Persephone: Parent

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Overfeed Vs Starving

on June 28, 2013

On the advice of the breastfeeding support lady who I rang yesterday regarding Elvis’ screaming at the boob, he may be screaming as he’s not actually hungry. Maybe he is giving feeding cues when he isn’t hungry, or I’m completely mis-reading the signs. Can a breastfed baby be overfed?

A lot of people seem surprised at his weight gain in just 2 weeks. Is it because he needed all the food or have I been feeding him too much? Has he realised this quicker than I?

Would it be better to overfeed rather than starve?

Can a breastfed baby give up requesting food? I mean if a breastfed (or bottle fed, too, it applies) baby cries for food, falls asleep after tiring themself out, will they wake up hungry? Or will they give up eventually after being ignored, or delayed enough times?

Take today, Elvis awoke at 5am (woo, a lie in) and fed, then he got up with daddy at 6 for half an hour and wanted a second breakfast at about 7am before we both went back to bed at 0720. I really wanted to go to a Sure Start group at half 9 so set an alarm for 0820.

We got up, I had a bagel and fed Elvis again. Then we went to the group (more on that later) where Elvis maybe started getting hungry, but then he fell asleep on me. At 1120 we got home (3 hours since feeding) and I quickly sorted some things before going around to Nanny’s. He cried the whole journey, sucking his thumb (soothing or hungry?) but fell asleep at the front door. It took until 1pm for him to wake up.

He cried a bit, but didn’t give any hunger signals, however we’re due out at 2pm so I fed him. Was it a force feed? He fed for 20minutes and fell asleep again. Surely that’s a successful feed, even if it was forced.

Can you force feed any baby? Wouldn’t they refuse or spit it up? Can they give up letting you know they’re hungry? Will they wake up hungry if they fell asleep hungry and ignored (whatever the reason for ignoring/delaying)? Which is better?

~ Persephone M

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8 responses to “Overfeed Vs Starving

  1. mhaggerton says:

    I feed my youngest fully on demand. A breast fed baby will not overfeed. And trust me if they don’t want to eat, they won’t. Muffin will cry and turn away, and it’s just up to me to figure out what else she wants (usually to sit or lay on her own for awhile..) you’ve got awesome milk because he is gaining so awesome! Mine gained good too.. You are doing everything right!

  2. mhaggerton says:

    Also check this out http://www.babyrabies.com/2011/11/my-picture-of-postpartum-anxiety-before/ and the Facebook breastfeeding group I’m in is call Mummies Nummies.. My fb is Melinda Haggerton if you wanna look me up too 🙂

  3. Valerie says:

    I don’t think you’ve overfed at all, but he may be telling you he doesn’t need quite as much now, but maybe he wants to have a comfort-something? I just shared a guest post of my friend’s about this very topic today! http://atlantamomofthree.wordpress.com/2013/06/28/guest-post-mummy-vs-breastfeeding-experience/

  4. diynavymomma says:

    A breastfed baby won’t overfeed! In the first few months of Ethan’s life I breastfed him every two hours. Then we moved to on demand.
    Ethan was doing feeding cues 24/7, but he wasn’t always hungry. He was just a handsy baby! It took a lot of work to realize what his real feeding cues were!
    As far as screaming at the breast, there are numerous reasons! Take a look at kellymom.com. It’s a life savor! His a link to “fussing at the breast”
    http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/child/fussy-while-nursing/

    • Persephone says:

      I’ve read that page multiple times and have only now seen the “baby is done” reason. D’oh. He seems a lot better since I considered I’m mis-reading, although until his next weigh in I’ll worry I’m underfeeding! This is motherhood, right? 🙂

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