Signs of Hunger in Newborn Babies
Babies are usually good communicators. The trouble is we don’t often pay attention or know what to look out for. The following are common signs that your baby is hungry:
- Baby keeps opening the mouth
- Sticking out the tongue
- Making sucking movements
- Baby is constantly bringing their hands up to their mouth and chewing their hands
- Moving their limbs as though crawling or cycling in the air
- Turning their head towards the chest or breast of whoever is carrying them
- Crying and being irritable. Crying is a late sign of hunger and some babies may get so worked up that they won’t want to latch onto your breast or teat of the bottle or they could latch onto your nipple in their haste and annoyance. This, I assure you, will bring you exquisite pain.
A satisfied baby is relaxed with inactive limbs, may turn away from your chest, lets go from breast or bottle feeding, and falls asleep.
Babies tend to cluster feed at times when they are experiencing rapid growth. Cluster feeding is characterized by showing signs of hunger more frequently than usual (frequently observed by mothers who schedule their baby feeding times at intervals as opposed to feeding the baby on demand).
What is Cluster Feeding?
Cluster feeding is when the baby seems to be hungry and wants to feed frequently over a short period of time. It is very normal with newborn babies.
A baby who usually feeds every 3 hours may demand food every 2 hours for a span of 3 days. For breastfeeding mothers, it’s nature’s way of increasing your milk supply by demanding more milk from you in response to your baby’s next stage of growth characterized by the need for larger quantities of milk. Growth spurts can be observed at 2 days old, 3 months old, and 6- 9 months old.
How can I tell if my baby is getting enough?
This is a question asked by new mums all over the world. Newborn feeding constantly leads to friction between new mothers and their mothers and mothers-in-law in Nigeria. The anxiety this causes tempts us to introduce water or formula in the first few days of life when our actual goal was to breastfeed exclusively.
These conflicts stem from:
- Lack of knowledge of individual and general signs of hunger and feeding patterns in your newborn.
- Inadequate knowledge of the normal progression of weight gain/fluctuations
- Lack of knowledge of the signs that a baby is being adequately nourished.
- Poor infant feeding practices or alternatives when challenges arise.