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Can I Overfeed A Breastfed Baby?

Many nursing Moms wonder: Can I overfeed a breastfed baby? If you're worried about your pleasingly plump nursing baby, read on.

In answer to the question: No, you really cannot overfeed the breastfed baby. Firstly, you cannot force a baby to eat when he doesn't want to. If he is indicating the need to nurse, it's because he either needs the nutrition or wants the comfort of suckling. That's perfectly alright.

Since breastmilk is the perfect food for babies, it is easily digested. Mom's milk goes through the baby's stomach more quickly than formula. This is a good thing! It's like when you eat a salad versus a greasy hamburger. ;)

Babies are all different- some are petite and perfect, others are plump and pleasing. A lot of this has to do with genetics, not something you're doing right or wrong. If your baby is growing well and meeting developmental milestones on time, he's fine. Check with your baby's health care provider if you're worried.

One word of caution: if your baby nurses a lot and then seems fussy, gassy and spits up frequently, it may be because of feeding management issues. Something you might want to try is "finishing the first breast first". At the beginning of a feeding, your baby is getting the lower fat "foremilk" and later on, the higher fat "hindmilk". If you remove baby from the first breast before he pulls away and give him the other side, he may fill up with foremilk, causing some gassiness, fussiness, and spitting up.

Let the baby decide when he's done with the first breast, either by pulling away or falling asleep. If you have a very strong "letdown", or milk ejection reflex, then this is especially important. You may have an overabundant milk supply. Try keeping baby on one side for an entire feeding.

If your baby seems to need to nurse more frequently for a few days, he may be going through a growth spurt. Nurse him more often for a couple of days and try to take it easy, rest and nap with him if possible. Your milk supply will increase to meet his needs.

Submitted by:

Carrie Lauth

Carrie Lauth has been a breastfeeding counselor for 5 years. She is the host of Natural Moms Talk Radio, the internet's only talk radio show and podcast for the natural mom. For more breastfeeding tips, visit SexyNursingBra.com.


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