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Thread: possible to overfeed?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    14

    Default possible to overfeed?

    Hello,

    I have a 6 week old that measured 12 pounds at his checkup this week. He was born at 7 pounds. My doctor said that I shouldn't worry about overfeeding him (he's EBF) but I can't help but worry.

    How do I distinguish between him actually being hungry and just wanting to suck? We are still feeding him every 3 hours (at what point do these stretches go longer) when he wakes from his naps and seems hungry. I read somewhere that he'll unlatch when hes not hungry, but then I'm not sure if he's unlatching because he's really not hungry anymore or because I have a really OALD and he needs a break. When I put him back on he always seems willing to eat more.

    Is it possible to overfeed a BF baby? And how do I make sure I'm only feeding him when he's actually hungry?

    thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Swartz Creek, MI
    Posts
    1,776

    Default Re: possible to overfeed?

    My lo also 6w and weighs 11.9. My lo doesn't unlatch when he is not hungry, but he squirms around or starts to cry...that's how I know he wants to suck, but doesn't want milk...

    If my lo eats too much, he'll spit up....
    Married mama with 4 kiddos...2 girls (11 & 6) and 2 boys (21mo & 3mo)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: possible to overfeed?

    I posted about weight gain yesterday. My daughter went to the doctors yesterday and she weighed 13 pounds (she is 7 weeks) and her pedi told me to feed her every 3-4 hours. Right now she goes about 2-3 hours but has super fast feeding sessions (about 6-10 mins). I'm going to keep her on the feeding schedule she's on. I was just wondering if her weight meant she would be a 30 pound 1 year old... her pedi said they tend to level out but there is no way of knowing when.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    282

    Default Re: possible to overfeed?

    One of my twin boys gained weight really fast at the beginning. Around the 6 month mark, he really started to slow down. And plus, I've heard from my LC that after 6 months, their weight gain slows down..
    Celeste
    Mommy to:
    Kalynn 8/12/02
    Ronin and Ryker 10/9/2006

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,018

    Default Re: possible to overfeed?

    From your description it doesn't sound like your baby is overeating. EBF babies are good at moderating their intake based on appetite. One sign of overeating might be excessive spitting up/vomiting (although this can certainly be caused by other things like reflux). Otherwise I don't think there is a problem.
    Trust your baby.

    Molly

    Loving mama to JP (DS, 1/03 ~ nursed 6 mos), EL (DD1, 9/05 ~ nursed 4 yrs), EJ (DD2, 3/08 ~ nursed 3 yrs 9 mos), and
    JM (DD3, 6/12 ~ currently nursing), all born naturally
    Devoted wife to SAHD P, my hero
    A few of my favorite things that I've discovered on the forum: co-sleeping, baby-wearing, tandem nursing, baby-led solids, cloth diapering, APing, selective vaccination...the list goes on

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,267

    Default Re: possible to overfeed?

    My understanding is that you cannot overfeed a breastfed baby. The composition of milk changes during a nursing session to match your baby's needs- if he's really hungry and feeding eagerly, he draws out lots of rich milk. If he's just slowly sucking for comfort, he gets a slower flow of less creamy "skim" milk.

    Also, breastfed babies tend to gain weight more quickly during the infant stage and then burn the fat off quicker than their formula-fed peers. So a chubby breastfed infant will likely turn into a lean toddler, while a scrawny formula-fed infant is more likely to turn into a porky child.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: possible to overfeed?

    thanks so much everyone! I definitely feel better about my lo's weight!

    another question I had regarding spit up. Does spit up mean 1) he overate or 2)I didn't get a good burp out of him causing it to come up later or 3) doesn't mean anything its normal? Also I'm confused about the different types of spit up. Sometimes its watery milk and other times it really thick sticky milk. My lo definitely does spit up after he eats, not a lot though. And should I be concerned if sometimes the spit up is an hour or so after he finished eating?

    sometimes I think my lo shouldn't be eating for really long periods of time since the milk flow is so fast and its seriously constant gulping gulping when he eats. Then I read to bf both sides 15-20 minutes each of something and I offer him the breast again to see if he wants more. I only feed him one side each time and he seems pretty good at emptying it (it gets really soft) - should they be emptying a breast each time? Or is that too much?

    Thanks!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    1,197

    Default Re: possible to overfeed?

    I would say unless your baby is crying because of some discomfort, don't worry about anything. Spit up is normal, it happens all the time during the first couple of months. Your baby will not be fat, in fact you may start worrying about not enough weight gain after 4 months because BF babies plateau once they become mobile so just go with the flow as long as your baby is happy.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,267

    Default Re: possible to overfeed?

    Spit-up can mean any of the three choices you posted. Just don't be concerned about it- all babies spit up and eventually they all stop. The consistency can vary greatly, from thin and drool-y to thick and cheesy, and the timing can vary, too. My DD's favorite time to spit up was right after being changed into a new outfit. Anyway, what you describe sounds completely normal.

    Regarding the gulping you describe, is it possible you are dealing with overactive letdown? That's when the milk comes out really fast and strong, causing gulping and choking. Leaning back while breastfeeding is supposed to slow the flow.

    Only using one side per feeding is not usually recommended, because it may cause a supply reduction. In general, you are supposed to let the baby finish side 1, and then offer side 2 to ensure a good supply. But it doesn't sound like you have supply problems at all, so perhaps one side per feeding is plenty! Completely emptying the nursed-on breast is normal, and desirable. Just watch your baby. It sounds like you are doing great!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    789

    Default Re: possible to overfeed?

    Actually nursing from just one side per feeding is a good thing. That means he will definitely get plenty of hindmilk, though I guess in your son's case that isn't a problem. Many, many of us just nurse on one side and that's just great.

    You can't overfeed a breastfed baby, unless you are using bottles. After they "empty" the breast (which they should do each time to ensure a good supply) they really aren't getting too much milk out while they comfort suck. However, they are getting comfort (hence the name!) so it's still worthwhile.

    As for longer stretches, it totaly depends on the kid. My son at 10 months still nurses about every two hours and that has been his system since 2 or 3 months. And he pretty much always only nurses on one side per feeding. No supply problem here!

    LLL suggests you watch the baby and not the clock! When I was finally able to do that (and stop writing down every silly little details about EVERYTHING), life got so much easier!!!

    Anne- Mom to two active boys: Henry 10/06 and Jamie 4/09


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