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    Mom, I’m Hungry! Understanding Your Baby’s Feeding Cues

    Lorien A., MPT, OCS 09/05/2018
    Once you are home from the hospital, your daily routine will most likely revolve around feeding your baby. How do you know if your baby wants to eat or not? If you know what to look for or “feeding cues,” can make this easier to figure out when baby is hungry. Generally, babies will want to eat every two to four hours once you are home from the hospital. The goal is to notice your baby’s cues before he is crying, because crying is a late sign that baby is hungry.
    Here are some ways that your baby may be trying to tell you he is hungry!
    Early Signs:
    • Baby starts to move arms and legs in his sleep
    • You see your baby’s eyes moving behind his eyelids while sleeping
    Time to Feed:
    • Starts to make mouth movements
    • Starts to wake up and stay awake
    • Baby starts to root, or turns head if you touch his cheek or when he feels a blanket or clothing on his cheek
    • Brings hands to mouth
    • Starts to suck on his fingers or hands
    Late Signs:
    • Jerky movements in his arms or legs when he is awake
    • Fussing or crying
    Your baby is the best judge of when his belly is empty and when it is full. Therefore, it is important to look for these feeding cues so that you can feed your baby when he is hungry. It may be easier to learn your baby’s cues if he is not using a pacifier, because sometimes a pacifier can cover up feeding cues. If you have concerns that your baby is not waking up to eat, not staying awake long enough to eat, or is having slow weight gain, you should talk with your baby’s doctor. An evaluation may be helpful to offer suggestions on how to help your baby get all of their nutrients!

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