Here's an obvious statement: Babies can't effectively communicate verbally. Yeah, it's as obvious as obvious gets, but it's also important to remember when parenting a newborn. No amount of reasoning is going to get them to do what their parents demand. It's also a big hurdle when it comes to feeding them. Most mothers struggle with knowing precisely how much milk (or formula) they should be giving their child. 10 Subtle Signs Of Overfeeding (And 10 Of Hunger) In Babies Moms MissThis is because it's challenging to see if they've had enough to eat.
This tends to lead to two distinct (and contrasting) problems: A baby has been overfed or simply hasn't eaten enough. Both of these are issues and can lead to a number of circumstances that no parent wants for their child. This is why we've created a list of some of the most subtle signs a baby (and a woman's body) will give moms about feeding. Most of the entries on this list aren't obvious at all. Therefore, moms shouldn't feel bad if they miss them.
But now that they know, it's important to keep an eye out. Of course, all of the entries are sourced from links at the bottom. Further research is always a must, but this is a good start. Without further ado, here are 10 subtle signs that a mom is overfeeding their child (and 10 that they're underfeeding them).
20 Overfed: Turning In The Other Direction
Speaking of obvious, a baby constantly turning their head away from their mother during feeding time is a sign of them being overfed. However, most moms don't even notice this at the moment as they are purely preoccupied with making sure that their kid eats. In fact, parents can be pretty adamant about their kid finishing their bottle or breastfeeding for a certain amount of time. But if your little kid is avoiding that milk like they would an attacking raptor, then you may want to ease off. This is their way of telling you that they're full and cannot eat anymore. Babies aren't always going to eat precisely as they should nor fall into a perfect meal schedule, but only they know their bodies.
19 Hungry: A Bunch Of Clicking Noises
During feeding, a mom should be paying attention to the sounds her baby is making. One sound to look out for is a clicking noise. This clicking noise usually means that the baby is having a challenging time latching onto their mother and are therefore not getting the nutrition their bodies need. Thus, the clicking noise is a subtle sign that they are going hungry. If they can't seem to latch onto you, then you may need to consider alternative feeding options, mainly bottle feeding. Although this isn't ideal, it's far better than them not eating at all. The bottle opens up the door to not only use milk but also formula. Both of which are helpful in making sure your kid doesn't go hungry.
18 Overfed: Just Non-Stop Crying
Babies cry... a lot. Like A LOT. And they do this for a variety of reasons, therefore it can be really challenging for you to understand why. Most of the time, newborns cry because they are hungry, but they also get loud when they have had too much to eat. When their bellies are too full, it can make them uncomfortable and the only thing they know how to do when they're uncomfortable is... you guessed it. So, next time your baby is crying uncontrollably during feeding time, you may want to think about just how much they've been eating throughout the day. Perhaps you may want to lessen the quantity.
17 Overfed: Those Number Twos Could Peel Wallpaper
Seeing that the vast, vast, vast majority of a typical newborn's menu consists of milk, it's understandable that they can struggle from lactose overload. What happens to adults when they have too much milk is precisely what happens to kids... they have extraordinarily smelly movements. Their small bodies are taking on too much milk that's almost impossible to digest all at once, causing them to release more gas and build it up inside of them so when they finally release you'll need to redo your wallpaper and plant new flowers. Seriously, pay attention to those smells, they can be a wonderful sign that a kid is being fed too much.
16 Hungry: When They Gotta Go... They Only Go Sometimes...
While we're on the topic of number twos, movements ( or lack thereof) can be another subtle sign that a baby is underfed. Moms tend to have to deal with a large number of soiled diapers each day. They can usually tell when they are going to happen and just how many are usual. However, if a baby isn't meeting this quota, it's usually a sign that they don't have enough food to pass through them. Additionally, if they look like they have to go, but can't, this is not only a sign of constipation but also a sign that their bodies are telling them that they need to go to the bathroom nothing can come out because there isn't a lot there.
15 Hungry: Less Than Six Diapers A Day
As stated before, moms tend to know precisely how many soiled diapers they have to deal with in a day. Typically, six diapers over the course of 24 hours is a healthy amount of a baby to go. These number twos tend to be pretty watery, but that makes sense given what the baby taking into their bodies. As icky as this whole thing is, a mom should be thrilled and delighted when she counts a total of six diapers per day. But if she's counting less, this could mean that her baby isn't getting enough time with her or with a bottle. This is one of the reasons why some moms record each of their baby's movements, making sure they're the right color and the right quantity.
14 Overfed: A Noticeable Lack of Development
As challenging as this is to believe, a baby who is showing signs of slow or poor growth could actually be overfed instead of underfed. The reason for this has to do with the fact that a baby who is overfed actually spits up more often than a baby who is eating normally. Their overly full tummy can't keep everything down and therefore it has to come back up. This means they are not keeping enough milk inside of their bodies and are effectively not getting enough nutrients just like babies who are underfed. This is why it's always important to pay attention to a baby's growth and development to see if everything is normal
13 Hungry: Out Come Those Dimples During Nursing
At the beginning of each breastfeeding session, a baby will usually latch onto their mother and start drinking her milk pretty rapidly. However, after a while, this usually calms and the baby is lulled into a state of rhythmic nursing. However, if this doesn't happen, and a baby is still going at it, it's a sign that they aren't getting enough milk. Usually, a mother can not only feel this but see it in her baby as the baby is really trying to get milk out of there and therefore, at the moment, develop dimples. Understandably, this can be difficult to catch, especially if your child naturally has dimples all the time. But try to gauge their body language and facial expressions; babies are more expressive than we give them credit for.
12 Overfed: The Bottle Spout Is All Chewed Up
Every child plays with their food to some extent. It's a way for them to understand it, get used to its shape and size. The same is true for bottles when a newborn is feeding on them. However, if a baby is really chewing up the lip of their bottle, it could mean that they are overfed and would much rather play with their food. Chewing on the bottle is their way of saying that they've taken enough into their stomachs and just want to have a bit of fun now. Moms should definitely pay attention to the shape their baby bottles are in to receive these subtle signs of fullness.
11 Hungry: Their Fingers Are Their New Favorite Food
When a baby puts their fist, hands, or fingers into their mouths, it's usually their way of telling you that they're hungry. This is because putting their fingers in their mouths is a way of self-soothing and sometimes the way that they try to feel some relief for their hunger. After all, they aren't truly aware of where their food source is, at least during the first few weeks. Afterward, eating their fingers is them signally their mom.
At a certain point, babies get into a rhythm of understanding when it's time to eat, so they'll usually start doing this when a mom is preparing their bottle or a breastfeeding session. However, the more frequently this happens, the more likely that her baby needs more nutrients than they are being given.
10 Overfed: Burping Like Barney
Barney Gumble, from The Simpsons, has one very notable personality trait, he constantly burps. Essentially, that's his catchphrase. Well, when your baby starts taking on this trait, chances are they are being overfed. Babies usually need to be burped right after they've had their meal, but if they need to be burped more often, or are doing it naturally after meal time than they are subtly saying that their stomachs are full and they don't need anymore. However, burping also has to do with the amount of air being taken in. This is why a well-positioned bottle during feeding is intelligent. It will make all the difference in the air intake.
9 Hungry: Mom's "Girls" Are Still Very Full
Not every subtle sign of hunger comes from the baby. Some of them come from the mom herself. If her "girls" are still sore, engorged, or pretty firm after feeding her baby, chances are the baby isn't getting enough sustenance. After breastfeeding is done, the "girls' should feel pretty soft to the touch -- the reason why so many moms will pump more milk after their baby has finished eating. But if the "girls" aren't softer after the baby eats, mom will need to push her baby to eat a bit more from her or use a bottle once in a while. Moms shouldn't feel unhappy about this. Sometimes a baby isn't entirely comfortable being breastfed. Introducing a bottle or formula feeding on occasion is not a bad thing at all.
8 Overfed: The Baby Is A Little Insomniac
There are many reasons why a baby could have trouble sleeping, such as the need for a diaper change or still being hungry, but one of them has to do with being overfed. Think about it, when you have too much to eat before bedtime, you usually have troubles sleeping as well. But with babies, it's not just about eating before bed, it's about eating too much. This is because their stomachs are so full that it's causing them to feel really uncomfortable. This discomfort makes them stay awake and even cry. At the very least, it will send signals to their body telling them that they need more time to move around and digest... AKA keeping everyone else awake all night.
7 Hungry: In Come The Simpsons' Skin Tones
Although it's normal for babies to be yellow on The Simpsons, it's not in real life. Usually, when a baby starts to develop a yellowish skin tone, as well as yellow in the whites of their eyes, it's a sign that they are underfed and have jaundice. Although this sounds like a lot, this usually harmless condition occurs in about two out of three healthy newborn babies. It's usually a sign that the baby isn't hydrated enough and that there's a problem with their feeding. However, jaundice can be caused by having a bad reaction to the milk as well. Usually, this all clears up but it's important to monitor and consult a physician if it's not cleared up after a couple of days.
6 Overfed: Can't Hold Anything Down Or In
A baby only has so much room inside of them. Their tummies can't handle more milk than they are designed to hold. They're basically like a cup. Too much liquid and everything spills over. But, unlike cups, humans also have a hole at the bottom that can release some of that liquid. This is precisely what happens when a baby is overfed. So, if your kid is releasing a lot of their food from their mouth or taking extra number twos, this is a sign that they are almost definitely being overfed. Not only is this something that will need to be corrected, but it's also something that causes extra work for moms and dads who often are the ones cleaning up after their kids.
5 Hungry: Watch For Those Dark Number Ones
As we've mentioned a couple of times on this list, bowel movements can be a very informative sign that your baby is either overfed or underfed. In the case of those who need a bit more nutrients, their number ones can offer an even subtler sign. It's vitally important that moms understand the basics of baby pee. They need to know what to look for, especially when it comes to color and odor. Normal number ones may range from completely colorless to a light yellow or a dark yellow. However, the darker the number ones are, the stronger a sign that they need more liquids. With dark urine also comes an odor that's really unflattering. So, pay attention to this as it can totally inform you that you need to feed your baby more.
4 Overfed: Pulling Their Legs To Their Stomach Like An Acrobat
There's this really cute move that babies tend to do when they pull their legs up to their stomachs. It's like baby acrobatics. Somethings that's cute enough for the camera roll. But usually, this movement is about more than how it appears. This is one of their only ways of self-expression at this stage in their life. If they're tightening their muscles like this is actually has nothing to do with understanding their flexibility or playing. It actually has to do with the discomfort that they're feeling inside of their stomachs. Essentially, they are telling you that you've fed them a bit too much and they don't know what to do now that they feel this way.
3 Hungry: More Sluggish Than An Actual Slug
Little food means little energy. It's as simple as that. Nutrients are what keeps our bodies moving, happy, and healthy. It's even more important for babies who are just coming into their bodies and have a lot of growing to do. If a baby is less active and far more lethargic than they normally are, this is a subtle (but not that subtle) sign that they really need to eat a bit more. It's more common for babies who are breastfed to feel this way as there's really no way to gauge how much milk they are taking in. When bottle feeding, it's far easier to see how much a baby is actually drinking. It's really important for mothers to pay attention to this as a baby who is too lethargic could have more notable health issues. Just keep a watchful eye.
2 Overfed: Notable And Obvious Physical Changes
We all like a baby with big cheeks and a few extra folds. It's one of the things that make them so cute. Funnily enough, these aren't usually the traits we like later on in life. But those who are older with a few extra lbs face the same issues as the babies who are in the same boat. It's also a sign that the baby is getting more food than their bodies actually need. Additionally, those who start overeating habits early are far more likely to have these issues later on in their life. So, for a variety of reasons, you may want to keep an eye on this one. It's natural for a baby's body to shift a bit, but significant physical changes could mean they're being overfed.
1 Hungry: Looking Like The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
In Brad Pitt's The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, the titular character ages in reverse, making him appear far older at birth than most babies. It's common for babies to have some wrinkles, but an incredible amount could be a subtle sign that they're not being fed enough. Right, when a baby is born they can look a little shriveled. After a few weeks of healthy eating, however, they tend to fill out. But if these wrinkles and crinkles are persisting, they really need more fluids. Dry skin is also something that comes along with this "Benjamin Button look". Keeping an eye on your baby's skin will help you understand how much more (or less) they need to be taking into their systems. It's a subtle sign, but helpful.
Sources: romper.com, parents.com, Baby Gaga, NHS; Healthline, Mom Junction, KidsHealth, Slate.com, FitPregnancy.com, BabyCentre.co.uk, ASHC.org, GlobalNews.ca, AmericanPregnancy.org, People.com, National Childbirth Trust, kidspot.com.