While new parents expect that their baby may cry when hungry, the idea that a colicky baby may be crying due to overfeeding is not considered as often. However, there are certain indicators that can point to a problem with overfeeding, and which can reduce the occurrence of colic if resolved in a timely fashion. If your baby has these symptoms, speak with her pediatrician for advice. The doctor may recommend changes to the nursing routine, or if your baby is bottle fed, changes in the amount or type of formula you offer.
- Your baby’s tummy often seems bloated or distended after a feeding. If your baby is nursing too much, or has too much formula, then that can throw off the timing of digestion. Milk will be passed to the intestines before adequate digestion has occurred – which in turn can lead to bloating, cramps and a colicky baby.
- Your baby often wants to be fed, but will often spit up large amounts of milk or formula after feedings. Sometimes, when a baby is overfed, the excess will be spit up. This in turn can lead to an acid reflux problem in infants that can cause painful irritation – thus leading to a colicky baby situation. If your baby’s pediatrician approves, try adjusting the amount of formula you give at each feeding, or only nurse from one breast per feeding.
- Your baby seems to have excessive bowel movements, especially when accompanied by colic-like symptoms. This can be due in part to the undigested milk passing through his system. Again, it’s important to speak to your baby’s doctor before changing any feeding routines, to have other potential causes ruled out first.
Regular feedings are essential for all babies, however, overfeeding can cause just as many problems as underfeeding. For this reason, it is important to follow your baby’s hunger cues rather than simply offering the bottle or breast each time she cries. Try other means of soothing your infant – rocking, singing, a pacifier or other distraction – before feeding if he’s been fed recently. By adjusting feeding schedules with the approval and supervision of your baby’s pediatrician, you may be able to eliminate colic that is caused by overfeeding.