It’s always nice when a baby who’s just started eating solid foods shows a real appetite for them. As a parent, you know that it feels great to offer your little one healthy solid food choices and then watch as she gobbles them up.
But can that healthy appetite ever be a problem? Can a baby actually eat too much solid food?
In a word, yes.
Remember, for the first year of life, a baby’s primary source of nutrition should be breastmilk and/or formula. It’s just fine to offer solid foods (starting around 5 or 6 months), but solid foods shouldn’t replace breastmilk or formula as a source of nourishment.
In this article, we’ll explore two signs that you may be feeding your baby too much solid food and two easy ways to fix the problem.
2 Signs You’re Feeding Your Baby Too Much Solid Food
Your baby regularly eats more food than is recommended.
There’s no formula for exactly how much food you should be offering your baby at each meal; rather, its best if you use your baby’s own hunger cues and appetite as a guide.
But if you find that your baby is routinely eating more than is recommended, you may want to consider offering a bit less food at each sitting. A healthy appetite is a good thing, but not if your baby ends up overeating every day! Check out our Amounts of Solid Food By Age chart to determine appropriate serving sizes for your baby.
Your baby regularly drinks less breastmilk or formula than is recommended.
This is another sign that you may be offering too much solid food. If you find that your baby is regularly nursing less, or taking less formula during feedings, then you’ll want to take a careful look at how much solid food you’re offering.
Sometimes, babies who fill up on solids don’t have much room left for breastmilk or formula. And since breastmilk and/or formula is a key part of your baby’s nutrition, it’s vital that they drink plenty of it. Our Amounts of Solid Food By Age chart (referenced above) also includes recommended amounts of breastmilk and formula; check that to see if your baby’s getting enough.
Remember, if your baby has a good appetite for solid foods and eats quite a bit, that’s not necessarily a problem; as long as he’s also nursing or formula-feeding well, and taking in the recommended amounts of breastmilk or formula, all is well.
In addition, if you find that your baby isn’t getting the amounts of breastmilk or formula that she needs, it might not be due to her solids intake. If you know that she’s eating normal amounts of solid foods, then you’ll want to think about other reasons that could be causing her to drink less breastmilk or formula (like illness, or teething).
However, if the two signs listed above seem to go hand-in-hand, then you can be pretty certain that you’re feeding your baby more solid food than is good for her, and it’s causing her to take in less breastmilk or formula than she needs.
Too Much Solid Food and Not Enough Breastmilk/Formula? Ways to Solve the Problem
If you suspect your baby’s consuming too much solid food and not enough breastmilk or formula, there are a two simple steps you can take to fix the situation.
Offer breastmilk or formula before offering solids.
This one just makes sense, right? When your baby’s at his hungriest, offer him the breast (or the bottle) before you give him a handful of cheerios or a dish of mashed bananas. That‘ll help ensure that he drinks plenty of breastmilk or formula. It’ll also help take the edge off his appetite for solids.
Offer (a little) less solid food.
Some people suggest stopping solids altogether, and going back to a breastmilk/formula only diet. We generally don’t recommend this strategy, since it’s not a good method for striking a balance between solids and breastmilk or formula.
Instead, if you suspect you’re offering too much solid food, we recommend cutting back on serving sizes a bit. Simply offer your baby a little less solid food than you normally would. That (in combination with nursing or bottle feeding before you offer solids) should ensure that your baby isn’t eating too much solid food.
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