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Q&A:
Should I give a bottle to my 7-week-old whenever she cries?

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Question


My 7-week-old loves to eat. She will eat whenever a bottle is offered, and she will eat a lot. She has colic, and a bottle calms her down every time. Do I need to limit how often I feed her, or should I follow her lead?

Answer


If you use a feeding to calm your baby down every time she cries you run the risk of overfeeding. Some infants who are overfed actually seem colicky because they have stomach cramps from too much food, and the cycle is perpetuated. In addition, babies who are fed whenever they cry may use food for comfort in the future, leading to weight problems.

Babies cry for a variety of reasons—fear, loneliness, boredom, overstimulation. It is not always from hunger. Colicky babies cry for long periods of time, usually at the same time each day, and stop and start for no apparent reason. Colic is usually over by about 4 months.

Ask your pediatrician whether your infant is gaining too much weight. Try other things to calm her down—tight swaddling, rocking, humming, walking, swinging, riding in the car. Place your infant on her tummy and rub her back or put her bare belly next to her father's bare chest for the warmth and pressure of skin-to-skin contact. Lay her face down on your lap and jiggle your legs alternately. There are all sorts of maneuvers that will work some of the time. Try them before always feeding her.  
 
 
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