Underfeeding or Overfeeding While Breastfeeding My Baby—Is That Possible?

Some parents worry if their child is taking in enough breastmilk, while some actually fear that they might be consuming more than they should. So if you are breastfeeding, can you actually underfeed or overfeed your baby? Here are a few best practices you can follow to pacify your concerns.

Underfeeding or Overfeeding While Breastfeeding My Baby—Is That Possible?

Look at feeding cues.

Watch your baby and observe their feeding behavior. Do they turn away their heads and refuse your other breast? That’s a self-regulating behavior to show you they are full. If they keep searching for your breast, that’s a pretty good sign they still want to feed. And if they are still hungry, they will most likely cry. Every baby is different, so avoid comparing your baby to another child who has a lesser or bigger appetite. The important thing is that you offer your milk when you see your baby is hungry, and assess based on their feeding cues.

Try to do direct feeding from your breast.

If your concern is overfeeding, then try to do direct feeding from your breast versus bottle feeding with breastmilk. Your baby has to make an extra effort of sucking the milk out your breast, compared to when you’re using a bottle, where breastmilk can flow easier. You will know if your baby is really hungry when they keep feeding, despite the effort required. Then again, babies tend to stop feeding (whether you’re using a bottle or not) when they get full. If your mom radar is telling you that your baby might not be getting enough milk, don’t dismiss that feeling. They will show signs of fussiness and discontentment if they are still hungry. You can ask your doctor if you can try cup feeding breastmilk to see if they want more, and are just not able to get enough milk from your breast.

Be mindful of weight at doctor visits.

If you are really concerned about your baby’s feeding or milk intake, ask your pediatrician how your child is faring. Since children really have varying sizes and appetites, your doctor will tell you if you need to be concerned about your particular baby’s milk intake and overall weight. It’s also good that you share feeding concerns, if any, because at the end of the day, your doctor will know best.

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