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Newborn feeding hunger cues

Did you know that most newborns breastfeed on demand?

That means parents and caregivers follow baby’s lead and feed as the baby shows hunger cues. The first few days after birth may be filled with back-to-back feeds (often referred to as cluster feeding), but soon things will soon settle down and fall into a nice rhythm. While it is normal for babies to be hungry every 2-3 hours, it’s very helpful to familiarize yourself with baby’s hunger cues so you’re not just relying on the clock to tell you when baby’s hungry.


Newborn Baby yawning while laying in bed

Newborn Baby Signs of Hunger Cues May Include

  • Lip smacking/mouthing
  • Sticking out their tongue
  • Opening the mouth
  • Rooting (nuzzling their head from side to side, looking for the nipple)
  • Bringing their fist to their mouth

Crying is considered a late baby feeding cue

A fussing baby is a hangry baby: they’re starting to get frustrated and may soon be too hungry and distracted to latch on to the breast. Paying attention to those earlier hunger cues will lead to less tears for everyone. If you happen to miss the early signs of hunger and baby is very upset, don’t fret. Placing baby skin-to-skin before attempting to feed helps to calm them down and get them ready for latching.

Feeding babies can stress out new moms! Think of your baby as a source of knowledge. Yes, your baby will let you know whether he/she is hungry or full and satisfied through many cues.

And remember, don’t worry if you miss the cues at times. Each baby is different and has different ways of letting their mothers know what they want. With time you get to know your baby better than anybody else.

At Mothers’ Milk Bank Austin, we encourage moms to take this one feeding at a time, remembering that you’re on a learning journey with your baby. Breastfeeding truly gets easier and better from feed to feed, day to day, and week to week.

freezing breast milk


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