How to Tell if Your Baby Is Hungry: 6 Signs to Watch Out For
The common signs that a baby is ready to feed...
25 December 2019
What are the signs that your baby is hungry? Here's what you shouldn't miss...
Babies can be hard-to-read little humans, possessing their own hunger cues that are sometimes easy to identify, like when they're crying or are looking for a breast to start feeding, while others are easy to miss - such as infants putting their hand in their mouth or wriggling.
You may have heard that your little one needs to be nursed perhaps every 2-3 hours; an idea of timed, feeding schedules that we as adults are familiar with - breakfast in the morning, lunch in the afternoon, and dinner in the evening. However, a healthy baby will give you signs that he or she is hungry. Signs to watch out for rather than the clock.
It's very important to catch these "quiet" infant hunger signs before they shift into "active" infant hunger signs. Missing these early cues will urge your newborn to begin crying for your attention until they're red in the face.
At first, for new mums, your newborn's hunger cues may be hard to recognise, but over time the hints will become easier to identify. Here are the 6 signs your baby is hungry and is ready for feeding.
1. Turning to your breast while they're being held
When you hold your baby and they keep trying to turn their head towards your breast or the direction of your nipple, it's a sure signal your little one is hungry. This behaviour usually happens after several weeks from birth when your baby has realised where to get his or her milk from.
2. The baby is making faces
Is their nose itchy? Do they smell something funny? Are they just being their adorable baby-selves? When an infant is making faces, it's typically a sign that they're hungry. A baby often sucking on their lips or tongue shows they want to drink.
3. Putting hand in the mouth
This is one of those subtle baby hunger cues that are often easy to overlook. Placing their fingers or hand in their mouth is another way of letting you know that they're ready to feed - it's also an early sign of hunger. When you see this action, you've got just enough time to fix him or her some baby formula if they're being bottle-fed.
4. Moving around
If he or she is moving their arms and legs all around, squirming, fidgeting, and fussing - your baby is beginning to enter "active" infant hunger signs. Restlessness might show they're starting to feel uncomfortably hungry and are thus moving around to get your attention. The more frantic their movements are, the more urgently you need to start feeding the baby.
5. Making little sounds
Making little sounds like sighing, whimpering, and cooing, is also part of their gradual shift into "active" infant hunger signs. Once your infant begins to fuss and is vocal, you might notice their breathing getting faster as they slowly start to get agitated.
Crying is a late sign of a baby feeling hungry. By the time they're crying, your little one is probably already very hungry, frustrated, and stressed. They may turn away from a bottle or refuse to latch on and breastfeed because they're too tense, which can be quite hard to calm down.
A crying baby uses more energy, so they will feel tired and not feel like feeding. It's recommended to try your best to keep a lookout for the early and middle signs of an infant's hunger before they start to cry.