Are you a new mommy? Are you clueless about your baby’s wants and needs? What does the soft cry mean? What does it mean when your bundle of joy keeps stroking you repeatedly? Well, if you are looking for answers to such question, then you must give our post a read.
As a mother, we understand that you want your baby to be well fed, happy and comfortable. Unfortunately, babies cannot tell us if they are hungry in words. So how do you know when your little one is hungry? The best way to meet your child’s need is by understanding his powerful, but limited cues, and responding to them accordingly.
10 Baby Hunger Cues:
Babies start giving their mommy cues from the earliest moments of life. These cues come handy when trying to feed him. Here are ten cues to keep an eye out for. Although these signals are not applicable to all babies, they can help you navigate through the initial days of understanding your child’s behavior.
Crying is the most common hunger cue. If yo
[ Read: How To Soothe A Crying Baby ]
2. Licking The Lips:
Licking the lips is the first sign of hunger. Respond to your baby right away, especially in the first few months of life. You are not going to spoil your baby by picking him and feeding him right away.The baby hunger cues can be understood by the lips too.
Rooting around the chest of whoever is carrying him is another sign of hunger. The baby moves his head from side to side as if they are looking for something. This movement is called rooting reflex. Also, if you touch a side of your baby’s head and he turns away looking for something to suck, then he is probably hungry.
[ Read: Dealing With Your Whiny Baby ]
When the baby is hungry, he puts his hands in his mouth and sucks on them. When he realizes that there is no milk, he releases his fingers and continues his search. He may also suck on other things like clothes and toys.
5. Squeaking Noises:
A baby’s hunger cry starts off with hunger cues of grunts, coughing and whining sounds. If you listen to your baby’s cries, you will recognize the different sounds in the cry.
6. Body Movement:
When the baby is hungry, he will start moving back and forth on the ‘continuum of arousal’. It is a sign of hunger. Other body movements like the movement of eyes underneath the closed eyelid, increased alertness, tossing and turning and moving the head frantically from one side to the another can also indicate that your baby is hungry. These are the signs baby is hungry.
7. Rapid Eye Movement:
Rapid eye movement while sleeping is another hunger cue. It is a great time to feed a sleepy newborn if he has not fed in a while.
[ Read: Baby Sleep Cues ]
8. Change In Facial Expression:
A change in baby’s facial expression is another indication of hunger. If your baby is hungry, he will keep sticking his tongue in and out. Babies will also keep opening and closing their mouth in search of milk.
9. Hitting On The Arms Or Chest Repeatedly:
If your child is repeatedly hitting you with his tiny hands, then it is time for you to feed him. Comfort your baby immediately to make him feel that you will always be there to take care of his needs.
What Are The Fullness Cues?
If the baby begins to suck the breast, then leaves and begins to cry again, then you can assume that he is not hungry.
- If the baby closes his mouth
- If the baby looks, calm and relaxed
- Extended arms and legs
- Extended relaxed fingers
- If he falls asleep
- If he sucks slowly
Benefits Of Following The Hunger Cues:
The benefits of following the hunger cues are as follows:
- It will help you get to know your baby well.
- It will help the breastfeeding go well.
- It will encourage your baby to trust you.
- It will allow you to gain confidence.
- It will build a positive feeding relationship between the mother and child.
Points To Remember:
You should feed the baby at least 8 to 10 times in a day until six weeks. It is normal for babies to have several feedings in a short period. They also have a habit of napping between the feeds. It is called ‘cluster feeding.’ Cluster feeding is common in the late afternoon and evening. Skin to skin contact will let you learn your baby is feeding cues quickly. A baby’s growth spurt happens at around two to three weeks, six weeks, three months and six months. Growth spurt usually lasts 2 to 3 days. Babies tend to feed more at these times. Try to feed your baby before he starts crying. It is easier to position and latch your baby to the breast when he is not upset and crying.
If you suspect that your baby is hungry but are unsure, then there is no harm in offering a feed. Putting your baby to the breast will not only feed the baby, but will also comfort and reassure him. It will not get your baby into any sick or needy habits.
Once you learn your baby’s body language, parenting will get a lot easier. Learning to read the cues will take some time. Do not expect it to be perfect all the time. You only need to respond consistently, so that the baby knows that you love him.
We hope you find our article helpful. How did you understand your baby’s hunger cues? Please tell us in the comment section below.
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