Is my baby hungry?

Babies often cry, and babies are often hungry.  So people often assume that a crying baby is a hungry baby.  In fact, babies cry for lots of reasons – click here for some of these, and advice on whether it is a problem

Crying is actually what is called a “late feeding cue”, which means that babies try and let us know they are hungry in other ways first.  Every baby does this differently, and it can take time to get to know how your baby communicates.

It is worth doing this as it makes life easier for you, and for your baby, and also often makes the feeding process easier too.

Your baby might be wanting to be fed if you see:

  • rooting – turning head and opening mouth as if looking for a feed
  • licking – sticking out tongue or licking lips
  • becoming more and more alert
  • flexing arms as legs as if having a good stretch
  • taking hands to mouth and maybe sucking on fist, fingers or mouth

Bear in mind that some of these might mean instead that your baby is ready for play or a chat.  If your baby has recently been fed, then it is probably something else.

Parents often worry about getting this right – if your baby turns out not to be hungry, you’ll see quite quickly.

What matters to your baby is not that you get it right every time, but that he/she can see you are trying to work out what he/she’s trying to tell you.