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Thread: How to tell when baby is hungry?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Default How to tell when baby is hungry?

    I feel kind of silly asking about this with a 3 month old baby, but here we go anyways.

    So, DS is outgrowing his rooting reflex and I've really been struggling to know when he's hungry! He chews on his hands 90% of the time so that's not a very good indicator.

    In the meantime, I've been feeding him every 2.5 hours or so, unless he's asleep, and then right when he wakes up. But since he'll always willingly latch on I don't have a sense of whether the timing is right. And I don't want to encourage him to "snack" rather than having a full meal, to make sure he gets the hindmilk and drains the breast fully.

    He's definitely getting enough to eat, I'm just hoping for some pointers as we fine-tune our routine. Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Default Re: How to tell when baby is hungry?

    my DD is 8 months old and I still don't know when she's hungry. I usually just feed her when she wakes up and before she goes to sleep, because she's a very active, distracted nurser. I also just make sure she doesn't go more than 3-4 hours w/o at least offering. Sometimes I still dreamfeed, too, if I get uncomfortable.
    Full time working mama to a precious
    Due date was 05/02/2011 - born 04/04/2011 at 36 weeks exactly.
    and 14 months and still going strong

  3. #3
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    May 2011
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    la paz, bolivia
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    Default Re: How to tell when baby is hungry?

    baby girl will be 8 mos. tomorrow and i still find it a little difficult at times. basically if she's rubbing her eyes, is all of a sudden cranky or crying, if it's been more than 3 hours, or if my breasts tingle/leak, i offer her to nurse and usually she goes right for it. oh and if she crawls over and starts gnawing on my knees or shoulders then i offer too!
    ♥♥♥♥ baby girl born 4-14-2011 ♥♥♥♥
    ♥♥♥♥ baby girl born 11-14-2013 ♥♥♥♥

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to tell when baby is hungry?

    Increased crankiness, unwillingness to accept alternate ways of soothing, acting tired, crying- those can be good cues that your baby néeds to eat. Hopefully you never get to crying, which is a late indicator of hunger.

    Do not worry for one more moment about "snacking". Not even one. Frequent small meals (a.k.a. snacks) are the normal eating pattern of babies, toddlers, and small children. They are especially normal for breastfed babies because breastmilk digests fast and infant tummies are tiny, and because frequent eating helps maintain nice even blood sugar levels. Only older children and adults can be expected to have an eating pattern where they take in infrequent, large meals, and it's probably not ideal for them, either. There's research which shows that people who don't snack take in more calories overall and are more likely to overeat than those who eat more frequent and smaller meals.

    The other thing you don't need to worry about is the hindmilk. Trust your baby! He will be able to get the hindmilk he needs as long as you allow him to set his own time limits at the breast. There's no reason to think that a "meal" pattern of eating encourages more hindmilk consumption or more thorough emptying of the breast. You actually cannot offer the breast too much!
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  5. #5
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: How to tell when baby is hungry?

    It sounds like your routine is fine as it is, if it works for you and your baby

    Mommal has given you a lot of good information, so I'll just add this: when my DS wants to nurse, he gets *active*. He wants to be held, but he's so incredibly wiggly. I should add that he's normally really wiggly, but when he wants to nurse, he won't tolerate being put down. It's like he's trying to get my attention. He's almost 10 months old, and when he's with me, he wants to nurse every 1.5-2 hrs, sometimes even more often than that, including at night. So he's probably a total "snacker", but he's so active, I think he burns through the calories really quickly.

    Babies are awesome self-regulators when it comes to eating, so offer whenever you like, and trust your baby to take what he needs.
    First time mom to DS, born 2/21/2011.

    due with #2 6/26/2014

    Currently , .

  6. #6

    Default Re: How to tell when baby is hungry?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*wiggle.bug View Post
    It sounds like your routine is fine as it is, if it works for you and your baby

    Mommal has given you a lot of good information, so I'll just add this: when my DS wants to nurse, he gets *active*. He wants to be held, but he's so incredibly wiggly. I should add that he's normally really wiggly, but when he wants to nurse, he won't tolerate being put down. It's like he's trying to get my attention. He's almost 10 months old, and when he's with me, he wants to nurse every 1.5-2 hrs, sometimes even more often than that, including at night.So he's probably a total "snacker", but he's so active, I think he burns through the calories really quickly.

    Babies are awesome self-regulators when it comes to eating, so offer whenever you like, and trust your baby to take what he needs.
    This is my DD too. You really can never offer too much.
    ~Tiffany~

    Truly blessed by God
    Wife to Will
    First Time Mom to C 2/18/11
    Made it 6 Mos. EBF Now enjoying BLS
    My baby is a year old now!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to tell when baby is hungry?

    I always offered the breast at the first sign of fussiness, clinginess, neediness, whatever. Sometimes Joe wasn't hungry, and wouldn't take it, but it was always my first response to everything.


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to tell when baby is hungry?

    Boob-diving--it's like wiggling with a purpose. All three of mine did it--when I am holding the baby he is much more interested in my front than what his siblings are doing.
    I am Erin--happily married to the nerd of my dreams for 15 years
    High School Science Teacher
    Mother to: Thing 1 9/23/01, bf 15 mo, diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma 1/29/02, officially cancer free for ten years in August 2012
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    Glowworm 2/18/11, bf 15 months and counting

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to tell when baby is hungry?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*scienceteachermommy View Post
    Boob-diving--it's like wiggling with a purpose. All three of mine did it--when I am holding the baby he is much more interested in my front than what his siblings are doing.
    Yeah, if your baby is banging his head repeatedly into your chest, that's always a good sign too!


    You can call me JoMo!

    Mom to baby boy Joe, born 5/4/09 and breastfed for more than two and a half years, and baby girl Maggie, born 7/9/12.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to tell when baby is hungry?

    If you offer and he doesn't want it, either for food or comfort, he won't latch on. Don't worry about over-feeding.

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