Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Overfeeding Your Baby May Pose Health Risks

A new mother would wonder how much milk to feed her baby per day until she figures out the correct measurement for it. Such a task can be confusing especially to a first-time mother who can be very idealistic in following the exact amount for her baby’s daily milk routine.

Of course, this is to ensure that her baby is consuming the right amount of milk according to standard measurement because she doesn’t want to pose harm to her baby’s health by overfeeding him/her.

Mother oftentimes worries how much her baby is ingesting at a certain feeding time considering she can’t be sure how much baby sucks in milk during breastfeeding. And this also true with bottle feeding that even if you are properly measuring it into the bottle, you cannot be certain how much your baby would be taking in, sometimes out of the blue your baby’s appetite just either go down or go up.

Consequently, this is where a mother’s worry figuring out whether her baby is having enough milk and nutrients or is the baby consuming too much milk than what he/she should be allowed.

Are you overfeeding your baby? 

Overfeeding refers to the baby’s taking in more milk either breast milk or infant formula than he/she should be given to meet the nutritional requirements needed for his/her growth. Having too much milk can fully stuff a baby’s stomach than he/she can comfortably hold or tolerate. A baby’s digestive tract is delicate enough to hold so many nutrients to digest.

Therefore, it is important to practice due diligence and critical thinking when feeding your baby. Here are some tips that you can apply to tell if your baby is overfed.

1. Spitting up/vomiting

A baby spewing up after a feed may indicate too much of milk intake. Because the baby’s tummy is overloaded with milk, overflowing can also be expected. Health experts say that frequent spitting up or vomiting may be an indication of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or of a more serious problem especially when your baby is having projectile vomiting where he/she throws up stomach contents forcefully. If you suspect your baby is suffering from any of this, immediately consult with your doctor for proper medical assessment.

2. Baby crying after feedings

While babies always cry, take notice of the intensity of pitch or the length of crying they are having. This act from babies might signify that they are probably in pain from a milk overload. That is why they are communicating and expressing their discomfort by crying intensely after a feed. A baby’s high-pitched piercing cry that leaves them gasping for breath should be enough to make you want to run and bring him to the doctor for a good check-up.

3. Bay pulling legs up to their abdomen/chest

Baby pulling their legs up to their abdomen may be a warning sign that they are overfed and the act of pulling their legs up to abdomen or even chest may indicate they are experiencing stomach pains from food allergies and gas as a result of being fed too much. Sometimes it could be a manifestation of a more serious intestinal problem called intussusception. Have your baby’s condition then checked straightaway.

4. Having lots of wet nappies per day

Baby’s having several wet nappies a day could indicate that they’re overfeeding breast milk or formula according to medical experts.

5. Rapid weight gain

Your baby’s rapidly gaining weight can be attributed to feeding too much. When their weight gain is going faster than their height, bring your baby to the doctor for proper assessment.  

6. Baby clenching toes/abdominal muscle

If your baby has a crying episode for a long period of time and cannot be comforted by any means. The baby is clenching up his/her abdominal muscles and even his/her toes like they are having colic, it may be because they are overfed and not necessarily due to colic. Mayo Clinic says the symptoms of both overfeeding and colic are very similar that it is so hard to distinguish which of the two is responsible for the baby’s distress.

7. Consuming more ounces of milk than recommended

For a formula feeding mom, it may be overeating if you observe that your baby is consuming more ounces of milk than what is approved as standard. There are standard measurements that you can look on the internet to guide you in determining how much milk your baby should ingest in ounces according to age. 

Why overfeeding and underfeeding is not good for your baby

Overfeeding is not good for babies as this heightens the chance of a baby to become overweight or obese. Experts say rapid weight gain in infancy may increase the risk of obesity when the baby reaches adulthood. 

Also according to health experts, overfeeding is usually common during the infancy stage compared to underfeeding. The study says underfeeding pose a more serious health threat than overfeeding.

That’s why it is vital that you monitor your baby’s milk intake and reinforce her to adjust or regulate her milk consumption to what is recommended rather than be restrictive to your baby.

You should never try to impose upon your baby by forcing her to take more than what she can allow. Know that your baby will tell you when he/she needs feeding. Be vigilant and observe and understand the cues your baby is sending you.

When to breastfeed your baby?

You will know when your baby is eating enough. And, as babies grow, they will have a reduced craving for breast milk as they tend to sleep for longer periods at night. So your baby is full when he/she is content and alert; steadily growing both in body and height; feeding six to eight times every day, and wetting and soiling nappies regularly.

Your baby is probably not eating well enough when he/she cries a lot, is in distress, irritable, and dissatisfied. This is the time when you have to feed your baby but when he/she is inconsolable after feeding and the irritability persists, the baby may be in pain and it is best to consult a doctor.

How much formula milk to give your baby

Since babies digest formula milk more slowly than breast milk, a mother may bottle-feed her baby with fewer times than a breastfed baby.

Upon reaching two months old, a baby may take about 4 to 5 ounces at each feeding. After three months, you can add an additional ounce at each feeding as your baby’s growth may require it.

Your baby’s milk consumption will reach 6-8 ounces by six months at each of four feedings each day. 

Be careful though from overfeeding your baby as bottle-feeding can have the tendency to overindulge your baby since he/she can easily access the fluid from drinking straight from the bottle. Make sure then that the opening or hole on the bottle’s nipple is just the right size for a slow drip when your baby feeds on it.

Final takeaway

With the governments and health organizations advocating for breast milk, parents may have a difficult time choosing. But whether they choose to breastfeed or formula feed their baby, it is their right being the parents of the child.

What is important is that they will observe the feeding standard procedures and they do not harm their babies by overfeeding or underfeeding them. 

Overfeeding can cause distress to babies, and most of the time it poses risk to baby’s health so it is important for parents to observe the proper standard of measurement to guide them in feeding their babies and to be vigilant enough to observe their baby’s body language. 

So whatever parents prefer as feeding choice for their baby doesn’t matter for as long as it works for both the mother and the baby. Surely it is for the best interest of both the mother and the child.

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