Newborns are always hungry and need to eat often – and we mean really, really often. According to WebMD, babies will probably want to nurse every 1.5 to 3 hours if you’re breastfeeding. Moreover, they should be fed 8-12 times a day for the first month and 7-9 times a day when they become 4 to 8 weeks old.
But fret not, the time between feedings increases as your infant grows older.
But how can you tell if your baby is hungry? While babies can’t exactly tell you when they’re hungry, there are several hunger cues you should look out for:
- Sucking on hands, fingers, or clothing
- Licking lips
- Rooting around the breast/chest of the person carrying him
- Opening and closing the mouth/ sticking out tongue
- Making “mmmm” sounds
- Niggling or fussing
- Head bobbing
- Punching the person carrying him and looking worried
- Squirming, fidgeting or trying to position himself for a feed
If you ignore all these early signs, then your baby will sort to his ultimate weapon – crying. As the Baby Gooroo explains, crying is a late sign of hunger and babies who have to cry before being fed usually breastfed poorly and often fall asleep at the breast after a short time.
“Crying, with increasing tension, is a last resort,” says International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, (IBCLC) Nan Jolly. “You’ll probably need to feed your baby more than you’ll expect. Remember that, in the womb, the placenta supplied oxygen, food, fluid and protection, 24/7.”