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Thread: can oversupply = overfeeding?

  1. #1
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    Dec 2012
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    Default can oversupply = overfeeding?

    juniper has always spit up bunches. even when she was a newborn. i've always let her finish one breast (which she usually ends up falling asleep at) then waking to offer the other breast. she ALWAYS takes the second, and mostly finishes as far as i know. i remember the LC at the hospital telling me to always offer the second.
    well i'm coming to believe that she just meant while juniper was a newborn.
    i'm noticing that she is spitting up more and more, and now that we're doing solids 2x a day, she's throwing up actual food. i'm not giving very much food at all.
    but i'm starting to wonder if my oversupply is really causing a lot of this. she always takes the second breast, so she is getting a lot of milk. she has a super intense need to suck, she uses a pacifier quite a bit... i know, bad habit, but it makes her happy and keeps me from becoming a milk monster.
    i just don't want to NOT offer the second boob.., what if she is hungry? how the heck do i know if she is still hungry if she is asleep? but i guess if she is falling asleep, she is content, right? so DON'T offer? i really don't think she has reflux...
    but....
    is it possible to overfeed a breastfed baby?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: can oversupply = overfeeding?

    I've always heard that you can't overfeed a breastfed baby. But, why don't you try not waking her for the second breast...just follow her cues, if she wakes up, then offer. Try it, see how it goes. Just watch diaper output, and if it stays good, then I would think you don't need to continue waking her.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: can oversupply = overfeeding?

    it is not possible to overfeed a breastfed baby, in the sense that 1) It is normal and appropriate for a breastfed bavby to nurse very, very often and on cue rather than a scedule, which is unlike how most formula fed babies are fed and 2) breastmilk is so readily and perfectly digestable that, unlike formula, it causes no harm in large amounts. Certainly a baby whose mother has overproduction or forceful letdown is probably going to get more milk than one who does not, but it's not harmful. If baby really gets too much in one go, baby can spit up. Spit up is normal and not unhealthy (in fact there is a theory that spitting up breastmilk is beneficial!)

    So a breastfed baby cannot be overfed, but a mother who is waking her baby so baby takes both sides at a feeding CAN give herself overproduction, which is possibly what has happened here. There is not ever a need to encourage baby to take both sides unless there is LOW milk production and/or poor weight gain, as doing so increases production. Just nurse on the other side when baby wakes up.

    how the heck do i know if she is still hungry if she is asleep?
    if she is asleep she is not hungry. Sleeping through hunger cues is only a concern with tiny newborns or very sick, underweight babies. Or babies who are given a pacifier too much.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: can oversupply = overfeeding?

    You can't overfeed. As long as you're nursing on demand, you aren't in charge of the feeding. The baby is. She nurses until she feel satiated, and then she stops. This is totally different from the way bottlefed babies eat, because when a baby feeds from a bottle, it's the adult at the other end of the bottle who is in charge. Even the most sensitive bottle-feeding adult will sometimes tip the bottle up to get baby to drink a little faster, or slip the bottle back into the baby's mouth so that the baby will "finish" the feeding, resulting in the baby taking in more milk, and taking it in faster, than she naturally would have. That's overfeeding.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: can oversupply = overfeeding?

    i guess i'm asking if i'm overfilling her. if she is sleep-suckling, and getting milk out, but is only sucking because she is asleep, wouldn't this result in too much milk?
    last night i nursed her to bed, and she fell asleep at the first breast. instead of waking her to switch and finish the second breast, i just put her to bed. instead of waking up an hour later, she ended up sleeping until her usual nursing time (1am). at that time, i repeated and only offered one breast until she fell asleep, and she slept until 6am. lately in the night, she's been waking up and totally cranky and acting like she didn't feel good... she was also having really loud gas, (like an adult haha) with plenty of grunting. i'm wondering if all that "extra" milk was giving her a tummy ache from being a little too full. my next experiment is this morning. since she nursed at 6am, i gave her a little oatmeal and bananas for breakfast at 8. normally i would nurse her in addition prior to her 10am nap. she normally wakes up from the nap and pukes right away. i will be skipping nursing her this morning to see if she still throws up. obviously, if she is hungry and asks at that time, i will let her nurse. otherwise, i'm going to rock her to sleep...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: can oversupply = overfeeding?

    This may seem overly simplistic, but are you burping often? I know I tend to get lax with burping as they get older. I'm assuming that since she's on solids that she's over 6 months. It may help with the vomiting. At this age, I don't skip nursing sessions. That is still where they're getting the vast majority of their nutrition. But I would just let them sleep if they pass out. Just be sure to offer the opposite breast at the next session.

    Please don't worry about over feeding or over filling. There's no such thing with a breast fed baby. However there is gas. Burping more often may be your ticket.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: can oversupply = overfeeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*lizeckel View Post
    i guess i'm asking if i'm overfilling her. if she is sleep-suckling, and getting milk out, but is only sucking because she is asleep, wouldn't this result in too much milk?
    No, because of the way babies suck when they aren't hungry and the way the breast delivers milk. Hungry babies suck eagerly and actively, triggering a rapid letdown of milk. Babies who are nursing only for comfort suck shallowly, erratically, and slowly, at which point the milk flow slows to a trickle or stops altogether.

    Definitely do not skip nursing sessions! Until a year, breastmilk is supposed to be your baby's majority source of nutrition, because breastmilk provides ideal, complete, balanced nutrition. Solids don't, so they are primarily for play. If your baby eats some solids, great. If she tastes them and then spits them out- still great, because at least she tried. And if she won't eat them at all, and prefers to mush them with her fingers- still great! She had a fun learning experience and that's all she really needs. You definitely do not want to be replacing nursing sessions with solids.

    I get the feeling that the spitting up of breastmilk and throwing up of solids is distressing to you, but it's really just a normal part of infancy.
    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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    Dec 2012
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    Default Re: can oversupply = overfeeding?

    mommal-
    yes, it is distressing me! i guess i thought that by 9.5 mos she wouldn't be spitting up any longer, and now that she is having solids, it is throwing up as well as spit up. i have never seen a baby this age spit up as often as she does, but i guess all are different. she does great with purees and solids, she really loves it. she gets a total of 4-8 oz of purees daily, and at dinnertime she gets to eat what we are eating in very small portions. i don't think this is too much food, as she still seems to want to nurse around 2 hours after she eats the solids. i have no idea how much milk she gets when she nurses, but i'm sure she is taking in a little less milk if she already has solids in her belly.
    she did not ask to nurse this morning before her nap. she slept really great, and got a little yogurt when she woke up. it was about 2 hours after that that she nursed really well, very alert, and stopped on her own without falling asleep. i had to resist the urge to coax her back on. i gotta say, my boobs are pretty sore. -and huge. i think my supply is really getting out of control again, and i need to haul it back a little. i pumped for 2 minutes for relief this morning when she didn't nurse and got 3 ounces! holy toledo! and they STILL felt like they were going to pop!
    why is feeding a baby so hard? wth?! i thought food was the easy part and poopy diapers were the difficult part.

    amysmom- yes, i am still burping her, but there are times when i am trying for like 10 minutes and it just ain't gonna happen. i was actually going to ask if we are still supposed to be burping at this point!
    poor juniper.. mommy has no idea what she is doing! clueless!

    thanks again for all the help, gals!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Default Re: can oversupply = overfeeding?

    Just want to jump in to say that my LO usually only nurses from one breast at a time, and that's quite common when mama has oversupply. So don't feel like you HAVE to nurse from the second breast. Maybe that's why you've gotten back into the oversupply?

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