Am I overfeeding my baby?

Katherine - posted on 01/07/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

3

7

0

My baby is 5 weeks old and she wants to be nursed what seems like all the time, especially when she's awake. She nurses for very few minutes at a time and seems to get hungry again in 15mins, is she just not getting enough, why won't she nurse til she's full? I suspect she has reflux, but not too severe to warrant medication. She is gaining a lot of weight very fast, I'm concerned if I'm overfeeding her and if I should put her on a more regular feeding schedule? Also by what age should she be sleeping through the night or at least past 3 hours? Any suggestions would be highly appreciated.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Nicole - posted on 01/07/2009

1,117

27

47

I have breastfed 3 babies and have been counseling and educating breastfeeding women for about 4 years and I will agree with the other posts, you can't overfeed a 5 week old breastfed child. She is most likely going through a growth spurt or not feeding at the breast for long enough (meaning she is a "snacker").



If it is a growth spurt, feed her on demand. If she demands it, your breast will supply it and once the supply she wants is there, she will start feeding less often. (As less often as a 5 week old can. Breastfed babies feed very often in the early weeks.) A growth spurt (or cluster feeding) usually lasts no more than a few days. So, there is hope ahead.



If she is a snacker (meaning she eats for a short period of time once latched to the breast and feeds very soon after each feeding), she may grow out of this. If she doesn't, don't get discouraged. This is just part of her personality and once your milk supply adjusts to her and as she gets older, the feedings will most likely space out, although she will probably still eat more often than others, you do have a full night of sleep ahead of you. Just hang in there!



As for gaining weight very quickly, that is very normal. Most healthy breastfed babies go through a good weight gain at this point and they start to even out as they get older, while formula-fed babies continue to put on weight and sometimes at unhealthy rates. The fact that she is gaining weight well means that you are doing a great job! Way to go, Mom! Keep up the good work and hang in there!

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

15 Comments

View replies by

Jovanne - posted on 01/07/2009

86

22

10

**Sleeping through the night tip** My doctor told me at around 14 pounds (2 - 3 months) is when baby's are able to sleep through the night. I struggled with my daughter until she was 10 months old to get her to sleep all the way through the night. I finally moved her crib in her own room that was dark and had a humidifier running (nice humming sound). I had developed a bad habit of nursing her everytime she awoke during the night (stop nursing through the night at 14 pounds or 3 months!). Both her and I slept horribly for those 10 months. There were about two nights where I let her cry herself back to sleep before she slept through the night. When you first lay them down is when it is the hardest not to go back in the room when they cry, but that is the only way to let them learn to fall asleep on their own. Make sure before you lay them down, you have rocked them until they are really drowsy, but NOT completely asleep. When they wake up in the middle of the night again, they are usually already tired and fall back asleep quicker (still don't go in the room). I had to cut all night feedings (at least 3 - 4) . I just made sure I had a video monitor so I could see that nothing was over her face and she wasn't hurt in any way. My evening routine for my daughter is when she starts acting tired (cranky) stick her in the bathtub, dress her in pajamas, nurse her, sing to her, lay her down. After that, I say goodnight and walk out quietly.  

Ashley - posted on 01/07/2009

6

11

0

I remember that 5/6 week growth spurt.  I, too, thought I wasn't making enough milk; but my baby was gaining weight, so I was reassured by that.  His bowel movements and voiding patterns were great, so I knew he wasn't deyhdrated.  As for sleeping through the night, at about 8 weeks he was sleeping from 10-6, but now, at 15 weeks, he wakes at  1am and 3am.  I really do not think that you can overfeed a breastfed baby.  Hang in there.  But, also, I did eventually supplement with 2 oz. of formula after he was eating every hour for over 24 hours and no sleep.  He took about .5 of an oz. and slept for 3 hours.  Went back to breastfeeding exclusively and all has been well.  Good luck!

User - posted on 01/07/2009

46

9

6

You cannot over feed a 5 week old, but if she's only eating 5-7 min at a time she may not be getting the hind milk that is higher in nutrients that she needs. I would really try to get her to nurse at least 15 min on each side in one feeding. Newborns traditionally need to eat every 2.5-3hours. So, if she’s had a full feeding, she might just be wanting to suck for comfort. You can try a pacifier, or if you do not feel comfortable introducing one, you can also hold her and let her suck on your finger to help soothe her. On a side note, my husband and I use the baby-wise feeding/sleep schedule and our daughter was sleeping 6hrs straight by 5 weeks.

Annie - posted on 01/07/2009

27

0

5

You can't overfeed an exclusively breastfed baby.  DON"T supplement.  You can tell she's getting enough by her wet diapers.  If she has sufficent wet diapers then she's getting enough to eat.    And don't put her on a schedule it one of the fastest ways to ruin your supply just feed on demand babes can regulate themselves. 



 



On a side note I've had 2 babes both ebf and they were both BIG gainers for the first 6 months (both at or over 25 lbs by 6 months) .  BF babies gain lots of weight in the first 4-6 months and then taper way down.

Nicole - posted on 01/07/2009

1,117

27

47

Katherine, your baby is DEFINATELY getting enough! The weight-gain is the best determination of that. Whatever is going on with your situation, giving formula is NOT the answer. I don't think you are worried that she isn't getting enough, but I wanted to make sure that you and everyone else knew that weight gain (or lack there of) is one of the best indications of a baby getting adequate milk. Another indication is urination and bowel movements-"if it's coming out, it's going in." If a baby is gaining weight normally, they are getting enough milk. Formula WILL overfeed a baby, but I would rather a mom supplement breastfeeding with formula, than not breastfeed at all, but it is not the best breastfeeding answer.

Michelle - posted on 01/07/2009

15

9

0

Breastfeeding is tricky because you don't know how much they are getting. Seeing how she is only nursing for a few minutes at a time leads me to believe she is not getting enough which is why she is hungry so often. I had to BF and supplement with formula because I was having the same problem. BF just wasn't enough for my daughter. I would bf then give her a bottle which seemed to hold her for a longer period of time. The first few months are the hardest but it will get better. I know it feels like all you do is feed them doesn't it? lol.

Nicole - posted on 01/07/2009

1,117

27

47

Oh, and about the reflux. If you are very concerned with that, you might want to talk to her doctor about it, but I suspect it has something to do with the rate of you let-down. That will also expain the short feedings. You may have a heavy let-down. Maybe try to give her breaks during the feeding, like burping her a few minutes in and then putting her back to same breast to finish the feeding. This may also get her to extend the feeding and then extend the time between feedings. I hope any of this helps. You are doing great!

Shannon - posted on 01/07/2009

388

18

31

Great advice here already... I agree that it is probably a growth spurt at this point, and as far as sleeping long stretches or through the night... I don't believe in the whole concept as long as you are breastfeeding only. They will eat when they are hungry. Both of my kids woke during the night till they were around 6 months of age... but each child is different. As far as overfeeding, I know they day you can't over feed them when they are breastfed... however my son was using me as a pacifier. He just wanted to suck on something all the time. At 8 weeks old I gave into a pacifier which then allowed me to move freely about my own home without him being literally latched on. He was having tummy issues, we too thought he had reflux, all because he was eating all the time. Talk to a lactation speacialist in your area to see what they have to say... maybe the reflux issue is just the same as my situation.

Emily - posted on 01/07/2009

1,065

17

124

As for the sleeping... read the "No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley.

My babies started sleeping longer stretches around 7 weeks. As long as she's going right back to sleep after a night feeding and all her awake time is during the day, she's doing just fine.

Emily - posted on 01/07/2009

1,065

17

124

You cannot overfeed a breastfed baby. 5-6 weeks is a growth spurt and babies will nurse more frequently as they are encouraging your body to make more milk for them. It's also possible that she's getting quite a bit of fore-milk and not much hind-milk, which would make her hungry more often. You can try keeping her on one side for a couple feedings before switching sides. This way she'll get more hind-milk and fill up more. Basically the fore-milk is like a drink of juice, and the hind-milk is like a sandwich. (with the lunch example. :) )

[deleted account]

I'm nursing my third child now, and she is five months old.  She eats what seems like all the time lately, too!  But don't worry, you can't overfeed a nursing baby-it's virtually impossible.  I'm becoming a lactation consultant and women seem to be so concerned with this idea of overfeeding a breastfed baby, as I was with my first who ate ALL the time, but no worries.  Once your baby is 8-10 weeks old breasfeeding will become easier, not just physically but emotionally-routine settles in :)  Just enjoy it because it's over so quickly-my older two are seven and five and I can't believe how the time has flown by.  



As for sleeping...every baby is different.  My daughter started sleeping through the night at 8 weeks and then stopped at 14 weeks...now she's up once a night to feed again.  My oldest slept through the night since he was born (we used to have to wake him to feed him in those first weeks!) and my second didn't sleep through the night for two years...eventually they all do, though!  Good luck-I'm so glad I found these mom message boards this morning, it's nice to know some other moms who have concerns like I do or have had in the past as not many of my friends have kids! 

Leslie - posted on 01/07/2009

1

14

0

babies who are breastfed eat more often than formula fed babies, i had a great lactation nurse and the good rule of thumb to go with for me was what she said: "think of formula as a full thanksgiving turkey dinner with all the fixings, and think of breastmilk as a light lunch". i fed both my daughters on demand and we eventually developed somewhat of a schedule, she is still small, so like the other post said it is almost impossible to overfeed a nusring baby, especially one so small yet.

Melissa - posted on 01/07/2009

1

18

0

I'm not sure there is such a thing as overfeeding a 5 week old...especially if you are breastfeeding. It sounds like she might just be eating a little at a time, rather than having a full feeding. Does she stop eating because she is falling asleep while she is nursing? Or does she just stop? By 5 weeks, I tried to put my baby (he is now 7 months old) on a more regular feeding schedule - every 2 1/2-3 hours. I tried very hard to make sure that he had a "full" feeding each time so that he wouldn't get hungry between feedings.  Another thing to keep in mind is that babies have a very strong sucking impulse - so she might be using you as a human pacifier...she may want to nurse because she really just wants to suck on your breast, not necessarily because she's hungry. I tried to discourage that too by giving my baby a pacifier around 6 weeks. If he seemed content to suck on that rather than my breast, then I assumed that he wasn't really hungry but just wanted to suck.



As for sleeping...I think it really depends on the baby. By 5 or 6 weeks my guy was sleeping about a 5 hour stretch at night, which gradually increased (with some setbacks along the way). My experience was that once I got him on a more regular feeding schedule, that helped him sleep bettter at night. I highly suggest reading On Becoming Babywise...it has a lot of helpful information about feeding/sleeping schedules.



Good luck!

[deleted account]

My daughter is a big girl and I was concerned about the same thing. So I asked our public health nurse and she said that if the baby is exclusively breastfed then they don't generally worry about it. Apparently it is almost impossible to overfeed a nursing babe.



Is she going through her 6-week growth spurt?

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms