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Thread: Does Sucking fingers always=hunger?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013

    Default Does Sucking fingers always=hunger?

    My baby is 2 weeks old and has started sucking his fingers. He is not fussy or vigorously sucking just calmly sucking for a few minutes. Does this necessarily mean he's hungry? For instance I just fed him. He only took one breast for 20 min and refused to take the other after burping. We laid him down and he started sucking his finger for a few minutes before passing out. Should I try to wake him to nurse or is this sucking just a reflex/self-soothing method? He normally starts to fuss and tries to put his whole hand in his mouth when he is really ready to nurse. He sucked his fingers in utero. I should also mention he was 5 weeks premature. We had some feeding issues to start but he has now started gaining weight rapidly and he wets and dirties several diapers a day... Maybe 5-7 wet and 5-6 dirty. Stools look normal...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Does Sucking fingers always=hunger?

    No, it is not always a sign baby is hungry. He has probably been sucking his fingers since long before birth, and he was not hungry then!

    ON the other hand, it never hurts to offer to nurse. Babies nurse for reasons other than hunger and this type of nursing pattern (very frequent) is perfectly normal and healthy and needed for healthy breastfeeding in the early weeks especially. And it is entirely normal for a baby to want to nurse again after just nursing. Since baby is pooping and gaining normally, there are no worries, so you need not wake baby, but you can certainly try to bring baby to the breast when he does this and see what happens. Babies can and do latch and nurse in thier sleep, and there is never a reason to wait until baby starts fussing or gives a huge obvious cue to nurse. You can nurse whenever you like, and at baby's earliest cues. Nursing gives your baby comfort and pleasure and, if nursing is comfortable for mom, gives mom comfort and pleasure too, so no need to limit nursing in any way.

    IS nursing comfortable for you now? What were the feeding issues?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: Does Sucking fingers always=hunger?

    with LLLMeg. Finger sucking is a reliable hunger cue for many newborns, but not all. It never hurts to nurse, though, so if you have any doubt about why your LO is sucking his hands, nurse him!

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