Your Baby’s Hunger Cues:
- Smacking or licking lips
- Opening and closing mouth
- Sucking on the lips, tongue, hands, fingers, toes, toys, or clothing
Active Feeding Cues
- Rooting around on the chest of whoever is carrying him
- Trying to position for nursing, either by lying back or pulling on your clothes
- Fidgeting or squirming around a lot
- Hitting you on the arm or chest repeatedly
- Fussing or breathing fast
Late Feeding Cues (calm baby before feeding)
- Moving head frantically from side to side
“My newborn wants to sleep all the time! Should I wake her to nurse?”
Yes, if she doesn’t wake on her own. Many newborns are very sleepy in the early days or weeks and may not exhibit hunger cues as often as they actually need to eat.
Newborns should be nursed anytime they cue hunger, but at least every 2 hours during the day (normal for a newborn to nurse 8-12 times in a 24-hour period).
Once your baby has established a good weight gain pattern (at least 4 ounces per week, for babies under 4 months), you can stop waking baby to nurse and let him set his own pattern.
“My baby just started sleeping longer at night. Do I need to wake him to nurse?”
If your baby is younger than 4 weeks, then it is a good idea to wake baby at least every 4-5 hours at night to nurse if he does not wake on his own. If your child is older than 4 weeks, you can allow baby to sleep as long as he wants at night as long as he is peeing, pooping, and gaining weight within normal parameters.
“My baby frequently sucks on his hands. Does this always mean that he’s hungry?”
After the newborn period, hand sucking is not as reliable an indicator of hunger. Starting at around 6-8 weeks, baby will begin to gain more control over his hands and will soon begin to explore his hands and everything else using his mouth. It is also common for babies to suck on their hands when their gums become tender in preparation for tooth eruption. Symptoms of teething can sometimes occur weeks and even months before the first tooth erupts.
We Can Help You
Call +1 (212) 749-6613 or Email Ruth@DoulaCare.com
Let our Postpartum Doulas help you if your baby is not feeding regularly, having difficulties, or you don’t understand the baby’s cues.
A Doula Care Postpartum Doula is trained and certified to help you with all the normal breastfeeding basics, and your newborn care needs. Trained to assess if a further referral is needed to an IBCLC or breastfeeding medicine physician.