As new parents, we spend so much time stressing over our baby is getting enough food. Parents will often encourage their baby to finish their bottle or worry that they haven’t had enough because they didn’t finish it. With this in mind, can you overfeed a newborn?
While the cultural perception of a healthy baby can vary, it is almost impossible to overfeed your newborn. In fact, most of the anxiety over a baby’s food intake and the appearance of a baby is pointless. As long as your baby is gaining weight, growing, and your pediatrician isn’t concerned, there’s no need for you to worry either.
Babies come preprogrammed with a self-regulating system, meaning when they’re hungry, they’ll eat, and when they’re full, they will stop. When your baby turns away from the breast or bottle, it’s a sign that they’re full. When your baby keeps coming back for more, it’s a sign that they’re hungry.
It is easier to overfeed a baby when they’re bottle fed because we, as parents, can get preoccupied with the amount of milk left in the bottle. On the other hand, we cannot visually see how much milk a breast-fed baby is drinking. On average, a full-term newborn drinks 2 ounces of milk per bottle every 2-3 hours or breast-feeds on demand.
Because there are many doctor visits in the first few months of your baby’s life, it’s easy to spot overfeeding by tracking the baby’s weight gain and feeding patterns. Another sign of overfeeding can be if your baby spits up after you’ve pushed them to take extra food. However, keep in mind that spitting up is typical for babies.
So, can you overfeed a newborn? When it comes to feeding a baby and making sure they get enough food, it’s important to recognize that your baby has a preprogrammed self-regulating system. To avoid overfeeding, make sure you respect those cues and accept that your baby is done with their meal when they turn away, whether the bottle is empty or if they usually nurse for longer. If you have further questions, we’re always willing to help. Contact us to get started!