Baby's Hunger Cues
Learn how to tell when your baby is hungry—or full.
As a new mom, you may be wondering how often and how much to feed your baby. Your baby will give you signs to let you know when they are hungry and full. It may take some time, but you'll learn exactly what these signs are. Your WIC breastfeeding staff can help you learn your baby's cues.
Signs Your Baby is Hungry
Watch for these signs that your baby is hungry, and then feed baby right away:
- Fists moving to mouth.
- Head turning to look for the breast.
- Becoming more alert and active.
- Sucking on hands or lip smacking.
- Opening and closing mouth.
Many moms think crying is the only sign that their baby is hungry. But, it’s actually a sign of distress. Hungry babies will show signs of hunger before they begin to cry. Watching for and responding early to your baby’s hunger signs may help prevent them from crying. Once baby is crying, it can be harder to latch.
Signs Your Baby is Full
It's important to let your baby nurse until they're full. Some signs that babies are done eating are:
- Baby releases or "falls off" your breast.
- Baby turns away from your nipple.
- Baby relaxes their body and opens their fists.
If your baby finishes eating on one breast and seems full, try burping your baby and changing their diaper (if needed), then offer the other breast. If your baby doesn't seem interested or doesn't want to latch, they may not be hungry anymore. Some babies may eat from both sides at every feeding, while others may only eat from one side.