Feeding and nutrition

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Feeding and nutrition

How can I tell when my baby is hungry?

Babies give us cues that they are hungry before they start crying. It might take some time to recognise your little one’s specific pattern. You can notice the more subtle cues by keeping them close initially.

Look for these feeding cues to know when your little one is hungry:

  • Early cues: ‘I’m hungry’ – stirring, mouth opening, head turning and seeking/rooting (opening their mouth as though they are about to feed)
  • Mid cues: ‘I’m really hungry!’ – stretching, increased physical movements, hand moving to mouth.
  • Late cues: ‘Calm me, then feed me’ – crying, agitated body movements, colour turning red.

Feeding at an early stage is ideal as your little one is calm and can attach effectively. By the later stage, your little one might be too upset to feed effectively. You may need to calm them with skin-to-skin contact, stroking, cuddling or talking before they are calm enough to feed.

See these cues in action in this clip from Babycentre UK:

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