How Much Milk Should A 1 Month Old Infant Drink Bottle Feeding: Is Baby Getting Too Much?

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Bottle Feeding: Is Baby Getting Too Much?

Recent studies have linked adult obesity to over-bottle-feeding in early childhood. So, are you giving your baby too much milk?

If you bottle feed your baby, it’s easy to see how much he’s getting. Manufacturers provide instructions on how to make formula and how much milk a baby should consume. The guidelines indicate how much to feed a baby for a given age and weight. So why are babies at greater risk of being overweight when bottle-fed?

The main reason for excessive weight gain is that parents ignore a baby’s signals that he has had enough. Breastfeeding mothers learn to follow the baby’s example. Nursing mothers are taught to offer breast milk when the baby wants it and to stop breastfeeding when they see signs that the baby has had enough. Mothers who choose to bottle feed rarely, if ever, receive this advice. Rather, mothers feel compelled to follow instructions printed on the side of a container. But the guidelines are not suitable for all children; each child is unique, different. Due to the blind acceptance that formula manufacturers know best, many mothers are tempted to have baby finish the bottle.

Nicolas Stettler, a pediatric nutrition specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, studied data from a large group of bottle-fed babies. He found a correlation between rapid weight gain in the first four months and being overweight by age seven. This, he suggests, may be due to overeating. “With bottle-fed babies, a mother can override her baby by urging him to finish the bottle,” he explains. “The mother must be sensitive to the signals of her baby.” When babies are consistently overfilled, beyond the point of feeling full, over time they can learn to ignore the “full signal.” Plus, for most babies, drinking milk isn’t just about feeding; it’s a question of comfort. Therefore, some babies often feed even when they are not hungry.

A mother should be on the lookout for signals that the baby has been fed enough. But what signals should a bottle-feeding mother look for? First, follow the advice given to breastfeeding mothers. This means letting your baby take 10 or 12 feedings, then removing the bottle, then allowing another 10 or 12 feedings, then another break, and so on. This stimulation is especially important for a newborn, less so after about four months. During these breaks, remove the nipple from your baby’s mouth as you may accidentally press it against his palate. If after one of these breaks your baby doesn’t open his mouth for the bottle, he’s probably finished. When your baby is drinking, watch his mouth. If your baby’s mouth relaxes or slackens to the point that he’s no longer actively suckling, he’s finished drinking. If your baby loses eye contact, rolls her head from side to side or tries to push the bottle; she has finished drinking.

Formula-fed babies are known to gain weight in a different pattern than breastfed babies. This difference is most noticeable after two or three months, when formula-fed babies gain weight slightly faster than breastfed babies on average. Breastfed babies generally gain weight more slowly after the first three months. Plus, they tend to be slightly leaner at one year than formula-fed babies. Keep this in mind if you compare your baby’s weight gains to a weight chart.

Baby weight gains can be irregular and it is not uncommon for newborn babies to lose weight in the first few days. If you are worried about your baby’s weight, you should seek medical attention immediately. As stated above, the most important thing is to follow your baby’s lead as to how much he needs; not someone else.

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