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Can I overfeed my LO?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

My DD is 9 weeks old and weighs 17 lbs (8 lbs at birth). I know that it is supposed to be impossible to overfeed a breastfed baby BUT I EP and she gets her milk from a bottle. There are some really informed people on this site and I was wondering if any of you knew about any studies or information that suggests that bottle-feeding babies can be overfed on breast milk. I read that babies who have moms with good supplies tend to gain very rapidly at first and I have an unreal supply (getting 70-80 oz a day) but I don't know how much of that is for my baby and how much has been artificially established by the pump. I have a hard time trusting that the demand/supply relationship is reliable because of the pumping.

post #2 of 11

I would love to hear some responses- my son went on a 30 day nursing strike in January and I EP'd and my son gained so much weight during that month! I also have a very good supply and he would sometimes drink 6 or 7 6 oz bottles of expressed milk in 24 hrs. He was 15-19 weeks old- 42 oz in a day is a LOT. Now that he's nursing again, he seems to eat much less. It was almost like he just wouldn't stop when drinking from a bottle- he always had room for more, vs. nursing, where he would eventually get full/bored. I did not know how to judge and did not want to deny him food if he was hungry, so I am curious what others say. 

post #3 of 11



I don't have any links for you but yes, I believe that it is possible to overfeed a bottle fed baby regardless of what is in the bottle. The reason for this is that the baby can't control the flow as they can with breast. And also because you can stimulate a baby's suck reflex but wiggling the teat in their mouth.


Kellymom has info on expressing and feeding and talks about the approximate volumes per day and per feed for different age groups. If your LO is taking more than this and gaining lots you could maybe think about a dummy to help meet their sucking needs without increasing their intake.


And you're quite right about the supply and demand when pumping. It is not true to say that you will only be able to pump what your baby needs. Plenty of mothers can pump * a lot* more than that.

post #4 of 11

Yes, a bottlefed baby can definitely over-feed, regardless of what's in the bottle.  Breastfed babies can over-nurse, too.


But, your baby basically doubled his weight in 2 months of life.  That's not abnormal. 


If the baby is constantly spitting up (not just the milk dribble that comes from having a bit too much, but real spitting up) or throwing up, then I would probably cut back and offer a pacifier more often.  But, if not...I don't think that weight gain is something to worry about. 

post #5 of 11

Erin77, it's difficult to know exactly how much a baby is getting at the breast, but nursing satisfies the sucking need, too, and so sometimes people do notice the baby doesn't seem to "eat" as much when they go from bottle to breast.  Sometimes, babies are taking what's in the bottle simply because they need to suck.  It's definitely difficult to really ascertain. 

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your replies! A lot of the Kelly Mom stuff is directed at people who primarily nurse, but it seems I should start tracking how much she eats-apparently the norm is 19-30 oz. per day. She's never seemed to have much of a "sucking need" and is not a big fan of pacifiers. Should I encourage her to take the pacifier more? She normally either makes a disgusted face and spits it out or she sucks on it fiercely and is then screaming with hunger several minutes later. She spits up several times a day and it's generally just a little dribble-nothing that comes out forcefully or seems excessive. Often, it's got little chunky curds in it-is that the "real spitting up?" (Can you tell this is my first child? orngtongue.gif)


I think I will try to track her input for a couple days and if it's really above the average, re-evaluate.

post #7 of 11

Without seeing for myself, it certainly does not sound like she is spitting up in the excessive range.  And, if she doesn't want a paci, I wouldn't force it on her.  If her sucking needs are getting met just fine by doing what you're doing, keep doing it! 


One question: Is she drinking the entire amount in the bottles you make or are you making that amount and sometimes, she's leaving some in the bottle?  Just curious.  I don't know much about bottle-feeding, but I still don't think that doubling her birthweight in 2 months is abnormal.  Some people eat more than others.  Some babies are really fat.  That doesn't mean much for later in life if it's human milk the baby is getting fat on.


My 2 oldest were fat.  My oldest was huge, in fact.  He was 25-29 lbs. by the time he was 5 months old (don't remember exact numbers, as he's 12 now) and very round. He was so fat, everyone commented on it.  But, after 6 months old, he stopped gaining weight and just got taller until he was about 15 months old.  Totally normal. 


Now, he's a lanky 12 year old (has been lanky all his life minus those first couple years).  I don't worry about fat babies who drink human milk.  Their bodies know what they're doing.  As long as she's not puking, vomiting, etc., she's probably just fine.  Every body is different.  Literally. LOL


Hope you feel more at ease about this today.

post #8 of 11

I am not sure if you EP by choice or not. Disregard if you EP by choice.


Just wanted to say though that my cousin had a number of issues with her son and had to EP for awhile. She kept trying to latch at least twice a day for months. Anyway, at month four one day he latched and they never had another bottle. If you are struggling and want your baby to EBF, don't give up hope.

post #9 of 11

I second what everyone else said. I also EP and we could definitely overfeed DD. She would drink a bottle 24 hours a day non-stop if we let her. Well, she'd probably fall asleep sometimes too. ;) But she would also be puking a lot. She just LOVES milk and loves to suck and gets so happy when she sees the bottle. Once I had to start EPing, my midwife taught us about scheduling her. I never thought I wouldn't nurse and would have to schedule :( but there we were. We let her put herself on a schedule that worked for her. We started giving 2 ounces every 1.5 hours, starting at 1 month old. DD would scream out of hunger at the end of 2 ounces and we upped it to 3 ounce bottles. She soon moved up to 4 ounce bottles every two hours. Now, at 4 months (next week) she gets 4 ounce bottles every 3 hours during the day and she STTN so she doesn't eat at all at night (yes, we are lucky!). She's 13.5 lbs and eats about 25-30 ounces a day. If your LO isn't puking then she probably isn't being overfed.


I'm so jealous of your supply!!!! I'm keeping up with DD's need right now but am dreading the day that she eats more than I produce. We have a large freezer stash right now and I have a friend that will donate her stash to us, but I don't know if it will last past the 1 yr mark.


Also, there is a thread for us EPers on the breastfeeding challenges section if you want support. :)



post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone! I have been tracking her intake and she's been right around 30 and now that I track how many times she spits up, it's a lot less than I thought. So for now, I'm just going to assume she's meant to be a little chunkster by nature winky.gif.


@Judi, ehhh, I started EPing in the hospital because she simply refuses to latch-there doesn't seem to be a physical reason for it. TBH, I haven't even tried to get her on the breast for several weeks because EPing has been working pretty well for us and her marathon screamathons at the nipple were really hard on me. But it's starting to wear on me a bit, so I think I'm going to attempt her to "drink from the tap" again.  A couple weeks ago, I was srsly considering elective EPing for future children but I think the main reason it works for me is that she's a only child for now.


@Monarch, that scheduling thing is really interesting and now that I'm paying more attention to how much she eats when I may make a rough schedule if for nothing else but to keep well-meaning visitors from over-feeding her. And my supply is sadly pretty much going to waste now because our deep freeze took a poop and we're waiting for a replacement part. The fridge freezer is full to bursting at this point so I really hope the part comes in the next couple weeks.

post #11 of 11
I EPed for my DD1. She also gained a TON of weight in the first few months, and I worried about overfeeding. She was 7 1/2 pounds at birth, and 16 pounds at two months old. But when we tracked how much she drank, it was also 30 ounces a day, which was within the usual range. At about seven months, she starting slimming down, even though she was taking in just as much milk, AND a tiny bit of solids. By a year old, she was only 24 pounds, and almost looked skinny. She's six now, and slim and healthy. She is, however, REALLY tall. Dunno. I would think it probably is possible to overfeed a bottle baby, but I also thought it would be a shame to cut back on the amount of milk I offered, if if DD really was hungry for it, so I never scheduled or limited amounts or anything, other than to sort of settle us into a rough routine as her needs started to become easier to understand.

I'm sorry to hear about your freezer. That really sucks.
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