Q&A: Can you overfeed a newborn?

Posted in Feeding Babies.

Q&A

It might surprise you to know that newborns are more self-sufficient at certain things that we give them credit for. And today we’re answering Mum’s Grapevine group member, Maria’s question, can you overfeed your newborn?

Can you overfeed an exclusively express breastfed baby? I am getting very differing advice from MCHN, ABA and my hospital.
Maria – Summer 2021/22 baby FB group

This is the part where we tell you to take a big deep breath and relax. The chance your newborn is overfeeding is very slim. They’re pretty good at self-regulating their appetites. Hooray!

In saying that however, there are a few things you need to look out for. This is also going to be dependent on whether your bub is breastfed or bottle-fed.

Can I overfeed my breastfed newborn?

Turns out breastfed newborns are the least likely group to be overfed.

Oversupply and breast engorgement is common during the first few weeks while you and your baby get used to the whole breastfeeding thing. However, if it continues any longer it might be worth having a chat to your midwife or a lactation consultant about what’s going on.

Can I overfeed my bottle-fed baby?

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Bottle-fed babies have a slightly higher chance of overfeeding, but still pretty rare.

Raising Children recommend that you still follow your newborn’s hunger cues, just the same as you would a breastfed baby. Whilst there are a recommended number of feeds on the side of formula tins, these are just a guideline and each baby will be different.

You should always follow the preparation instructions on the side of the formula tin, but don’t worry if your baby doesn’t drink the whole bottle every time.

As with breastfed bubs, the main indication of overfeeding will be excessive weight gain. Since most babies in Australia are routinely weighed throughout the newborn period, this should be picked by your health care providers pretty quickly.

Remember to follow your gut, and if you’re ever concerned, check in with your health care provider. Otherwise, enjoy all the beautiful snuggles and enjoy the bonding experience that feeding brings.

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