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How to know if your baby is hungry

14 July 2017 Blog
Our breastfeeding guides help you prepare for your breastfeeding journey as well as providing helpful tips for getting started or managing any issues.

Did you know babies feed for comfort and closeness not just to satisfy their hunger or thirst?

However there are subtle signs and gestures your baby will make to let you know when they are hungry.

Here are some things that your baby might do to indicate that it might be time for a feed:

  • Smacking their lips
  • Nuzzling your chest
  • Sucking on their fist
  • Being restless (especially when just having woken up)
  • Turning their head from side to side (as if looking for somewhere to latch on)

As your baby grow their cues may become more obvious and you will learn to look out for, so don’t worry if their signs are not on this list.

If my baby cries, are they hungry?

When your baby cries for a feed this is usually the last resort. By this time, they can be stressed and difficult to breastfeed.

So it is important to learn your baby’s more subtle feeding cues so you can meet their needs before they cry.

How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?

You know your baby best, but some of the signs that your baby is getting enough milk include:

  • Is feeding at least six to eight feeds in 24 hours
  • Has six to eight wet nappies in 24 hours
  • Does soft poos
  • Is looking bright, alert and contented
  • Is sleeping in the 24 hour period and gaining weight satisfactorily

If your baby opens their mouth wider when feeding (as if to get more in) or seems to be smiling, congratulations - these are both signs of a contented infant who has exactly what they wanted.

Did you know?

Your breasts will continue to produce milk as your baby suckles. The more your baby feeds the more milk you will make.

Michelle Luxford - Nurse manager and midwife

Michelle Luxford is a nurse manager, registered midwife, lactation consultant and clinical nurse educator at Hawkesbury District Health Service. She has worked as a midwife for almost 30 years and has a particular interest in breastfeeding and caring for women and their newborns.