This article has been written by Dr Santosh N, MBBS, MD, Consultant Neonatologist & Pediatrician, Apollo Cradle Jayanagar, Bangalore
Taking care of a baby can be hard. With their erratic eating and sleeping behaviours, it is hard to tell how much you are feeding your kid. Sometimes, it might not be enough to meet the nutritional demands of the baby. In some cases, it can lead to overfeeding.
There are some certain signs of overfeeding and ignoring them can cause some serious complications.
Signs that mean that you are overfeeding the baby:
- Frequent spitting – If your baby is spitting more than usual, it means that they are being overfed.
- Loose stools – An overfed baby will have diapers filled with loose stools.
- Gas and bloating – When a baby drinks from a bottle, a lot of air is gulped as well. This can cause bloating in the baby’s stomach, resulting in discomfort.
- Colic – The baby can be in a lot of discomforts because of the gas, bloating, and frequent loose stools, leading to a colicky baby.
- More demanding – Babies, who are less than a year old require about 887 ml of breast or formula milk. If they are demanding more than that, it is highly unusual and you should get it checked by a paediatrician.
We have talked about complications caused due to overfeeding. But what are these complications? Take a look at the results of chronic overfeeding:
- Obesity and overweight – Babies who are fed surplus food are at a higher risk of becoming obese. All the extra calories that are accumulating inside their body can cause an abnormal gain in weight.
- Worse acid reflux – If the baby has gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) or acid reflux, overeating will just worsen the condition. If babies with GERD are overfed, their symptoms will deteriorate.
- Vomiting – Overfeeding can cause babies to vomit. This can lead to a little food left in the stomach for digestion opening doors to health problems in the future.
Now, how can you stop these complications from happening? It is easy. Just prevent overfeeding.
Steps To Prevent Overfeeding Your Baby:
- When you are breastfeeding your baby, the chances of overfeeding is very slim. Even if your baby is trying to hold on to your breasts, unlike from the bottle, there will be no constant milk supply. Sucking is required for getting the breast milk which makes overfeeding a rare scenario.
- If you have to bottle feed the baby, try paced bottle feeding. It is the method where you control the milk’s flow from the bottle. This is a mimic breastfeeding method that can prevent overfeeding.
- You must create a feeding schedule and stick to it. It will be difficult in the starting but eventually, your baby will adjust to it. Now, your baby will be getting hungry at a specific time every day providing you to fix your schedule accordingly to feed them on time. This helps in preventing overfeeding between long intervals.
- You need to wait for the hunger cues before you start feeding your baby. Signs like moving their lips or sucking fingers when they are lightly touching the lips. A hungry baby will latch on to the nipple immediately. Now that you are feeding them only when they are hungry, there is a low chance of overfeeding.
- Never force your baby to eat. If your baby is not eating more, it means they are full. Forcing them will simply lead to overfeeding.
Overfeeding can lead to serious problems but it is an easy issue to avoid. With the right feeding methods and a lookout for signs of overfeeding, you will be able to provide the right nourishment to your baby without worrying about overfeeding them.