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Overfeeding a Baby

British Columbia Specific Information

The amount of food each baby needs varies and it is recommended that you follow your baby’s hunger cues. The Average Feeding Amounts by Baby’s Weight table below shows the average amount your baby may take each feeding, and should only be used for reference purposes. Every baby is different, and may take more or less than the average amount. For more information on feeding your baby see HealthLinkBC File #69a Feeding Your Baby Formula: Before You Start, HealthLinkBC File #69b Feeding Your Baby Formula: Safely Making and Storing Formula, and HealthLinkBC File #70 Breastfeeding.

For information on infant nutrition, you may also call 8-1-1 to speak to a registered dietitian, Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., or you can Email a HealthLinkBC Dietitian.

Topic Overview

Overfeeding a baby often causes the baby discomfort because he or she can't digest all of the breast milk or formula properly. When fed too much, a baby may also swallow air, which can produce gas, increase discomfort in the belly, and lead to crying. An overfed baby also may spit up more than usual and have loose stools. Although crying from discomfort is not colic, it can make crying more frequent and more intense in an already colicky baby.

Babies give cues during feeding that indicate how hungry they are. Pay attention to these cues to help determine when your baby has had enough to eat.

  • A baby who is hungry will latch on to the breast or bottle and suck continuously.
  • A baby who is getting full during a feeding will take longer pauses between sucking.
  • A baby who is full will turn away from the breast or bottle and not want to suck.

The amount of food each baby needs varies. Young babies usually do not take more breast milk or formula than they need. In general, your baby should seem healthy and happy and have good muscle tone, healthy skin, and good colour.

Credits

Current as of:
September 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator