Early Feeding Cues

By Krista Gray, IBCLC. Last updated February 21, 2013.

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Early feeding cues include wiggling, alertness, and hands to mouth.

Crying is a baby’s last resort to tell you he is hungry.  Learning the early feeding cues can help you know when he is hungry and allow you to feed him before he gets upset, which can always make latching on and nursing more challenging.

Early feeding cues your baby is hungry include the following:

  • Moving his eyes
  • Increased alertness
  • Bringing hands to mouth
  • Sucking fists or blanket
  • Wriggling, licking, physical activity
  • Making murmuring noises
  • Rooting – turning head side to side

You cannot feed your baby too often.  Frequent nursing encourages a strong milk supply and allows your baby to quickly become more comfortable with it.  It develops a strong bond and is associated with many positive health outcomes for both mother and baby.

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