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Thread: Am I overfeeding her?!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    35

    Default Am I overfeeding her?!

    My little girl is a week old today, and I'm exclusively breastfeeding her. I'm trying to feed on demand, but I'm really starting to doubt myself today. Since she woke up this morning she's had a bloated, tight belly and has been spitting up large amounts after feedings. It's happened a few times, and it's a little scary - its like a fountain! And it usually happens after she's just finished a large feeding (like when she takes the 2nd breast; usually she'll only take one in a feeding). My husband thinks I'm over feeding her. At least 4 times today when he sees me feeding her he'll say, "you're feeding her again?!". It's really confusing to me, because I've always heard you can't over feed a breastfed baby, and to limit feedings is really bad. But it sure seems like she's taking more milk than she can hold in! I'm wondering if my milk supply is just too much for her, like she wants to comfort suck but is getting more milk than she wanted. I just dont know what to do here, whose advice do I follow? I don't want to limit her feedings and risk ruining my supply or hindering her weight gain, but she seems so uncomfortable right now! I'd really appreciate some advice, I'm really new at this and I want it to work so bad! I'm afraid if one little thing goes wrong everyone's just going to tell me to give up. I could sure use some encouragement!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    399

    Default Re: Am I overfeeding her?!

    I really don't think you can overfeed a breastfed baby, but I also don't remember my son ever getting a bloated tight belly either. When she spits up, is there any bile (yellow or green liquid) in it? That can be a sign of issues. Have you talked to your doctor/MW? Does the bloating go away? Is she having normal poops/wet diapers? The fact that her belly seems tight is a little worrisome to me, and may be worth her checked out with a doctor. Probably everything is fine, but that is one symptom I don't hear of a lot. Other people may have different experiences and I'm sure they'll chime in.
    Ellen

    Mama-surgeon;
    DS Ethan 12/16/2008
    Breast fed/pumped 11 months as a surgical resident, 80 hours a week at work
    DS Abram Daniel 12/20/2012
    Feel like we've gotten a strong start

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    35

    Default Re: Am I overfeeding her?!

    I haven't talked with her doctor about it yet. We had her first appointment yesterday and he said she looked perfectly healthy, and she didnt start spitting up like this until that evening. She's already back at birth weight (which he normally wouldn't expect until 2 weeks old), and is having lots of poopy and wet diapers. I haven't seen any bile/colored liquid in her spit up, it seems like pure milk - not curdled or anything. Her belly does seem tighter after a feeding, then after a spit up or poop it softens up a bit.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    20,847

    Default Re: Am I overfeeding her?!

    You can't overfeed a breastfed baby, because you aren't in charge of the feeding. The baby is. And when she transitions from suckling eagerly for food to suckling lazily for pleasure, milk flow generally slows way down or even stops, transforming the breast from a food delivery system to a the original pacifier. Breastfed babies rapidly learn to read their own satiation cues and alter their sucking style once they feel themselves getting full.

    This is totally different from the way bottle-fed babies eat. First of all, bottle-fed babies are not in charge of the feeding, the adult at the other end of the bottle is. Even the most sensitive bottle-feeding parent will find him/herself tipping the bottle up to get baby to hurry the feeding along or to finish the last little bit in the bottle (which the baby may not in fact want or need). And bottles deliver a rapid flow of milk regardless of whether or not the baby is sucking eagerly for food or lazily for comfort. This means that it is quite common for a baby to overeat when feeding from a bottle.

    Because bottle-fed babies often overeat, they tend to go longer between feedings than breastfed ones. Let your DH know that frequent feedings are NORMAL for human infants. It's the widely spaced feedings of bottle-fed babies that are actually unusual! Also, formula-fed babies tend to go longer between feedings because formula digests slower (not better, just slower) than breastmilk. Breastmilk digests fast, in only 90 minutes or so, and infant tummies are tiny- so nursing every 1-2 hours or even more frequently is quite common.

    Spit-up and gas are also very normal aspects of infancy. As long as baby is gaining adequate weight and spit-up is produced without evidence of pain, it's a laundry problem and not a health problem. A tight belly after nursing is also pretty common- remember, your baby is still really scrawny, relative to what she will become. Once she has a bit more body fat, you won't be able to feel the difference bwteen a full and empty tummy quite as easily.

    That being said, many moms overproduce milk in the first few weeks/months of breastfeeding. It's nature's way of ensuring that the new baby gets fed while she masters the tricky art of nursing. When a mom is overproducing, it's common for a baby to feed on only one breast per feeding, and spit-ups may be copious. You may observe some or all of the following:
    - Frequent feelings of engorgement or fullness
    - Baby chokes, coughs, gags, splutters, or makes a clicking or clucking sound while nursing
    - Baby may pull off the breast while nursing
    - If baby pulls off the breast, you may observe milk squirting or streaming from the breast (my LO used to get a milk facial, which she hated!)
    - If mom is pumping (which she shouldn't be), she may get multiple oz of milk with ease
    - Baby's poops may be frequently or consistently green
    - Baby may gain weight at a faster-than-average rate
    If you have a bunch of the above symptoms, there are thing you can do to manage them, starting with adopting reclined positions while nursing (to slow the milk flow). Just let us know, and we'll help you through it!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Ontario, Canada
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    Default Re: Am I overfeeding her?!

    Newborns feed every 2 - 3 hours, timed from when they began nursing. So you start at 1pm, it takes in the neighbourhood of 45 minutes, it's now 1:45pm. It's quite possible that she'll be asking you to feed again in 1 hr, 15 min, so 3pm. It really does feel like you didn't get a break. To those watching, it looks like you're constantly nursing.

    The reality is that you cannot overfeed your baby. They only take what they want, they regulate the flow. Breast milk digests very quickly because it's exactly what they need, it's tailored to them. If they want milk, they'll get it, if they just want to comfort nurse, they adjust so that the flow stops. It's completely up to them.

    What I can recommend is that you try burping a few minutes into the nursing session and in between switching sides (if you're doing both sides during each nursing session). For most that will help to cut back on the spit up.
    Mommy to our DD1 early bird (34 weeks, 2 days, 7lbs, 14oz)! Oct. 2nd, 2008 Emergency C-Section, Frank Breech, HEALTHY Girl!
    Weaned @ 17 months
    Our DD2 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 12oz) Aug. 10th, 2010 Our Successful VBAC, growing like a bad weed!
    Weaned @ 15 months
    Our DD3 early bird (37 weeks, 3 days, 7lbs, 6oz) Feb. 16th, 2012 Our 2nd VBAC and lightening speedy birth!

    Loving being a Mom of 3, 40 months apart!!
    and

  6. #6
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    Jan 2012
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    Default Re: Am I overfeeding her?!

    ...so should I unlatch her after a few minutes to burp, then re-latch? I already burp between sides, but most of the time she only takes one side anyway.

  7. #7
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    May 2006
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    Default Re: Am I overfeeding her?!

    Couldn't hurt, might help. Try it and see!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  8. #8
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Am I overfeeding her?!

    Newborns feed every 2 - 3 hours, timed from when they began nursing.
    I agree that if one is timing in between feedings, you want to time from the start of each feeding.
    But a young baby may want to nurse with an incredible frequency, more than once every hour part of the day, and take a longer stretch here and there, and this also is perfectly normal.

    The only reason I am mentioning this is that I think that sometimes when a mom hears "Newborns feed every 2 - 3 hours" she may very well panic if, for example, her baby nurses for, say, 30 minutes, takes a short snooze, and then wants a top off again 10 or 15 minutes later, which would actually be entirely normal but even with the start of feeding timing would mean baby wanted to nurse twice in 45 minutes! I usually suggest moms not worry in terms of how short a time it has been since the last feeding, and rather to look at if a baby has nursed frequently enough overall throughout the day. (Besides also looking at weight gain and output of course to be sure baby is getting enough.) It may just be semantics but I just wanted to drop the idea in here. So many moms are concerned they are nursing their brand new baby too often or that their baby cues to nurse too often, when of course there really is no such thing as “too often.”

    Rather I would say, a newborn needs to nurse a minimum of 10-12 times a 24 hour day. If baby is waking enough to cue feed this much, it can be in any pattern baby chooses.

    For koux: spitup is not a health issue as long as baby is healthy and gaining well and it sounds as if yours certainly is. Spitup, even lots of spitup, is usually just a normal part of being a baby. And babies can be uncomfortable for many reasons-remember her digestive system is and feels very new, up to a week ago she had never pooped even once! I agree forceful letdown may be increasing the spitups or baby's discomfort, but even in that case, you want to keep nursing with great frequency. Also nursing in a more "laid back" (baby on top of you) positon may help. (see www.biologicalnurturing.com and http://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supp.../fast-letdown/ for more.) I agree burping during feedings may also help, as may finding positions that keep baby more “upright” (head over tummy) both during and/or after feedings.

    It sounds as if your husband is eager to help. That is good as his support is so vital. Remember this is all also so new to him and he wants what is best for both you and baby. Here are some nice ideas for new dads of breastfed babies: http://www.llli.org/docs/00000000000...t_partners.pdf

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    35

    Default Re: Am I overfeeding her?!

    Thanks for all the great advice! I spoke to my hubby about it - I didnt want to be constantly defending myself every time I feed her. He understood completely once I explained it to him. He really is very supportive, it's just hard because all he knows is bottlefeeding. We've been learning just how different breast and bottle feeding are. We've had to re-learn everything we know about feeding a baby!

    I tried laid back nursing tonight and I don't like it. I feel like she doesn't have enough head control, she ended up with an ok latch, but it wasn't very comfortable for me. And she still spit up a ton after the feeding. I'm burping her as much as I can - before, during, and after the feeding - and it just doesn't seem to help. She does seem uncomfortable right before she burps/spits up, but then once she gets it out she's fine. I just worry about her tummy; it still feels a bit tight, and she seems uncomfortable when I push on it.

    I'm almost starting to wonder if a binky would be helpful in this situation - where she wants to suck, but the milk comes too fast. I haven't tried it because I'm afraid of messing with a good latch, and I don't want her to lose out on the extra milk. I just don't know what to do!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Default Re: Am I overfeeding her?!

    Have you tried bicycling her legs periodically throughout the day? My son had terrible gas (and spit ups to, but ony the gas seemed to bother him), and I had to give him a tummy massage then bicycle his legs between every single feeding. He got a warm bath followed by more leg bicycling every evening. That might help her tummy some if you are not already doing so. It certainly helped us.
    K. Sophia - Mama to my little lactivore, the amazing Mr. X (11/10).

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