Feeding time can seem so simple, but it can easily become stressful for a new parent, or even a parent who has not had to take care of a newborn in quite some time. Parents may wonder about many things and have unanswered questions racing through their minds. Parents may wonder about how often they should be feeding their baby, or if their baby is getting enough nutrients. Parents may even wonder if their baby is overfeeding or not being fed enough. Either one can actually be potentially harmful to the baby.
Overfeeding the baby is when they consume more milk or nutrients than what they need for growth and energy levels. There are two types of babies who are at a higher risk for overfeeding. Newborn babies are at a greater risk because they can of developmental reasons, this is because it causes limitations for the baby and they have an inability to control their milk intake. Babies who are bottle fed can also, at times, be at a higher risk because bottle feeding makes harder for them to control the milk flow.
When a baby happens to be starving, this is actually a whole different kind of issue. It means that they are not getting all the milk and vital nutrients that they need to survive. They can become malnourished, and in cases of severe malnourishment it is called, “Failure to Thrive.” Here is a list of 10 signs the baby is being overfed, and 5 signs they are starving.
15 Overfed: Growth Has SLOWED Down
As hard as this is to believe, but a baby who is showing signs of slow or poor growth could be overfed. The reason that this occurs is due to the fact that an overfed baby spits up more often, or vomits more often, than a baby who is eating normally. That is why it is anecdotal about a baby gaining weight when they are overfed. It could happen either way, that the baby is either gaining too much weight or not gaining enough weight.
When a baby is spitting up or vomiting more than normal, it can be due to their overly full tummy. When they are doing this, they are not keeping enough of the milk inside their tiny bodies. It is always a good idea for a mom to keep track of their baby’s growth to make sure that they are developing normally. Slow or poor growth could also work the other way around as well; that the baby is not eating enough food.
14 Overfed: The Spit-Up Intensifies
Almost all babies spit up; this is because almost all babies have gastroesophageal reflux (GER). 70 percent of babies who are under three months old may spit up three times a day. However, depending on the baby, they could also spit up 10 to 12 times a day as well. So, at times, it can be hard to gauge when it becomes too much.
The reasons newborns can spit up so much is because of the muscle at the end of the esophagus, the one that opens and closes, it very weak at this age and it allows the milk to come back up. If your baby is spitting up more than 10 to 12 times a day, or more than what you have noticed to be normal for a baby, this can be a sign that your baby is overfed.
13 Hungry: The Cries Sound Different
It is always best to try to learn the variations in your baby’s cries because it could help you to learn what your baby needs and when they need it. Babies can have a different sound or pitch to their cry when they want different things. When a baby is hungry, their cry may be short and low pitches, and the sound may rise and fall. However, every baby is different and may one hunger cry for one baby, may should totally different for another baby. But the short and low pitches is what is said to be common.
When a mother learns her baby’s different cries, there won’t be as much guesswork when it comes to trying to soothe them. If you are unsure if your baby is hungry or not, try feeding them and see if they try to feed if you are unable to find the reason behind their cry.
12 Overfed: Fouler Number Twos
We already know that babies do number two a lot. That’s a given; but how much, is too much? Bottle-fed babies can go up to four times a day. Babies who are breastfed average about three to four times a day, and it can be a little more on the runny side when compared to a baby who is bottle fed. If you start to notice that your baby is going number two more than that, and it is starting to have a much fouler smell and is runnier than normal, that can be a sign that your baby is overfeeding.
After a while, you may become accustomed to what is normal for your baby when it comes to their bathroom habits, so it is also worth mentioning to the baby’s pediatrician if you start to notice changes in their habits.
11 Overfed: Burping - Even After Being Patted On The Back
Babies usually need to be burped after they eat. If you find that your baby is burping a lot more than they used too, and they have some of the other symptoms regarding being overfed that is on this list than there is the chance that your baby is actually being overfed. Especially if you notice that they are belching after eating without you having to pat them on their backs. The excessive belching is generally caused by an increased amount of air being swallowed.
If the baby is eating more than they should be, or more often than they used to, there is the possibility that they are gulping down more air than they used to as well. A well-positioned bottle can be helpful; it can make the difference in the air intake.
10 Hungry: Fingers Are Always In The Mouth
When a baby sucks on their hands, fingers, or fists that could be a sign that they are hungry and need to eat. This can be caused by a baby trying to self-soothe. Babies sometimes do this as a way to try to feel relief from their hunger.
They know that usually when it is time to eat that they start sucking and their feeling of hunger goes away. Try feeding your baby and see if they eat. From babies who are breastfed, they may latch on quicker than. For babies who are bottle fed, they may try to drink faster than usual. The sucking on fingers and fist can be more common in newborns who are are not fully aware of where their source of food actually comes from.
9 Overfed: The Diaper Is Always Wet
Babies who are overfed tend to urinate more frequently and above average heavily wet diapers. This means the diaper becomes almost soaked through. If the baby is past the newborn stage, which is older than three months old and has more than eight of these soaked diapers that could definitely be a sign. It is slightly harder to tell with newborns since they urinate more often, to begin with.
Typically, a newborn will go the bathroom six to eight times per day, but for some babies as many as ten times a day. Babies who are breastfed may actually use the bathroom less frequently than a baby who is bottle fed, and this is because they generally take in fewer fluids per day. Once you start to take notice of what is normal for your baby, because only you will be able to tell this, you can start to judge whether or not they are going more than usual, and if their diaper is wetter than usual.
8 Overfed: In A Constant Bad Mood
We all know that babies cry, but a mom can tell when her child is fussier and more irritable than normal. A baby who is overfed can tend to become even fussier and irritable than normal. This could be because the baby is pain from being overfed. Think about it or a moment; when we, as adults, eat too much food in one sitting, and we feel overfull, our tummies will hurt, and at times we may even become a bit irritable ourselves since we are not feeling well.
A baby cannot verbalize what they are feeling and tell us that they are in pain, so they can become fussy and cry more than usual. Crying if a baby’s only means of communicating to use when they are not feeling well. Listen to your baby’s cues when they are trying to tell you they don’t feel good.
7 Hungry: The Pounds Are Silent
Babies who are not getting enough nutrients tend to weigh less than babies who are eating properly. This all comes from a baby becoming malnourished. When adults and older children do not take in enough food, they tend to weigh less as well. The same theory applies to babies. The development may be halted, and they may not grow properly. As a moon, you can tell when your baby has growth has come to a screeching halt.
If you feel like your baby is not putting on those pounds as they should be, you should contact your baby’s pediatrician so that they can evaluate your baby to make sure that everything is okay. If everything seems fine, then they may just need to be fed more often or given high-energy milk which contains more calories.
6 Overfed: The Backdoor Blasts
Does your baby seem like they have more gas than usual, and maybe have some of the other signs of this life? That can be a sign that your baby is being overfed. The reason a baby can pass more gas than usual when they are overfed is that they are taking in more milk than usual. It is the same way with adults, when we overeat, we tend to produce more gas than when we eat a suggested portion size. The same theory is also applied to babies.
Babies have tiny stomachs, so more to them is a lot more by comparison. Even a few more ounces maybe the difference between normal and diarrhea. Air pockets are always a possibility, so more gas is going to be expected with everything else happening.
5 Overfed: Won't Sleep Through The Night
If a baby is having sleep issues such as a hard time sleeping, or their sleep is being disrupted, this can be a sign that the baby is overfull or being overfed. Sleep issues are one of those symptoms that need to be accompanied by other systems to know for sure that is the actual reason that they are having trouble sleeping. There is a variety of things that could cause sleep disturbances in a baby such as them being hungry or if they need a diaper change.
The reason a baby that is overfed has sleep problems usually has to do with the fact that they are full and that they are in some discomfort. When adults or older children overeat, it can sometimes cause issues with their sleep as well.
4 Hungry: Slow And Sluggish
When a baby has been going periods of time without taking in enough nutrients, they can start to become less active and more lethargic. This is because they do not have their usual amount of energy that they would normally have from getting the proper amount of milk or formula.
This is more common in babies who are breastfed compared to the babies who are bottle fed since there is no real way to gauge how much milk the baby is taking in. When a baby receives formula, it is visible right there in the bottle and pre-measured out. This is why babies who are breastfed can starve, and in tragic situations, they can become malnourished. It’s not often that it happens, but unfortunately, it has happened before, and sad stories like this can be read online.
3 Overfed: Tummy Troubles
A baby who is overfed is going to have some stomach problems, just like adults get. This can range from them having diarrhea, intestinal spasms, stomach cramps, and bloating. All of these symptoms can be uncomfortable to a baby and can cause them anywhere from slight discomfort to severe pains.
When a baby is having tummy problems, they usually tend to cry from the pain, and they might try to bear down like they are trying to take a number two when they really aren’t. It is just that they are in pain and do not know what to do with the discomfort that they are feeling. The baby's pediatrician can tell you if it’s normal or if the baby needs help of some kind. Some babies are born with easily upset tummies.
2 Overfeed: The Pounds Are Noticeable
This is anecdotal, but if a mom notices that her little one is starting to put on a little bit of weight that is not within the normal range, that could be a sign that the baby is being overfed. It is unhealthy for a baby to be overweight unless considered to be normal weight. If a baby puts on too many pounds that puts them at risk for being obese as they get older. It could also increase the risk of the child developing diabetes as they get older as well. It is important for a mom to keep track of how much their baby gains by keeping up with all of the baby’s pediatrician appointments. It’s also always best to ask the pediatrician about how much to feed your baby in one sitting, and how often.
1 Hungry: Wake Up Every Hour
If the baby is waking up frequently, it could be a sign that they are starving or hungry. Even though a baby with sleep disturbances could be a sign that they are overfed, it could also mean that they are not eating enough. Since a baby is unable to speak to us and says, “Hey mom, yeah, I’m pretty hungry.” and there are only certain things that they can do, it can be hard to tell what is really going on sometimes.
Babies are limited in their ways of communicating with us, so sometimes we have to look for more than one symptom to see what's really going on. If your baby is waking up, and they seem restless than maybe it would be a good time to see if they are hungry if it is during their feeding times.
Sources: Parents.com, Webmd.com, Newkidscenter.com, Babycareadvice.com, Kidspot.com, Romper.com, Enfamil.com