Breastfeeding Newborns – Recognizing Hunger Cues

Newborns Breastfeeding How to Your Understand Hunger Cues

In my last post about breastfeeding newborns, I went over how often newborns need Breastfeeding & nurse. But how do you come to know when your baby is ready to serve? One of the easiest ways to make the whole breastfeeding experience go better for both you and your baby is to recognize the baby’s hunger cues before he has a chance to get to the point of crying because he is hungry.

An upset baby causes mom to be more stressed out. Babies can sense this, which makes the baby even more upset. These are not ideal conditions for breastfeeding. If you are easy upon, your milk will let down faster, and if the baby is relaxed, she can latch on properly and begin nursing without a struggle. While it’s not always conceivable to avoid a hungry, crying baby, you will find that the session will be much more positive if you start feeding before the baby becomes too frustrated to be calm.

What are the hunger cues you should be looking for?

Most babies have early-stage cues they display and late-stage cues. The last step is crying, which is the point where it can be harder for you and your baby to relax. Watching for these cues in your baby can save you a lot of time and frustration at a nursing time:

Licking lips, sticking out the tongue or sucking on lips

• Opening and closing mouth

• Puckering lips

• Sucking on fingers or fists

• Nuzzling the chest of whoever is holding them

• Rooting reflex (baby turns her head toward stimulation when stroked on the cheek)

• Excessive squirming and restlessness

• Fussiness

• Moving the head speedily from side to side

• Crying

Most babies will display some, if not all, of these signals, but all babies are different. My son will suck or chew on his fists, then get to the squirmy/restless phase, then on to crying. When my girl was a baby, she would pretty much go through many of the cues in this list in order every time.

Again, crying is the last stage and is often the one you get to before realizing your baby is hungry. The other steps are pretty straightforward, though, so if you catch your baby at one of the earlier stages, you are much more likely to get a successful latch and nursing session.


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