeding, they can’t really compare to the real nipple from the mom’s breasts. When you do introduce them to baby bottles, they will less likely feed on your milk and they will actually have more tendency to be overfed because of the flow rate.
Therefore, babies who are formula-fed are more likely to get obese than those that are fed with breast milk. There’s also the difficulty in getting the right amount of water with the formula, so that could also compromise your baby’s nutrition with formula feeding.
6. Falling asleep while breastfeeding is not a problem for your little one. This is because of the slow flow of your nipples, as compared to baby bottles. It could be fatal to your child if they are overfed with baby formula from their bottle as compared to just going for breast milk from your nipples. After all, most babies just need something to suck on, so they can fall asleep, not necessarily to feed themselves with.
What to Do During Milk Spit-up
There are specific instances where you might mistake a spit-up as overfeeding, when in fact, it’s just probably a wrong way of feeding your baby. When this happens, you may want to try the following:
1. Lay flat on your back while breastfeeding. If you find that your nipple flows are too strong and may be causing spit-ups, you can lay down on your back so that gravity pulls the flow back and making it slower. This can make it easier for your baby to suck out milk without making it too much.
2. Try feeding both sides. Switch from the left to the right to allow both of them to be completely drained. It could take days for you to get used to it, but it can help to reduce the likelihood of spit-ups.
3. Try hand expressing at first let-down. This could be a sure-fire way to prevent sudden milk spit-up or splattering in your baby’s face. By hand expressing for the first let-down, this can slow down the rest of the flow so that your baby can gulp it down easier and steadier.
As a whole, when you think that you’re breastfeeding your baby too much, it’s probably just spit-up. After all, very little breast milk could be taken by your little one from your nipples as compared to being fed in a baby bottle. We hope you find our article informative in your nursing journey!