Can You Overfeed Your Baby? How Much is Too Much Breast Milk

 woman in a burnt orange cardigan breastfeeding her baby outside

Your baby is in the most critical developmental stages of their life. They need plenty of emotional, mental, and physical nourishment to set the stage for adulthood.

Breast milk is widely known as the most nutritious food for your newborn. It’s filled with all the vitamins, minerals, and immune system-boosting chemicals they need to fight off illness. That said, you may be wondering if you’re overfeeding your baby.

With childhood obesity a concern of many parents in the country, overfeeding your baby sets precedence for a less healthy adult life. Let’s take a look at overfeeding and what that means for your newborn.

Can You Overfeed Your Baby?

While not the most common occurrence, it is possible to overfeed your baby. When this happens, you can find yourself in a few frustrating scenarios.

An overfed baby can experience symptoms of:

  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Spitting up more than usual

Related: How to Help a Constipated Baby

Bottle-Fed Babies

Whether you’re using breastmilk or formula, bottle feeding babies has several benefits. For starters, you can give your breasts a rest from the constant chomping and chewing.

If you’re worried about breastfeeding in public, bottle-feeding can provide another benefit. Baby bottles have helpful measurements so you can get consistent feeding every time. This is useful for new parents, though breastfeeding will still yield better results overall.

Confused? Don’t be! We’ll expand more on the benefits of breastfeeding below.

Breastfed Babies

Breastfeeding is a little more tricky than bottle-fed, but not impossible! It’s recommended you nurse your baby for no more than twenty minutes at a time. 

In general, breastfeeding a newborn usually ends after a year, though it can extend a little longer in rare cases. 

mother playing with her laughing baby on a bed

What Are the Signs of Overfeeding a Baby?

Here’s the good news: you’ll know when you’ve overfed your baby. Babies are quite honest and will show you a variety of symptoms indicating they’ve taken too much food. 

Indigestion and Diarrhea

Are you changing your baby’s diaper more than usual? You’ve probably overfed them. 

Indigestion is when the stomach is irritated, either from the wrong food or too much food.

Difficulty Sleeping

Do you like to feed your baby right before bedtime? You might want to shake it up. Today’s top nutritionists recommend waiting at least three hours before going to bed after a meal. 

This gives your stomach time to settle down, promoting smoother sleep patterns and less irritating gas. If you’re struggling to help your baby fall asleep at night, you’ll want to read this article on the connection between feeding time and bedtime.

Spitting Up Constantly

It’s normal for a baby to upchuck once in a while. Their sensitive tummies are still learning how to process food and won’t hesitate to get rid of extra food. 

If they’re spitting up more than once or twice a day, that’s likely a sign of overfeeding. This will usually be accompanied by an upset stomach, extra gas, or too many changed diapers.

Related: Toddler Not Pooping? Here's What To Do

There are many do’s and don’ts when raising a child. 123 Baby Box streamlines this process by providing helpful monthly resources to new and experienced parents alike.

How To Prevent Overfeeding Your Baby

Overfeeding your baby will happen from time to time. Even adults sometimes struggle to stop eating when they’re full!

Breastfeeding Is Ideal

While formula milk has come a long way, breast milk is still the most nutritious and filling. Try to breastfeed your baby as much as possible during their formative first year.

Babies have an easier time developing self-regulating eating patterns with this natural method of feeding.

Resist the Urge to Give Them Sugary Drinks

Some parents may find themselves giving into their baby’s demand for different food. This may soothe their temper for the time being, but will increase their risks of being overfed.

Sugary drinks are very addictive, particularly the ones with high fructose corn syrup. This also isn’t good for their regulatory feeding needs. Sugar puts stress on the digestive system and increases their cravings, making them want more food.

It’s best to save the sweet drinks until they’re one year old. While some sweetened beverages are used for treating constipation, this is best done with the aid of a doctor.

Related: Potty Training a Toddler is Tough: Here's What To Do

baby being bottlefed in the arms of their mother

Conclusion 

It’s possible to overfeed your baby and expose them to diarrhea, sleep interruption, and an upset stomach. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid by being mindful.

Breastfeeding is the better option for your baby to teach them self-regulatory eating habits. That said, you can still use formula bottles to measure how much you feed your baby every day. Make sure not to feed them right before bedtime and avoid sugary drinks to keep their diet steady.

Are you tearing your hair out during the first few months of raising a newborn? Reach out to 123 Baby Box and let a monthly subscription plan help you with swaddling, feeding, and playing.