Hunger cues and what they mean

Hunger cues are easy to spot if you know what you are looking for, your baby is much more likely to feed well if he is fed at the early stage of feeling hungry rather than the late stage, this is because the hungrier he gets the more likely he is to be irritable or upset and he may not have a full feed because of it.

Stage one – Early signs your baby is getting hungry

  • Opening and closing her mouth
  • Licking her lips or smacking them
  • Sucking on her fingers, hands, toys, lips etc. (this is a reliable cue up to around 6-8 weeks)
  • Stage two – Signs your baby really needs feeding

  • He is ‘rooting’ on the chest or arm of the person holding him
  • He is fidgeting more than usual
  • He is trying to position himself for feeding (ie lying back or pulling you closer)
  • He is repeatedly banging his arms or head against you
  • His breaths are shorter and faster
  • Stage three – You have left it too late

  • She is frantically moving her head from side to side
  • She is crying and is inconsolable
  • Feeding on demand is the best way to ensure your newborn never has hunger pains and never has to cry for her food. By spotting the early signs, or if not, the later signs (stage two), you are not only keeping your baby well nourished but boosting his confidence by letting him know he is able to influence the people around him to tend to his most basic of needs.