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Can You Overfeed a Newborn?

Can You Overfeed a Newborn?

How to avoid overfeeding your baby by tuning in to their hunger cues and indicators of being full.

It’s possible to overfeed your newborn, especially when formula feeding. In this article, we’ll show you how to pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues, and what could indicate they’ve overeaten. Always follow your pediatrician’s guidance for how much to feed your baby.

Common Indicators of Overfeeding a Baby

Here are some telltale indicators that your baby might be eating too much:

  • More gassiness or burping than normal: If your baby seems extra gassy or burps more often, it could be from overfeeding, or eating too quickly. Try to keep your bottle at a slight angle so that your baby swallows less air, and don’t be afraid to take the feeding nice and slow.
  • Vomiting after feedings: While spit-up is typical, frequent vomiting post-feedings could stem from overfeeding, or an underlying illness. Best contact your doctor right away.
  • Fussiness or crying after meals: If your baby seems uncomfortable or cries excessively after meals, it could be a sign they're a bit too full.

Does Spit Up Mean Overfeeding?

Not necessarily! Spit up can be a normal part of baby digestion, and some spit up right after feeding may be an indicator of overfeeding, but if that doesn't appear to be the case, you may consider looking into formulas that are made for reducing spit up.

What Leads to Overfeeding a Newborn?

Overfeeding can often happen by accident, especially if someone is feeding their baby too quickly or by misinterpreting hunger cues. Overfeeding can also happen if someone disregards their pediatrician’s instructions for feeding–we always recommend checking with your pediatrician before changing the amount you feed your baby.

How To Avoid Overfeeding a Newborn

  • Follow your doctor’s guidance: Every baby is unique and your pediatrician will be able to help you determine how much and how often to feed your baby. Always do your best to follow your pediatrician’s recommendations, and let them know if something isn’t working.
  • Try paced feeding: Ever notice how sometimes if you eat really fast, your body doesn’t realize it’s full right away? Babies can experience that too! The paced feeding method can give your baby’s body time to adjust to each feeding.
  • Watch hunger cues: If your baby is making any sucking motions with their mouth, crying or more alert than usual, those could all indicate hunger.
  • Choose the right bottle for your baby: Some babies do better with faster-flowing bottles, others prefer a nice and slow flow. Generally speaking, if you’re concerned about overfeeding, it will be good to look into getting a slower-flowing bottle.

How To Know When a Newborn Is Full

While every baby might express feeling full differently, here are some common universal indicators that your little one has had enough:

  • Turning away: Your baby might turn their head away from the bottle or breast.
  • Shutting their mouth: Your baby might close their lips tightly.
  • Slowing down: Your baby's sucking pattern may slow down or become less vigorous as they become full.
  • Spit up: Some babies naturally spit up a little after feeding, which can indicate they're full. However, excessive spit-up might suggest they've had too much.

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All information on Enfamil, including but not limited to information about health, medical conditions, and nutrition, is intended for your general knowledge and is not a substitute for a healthcare professional's medical identification, advice, or management for specific medical conditions. You should seek medical care and consult your doctor or pediatrician for any specific health or nutrition issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment, care, or help because of information you have read on Enfamil.