Can You Overfeed A Newborn?

Usually, for the first-time moms, it is not easy to know the best feeding and sleeping time for your baby. Even though you may get advice from your pediatrician or other moms, you need to find what works for your baby. Remember, babies are different; hence they have different preferences.

One of the main things you ought to do as a new mom is to ensure your newborn feeds well. Younger babies have small stomachs; hence they tend to get hungry quickly. So, ensure you observe all your baby’s feeding times. But is it possible to overfeed a newborn?

Can you overfeed a newborn?

Health experts report that overfeeding a baby is relatively rare; however, it is still possible. Typically, babies know how to control the amount of food they take in.

When a baby is full, they immediately stop feeding. Thus, it is uncommon to overfeed a baby unless you insist on giving them food even after they become full.

  • Breastfeeding: When your baby is full from breastmilk, they’ll automatically stop sucking. So, it is uncommon to overfeed a baby from breastmilk.
  • Bottle feeding: Overfeeding is less common when bottle feeding. This is because you are the one controlling the bottle.

What are the most common signs of overfeeding a newborn?

There are several ways of knowing that you are overfeeding your little one.

  • Vomiting that comes after eating is one of the most common signs of overfeeding your baby. Most babies tend to throw up the excess food they have eaten.
  • Burping and gassiness is also a sign of overfeeding your baby.
  • If your baby is crying inconsolably without stopping after meals, it could be that they’ve had too much to eat.
  • Gagging, choking, and regular spit-ups are also signs of overfeeding your newborn.

Note that these signs are not necessarily signs of overfeeding your newborn. A good percentage can experience burping, vomiting, and irritability due to other reasons. Burping is common in newborns; so, don’t worry when this happens.

You however need to keep monitoring your baby to make sure they are okay. Additionally, avoid making any diet changes for your baby without consulting a medical professional.

Causes of overfeeding in a newborn – 4 explained

As mentioned earlier, overfeeding is rare but still possible. Below, we look at some of the causes of overfeeding in babies.

  1. Misinterpreted cues: At times, parents think that crying signals hunger. There are many reasons your baby can cry. So, avoid feeding them every time they cry. Crying is not necessarily an indication of hunger in babies. When you feed your baby every time they cry, you might end up overfeeding them.
  2. High eating expectations: Parents sometimes forget that babies are different. So, they end up setting feeding expectations for their children. You may end up forcing your baby to eat more than what their little stomach can handle.
  3. Weight expectations: Some babies don’t grow as fast as you expect them to. If your baby is not gaining weight as you want them to, overfeeding them is not the solution. So, try as much as possible not to give your baby excess food. Also, be patient and understand that babies grow at different paces.
  4. Difficulty with the bottle: Bottle feeding can lead to overfeeding. This is because babies cannot self-regulate themselves while drinking milk from a bottle. At the same time, parents often want their babies to finish drinking the entire bottle, not thinking that the baby could be full.

If you notice that your child is reluctant to feed, they could be full.

5 common signs that your baby is full

Be careful to pay attention to how your baby behaves before and after feeding. By doing this you will be able to know when your baby is full. Full babies always stop sucking or start falling asleep after feeding. Some may start crying if you continue pushing them to eat more while they are full.

Different babies react differently; so, ensure you monitor your baby. Below are some of the signs that your newborn is full.

  1. Pushing the bottle or breast away: You will always notice whenever your baby tries to push the bottle or breast away. When your baby starts resisting, the best thing to do is stop feeding them. The high chances are that they are full.
  2. Lack of interest: If your newborn looks disinterested during feeding times, they could be full. So, give them some time before you try feeding them again.
  3. Falling asleep: When your newborn starts falling asleep during feeding times, it’s because they are full. After they have had enough to eat, babies tend to feel comfortable and relaxed. Hence, they end up falling asleep.
  4. Irritability: Once your baby is full, they become irritable when you give them more breastmilk or formula. In fact, they can start throwing tantrums when you try breastfeeding them. The best thing to do when you experience this is to leave them or hold them to sleep.
  5. Spitting: After your baby has had enough to eat, they may end up spitting out the formula or milk. When they do this, don’t try giving them more milk. Otherwise, you would worsen the situation.

Avoid feeding your baby after they are full. Do your best to wind up the feeding session if you notice any of the above signs. Even if your baby has not yet met your feeding expectations, stop feeding them when they are full.

Is it possible to overfeed a baby when introducing them to solid foods?

Once you introduce your baby to solid foods, you need to pay attention to their behavior before and after meals. Below are some of the ways you can avoid overfeeding when they start taking solids.

So, don’t focus too much on meeting your baby’s feeding targets. Remember, the wellbeing of your baby comes first. If they are full, give them some time before you start feeding them again.

  • Prioritize breast milk or formula: Parents should not stop breastfeeding their babies after introducing them to solid foods. Breastmilk and formula are more nutritious than regular milk. However, ensure you give your baby the right amount of breastmilk and solid foods simultaneously.


Becoming a first-time mum is not a walk in the park. You have to know the right amount of formula and breastmilk to give your baby.

Otherwise, your baby may develop health issues. Sometimes, parents end up overfeeding their babies. Although this is rare, some parents feed their babies excessively with the hopes they will gain more weight.

Luckily, babies have a good self-regulatory system that enables them to stop feeding when they are full.

So, if you notice that your baby is pulling away from the bottle or breast, it would be best to stop feeding them. Also, if your baby falls asleep during feeding times, this indicates they are full.

When your baby is full, give them some time before you start feeding them again. Ultimately, you need to constantly monitor how your baby behaves before and after feeding times.

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