Many parents and caregivers urge their little ones to drink up, believing it’s best for them. However, this isn’t a good idea. There is no need to overly encourage or pressure your little one to drink more than they want.
Baby knows best
There may be occasions when you choose to feed your baby a bottle of expressed breast milk. The important thing to remember is to let your baby decide when they have finished. Just like with breastfeeds, when your little one feeds until they are satisfied, they will also decide when they are full when drinking from a bottle.
Encouraging your little one to finish a bottle or an older child to ‘clean their plate’ can both contribute to teaching children to eat beyond when they are full.
If you’re bottle-feeding your baby, it can be more difficult to recognize signs that they are full than when you’re breastfeeding. Pay close attention to whether your little one loses interest in drinking, moves their head away, or becomes calm and content.
When enough is enough
Some parents are better at recognising signs of hunger than signs of fullness, yet they are both important. Missing cues that your baby has had enough may mean you continue to feed them even when they are full. This can result in your baby gaining weight too quickly, or beyond their natural growth trajectory. A steady rate of growth is healthy for babies. If you are unsure of how much weight your baby should be gaining, talk to your health professional to make sure your little one is on track.