4 Signs Your Baby Is Hungry (and Needs To Be Fed)!

4 Signs Your Baby Is Hungry (& Needs To Be Fed)!

Learning your new baby’s hunger cues is very important for “on-demand” or “cue-based” breastfeeding. 

In the video below, Sarah Trinajstich discusses 4 signs you should look for to tell if your baby is hungry.

If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.

What is “cue-based” breastfeeding?

While it can take time to learn, cue-based feeding is the method of allowing your baby to determine when it is ready to breastfeed. In my professional opinion, this is the most effective way to ensure that your baby is getting enough milk. It also helps your body reach maximum milk production

RELATED: What You Need To Know About Your Newborn’s Stomach Size

Also, putting your baby on a strict feeding schedule can lead to a poorly nourished baby, engorged, aching breasts, and a less enjoyable breastfeeding experience.

Here are 4 signs to watch for that will tell you your baby is ready to go to the breast:

1) Your baby is awake and looking around.

Newborns do little else other than eat, sleep, pee, and poop. If your newborn is awake, they most likely are ready to eat.

2) Your baby is lip licking or mouth smacking.

Odds are you’re familiar with this look (babies do it A LOT). If you’re not, it almost looks like they are sticking their tongue at you or opening and closing their mouth to get your attention.

3) Your baby is putting hands in their mouth.

This may even look like they are trying to latch onto their hands.

4) Your baby is crying.

This final sign usually means your baby is frustrated that their other cues have not been noticed. It is much more difficult to latch a frustrated, upset baby. Try to calm them before attempting to latch.

RELATED: 6 Steps For Getting a Comfortable and Effective Breastfeeding Latch

Baby’s body language

The more you pay attention to your baby’s body language, the more in-tune you will be with your baby’s needs. You’ll eventually know the difference between a hunger cue, a dirty diaper cry, or a cry that says “I just want to cuddle.”

“Cue-based” or “on-demand” feeding is ideal, however, it will take time to easily recognize all their hunger cues.

Lastly, check and see if your newborn doing one of the following:

  • Sleeping longer than 3 hours.
  • Is having trouble being woken up to feed.
  • Is having less than 8 feeds in 24 hours.
  • Not eager to breastfeed when awake.

If so, professional help is recommended and it’s time to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician or certified lactation consultant! 

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Hi, my name is Sarah Trinajstich. I'm a registered dietitian and an international board-certified lactation consultant. I received my bachelor's degree and completed my dietetic internship at California State University Long Beach. I then completed my lactation consultant education at the University San Diego Extension. I believe in the power of good nutrition from the moment of conception and the importance of breastfeeding, not only for babies nutrition but for the bonding and physical benefits to baby and mom. There is no greater satisfaction for me than to help a mother and her baby breastfeed successfully. Breastfeeding is more than what the body does without thinking. It involves skills that mom and baby learn together. I look forward to help ease the learning curve!