One of the biggest fears a new mother has is that her child is going hungry. And their anxiety is understandable as they are their only source of nutrition for their little ones which can be a lot of pressure, especially if they are exclusively breastfeeding. Moreover, your baby is still way too small to be able to communicate with you efficiently. So most of the time you are just guessing if they are full or not which can be stressful and frustrating. But there are some telltale signs that can help you figure out if your baby is full or hungry. Your baby may not be able to talk or even coo but they are capable of showing visible signs to express if they are hungry or not. However, it is up to you to interpret them. So what are these signs and how can you be sure that your baby is full or hungry? If you’d like these questions answered, read on!
How To Understand If A Newborn Is Hungry
Long before the baby learns to speak, they will be giving signs to the parents indicating whether they are hungry or full. You know your baby is hungry when they start crying but this is usually a late sign of hunger. And experts recommend that you notice more subtle signs to gauge if they are hungry. Babies have a strong sucking reflex that they need in order to feed and sticking out their tongue may be a telltale sign that it might be time to eat (again). Babies don’t immediately start crying when they are hungry. Instead, they try to give their parents more subtle hints to pick up on. They may try putting their hands in their mouth, smacking their lips together, moving towards the bottle or your breasts and sticking their tongue out. It is important to keep an eye out for these gestures as they are the only way in which your infant can communicate their needs to you. So even something like sticking their tongue out may be a sign that they need to be fed soon.
Here are some other signs to look out for:
- Bringing their hands to their mouth or sucking their fingers
- Turning their head in search of the breast or a bottle
- Squeezing their lips, licking or smacking them
- Clenching their hands
- Opening and closing their mouth actively
- Putting their head on the mother’s chest while being held
- Becoming unusually alert and active which can result in not sleeping for a long time
- Pulling up their legs
- Squirming around restlessly
Your baby can demonstrate either some or all of the aforementioned signs of hunger. Make sure you monitor how the baby behaves between feeding sessions so that you can start to easily recognise the signals your newborn is sending you.
How To Tell If Your Baby Is Full
It is equally important to know when to stop feeding the baby. Feeding your baby excessively can lead to a plethora of problems including digestive issues. Although it is important to let your baby suck the breasts until they are full, it is equally important to notice signs that they have had enough. Here’s how to get the food coma alert. If your baby is in the process of eating or has just eaten, they may stick out their tongue to indicate that they are full and want to stop eating now. It’s part of that content food coma look that your baby gets after a nice long feeding session. But how do you distinguish between your baby being hungry and your baby being content if they employ the same gesture for both scenarios? Study their body language. If your baby tries to pull away, looks irritated, or even starts crying, it’s a sign that they have already had enough food.
Here are a couple more signs to look out for:
- They stops eating and starts to “fall off” the mother’s breasts
- They stop eating on their own and removes themselves from the breasts
- They turn away from the breasts or the feeding bottle
- They start to relax and stop clenching their hands
- They stop sucking and you feel that there is less milk in the breasts
However, if you still have doubts if your baby is done eating and is full for the time being, try to help them let the air out and then offer them another breast or bottle. A full baby won’t show any interest in food, while a baby who is still hungry won’t refuse the food. And then you will have your answer for sure!
Taking after a baby is no easy task, especially during those first few months when they are fragile and wholly dependent on you. But at least now you will not have to stress about figuring out if your baby is full or still hungry. Happy parenting!