It is every mother’s wish to ensure her baby is well fed and happy. However, although babies cannot indicate their hunger with words, they have hunger signs that can help you to understand baby’s needs.
Identifying your newborn baby’s hunger and feeding can be stressful to any new parent. Once the routine is in order, everything will come into place and leave you feeling more relaxed and knowledgeable.
A baby is the only person who has control of when a feed is required. Their hunger and fullness are regulated internally. Therefore, it is best to pay attention to their hunger or full signals instead of measuring the ounces of formula or timing breast feeding sessions.
Crying is one of the late signs of a baby’s hunger. When a baby is hungry the cry is generally short, low-pitched and rises and falls. However, it’s best to identify other signs in the behavior as sometimes by the time baby starts crying, they won’t be in a mood to feed easily.
Waking up and acting restless
Another sign of a baby being hungry is when he awakes and moves around in the crib and sometimes move his mouth and raise his hand to his face before he begins to belt out a hunger cry.
Sucking on his fist, smacking his lips
If you breast-feed as soon as you see a baby sucking his fist and smacking his lips, he will clasp on more easily.
When baby’s cheeks are stroked during the first few weeks after being born, they naturally turn towards the bottle or breast and make sucking motions with his mouth. But after the 4th month rooting becomes spontaneous rather than an automatic action.
Smiling during feeding
After the 4th month, most babies show their affection and liking to continue feeding by looking at you or smiling while feeding.
Opening mouth while feeding
When a baby is hungry he might continue to suck even after finishing a bottle or breast.
Try to note where the tongue is when they cry. A baby cannot hold a feed when the tongue is up against the roof of her mouth and even if you manage to soothe her to hold on and feed, her sucking is likely to be disorderly or since she may be exhausted from crying and take only a small feed and fall asleep which will probably make her sleep for a very short while and wake for another feed as her little belly gets empty soon.
Breast fed babies are usually fed on demand and breastfeeding is very convenient for both baby and mum when baby’s early hunger signs are identified easily.
It has been researched and proved that responding to signs of feeding a baby has helped in regulating baby’s energy consumption. But if baby’s hints are not taken notice, they are very likely to get confused about their feelings of hunger and fullness and probably lead to eating unhealthy food high in fat and calories heading up a high risk of childhood obesity.