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Thread: tired vs hungry questions

  1. #1

    Default tired vs hungry questions

    First time poster here. My son is 5 weeks old and I am a first time mom and he is exclusively breast fed. I just watched the Oprah clip with the woman who deciphered baby cries (hungry vs tired vs gassy, etc.). I'm worried that I can't tell the difference between his hungry and his tired cries. I nurse him on demand. LO nurses every 1.5 hours, sometimes every hour, and I usually nurse him to sleep or close to it (he'll fall asleep in my arms or my husband's arms after we rock him). Sometimes I'll recognize his cry as tiredness but if I try and rock him he'll scream at me and try and eat my arm until I feed him. I'm not that concerned about being his pacifier (he won't take a pacifier... He spits them out). But I'm wondering if I'm doing him a disservice or starting bad habits by feeding him so frequently or nursing him to sleep. I guess I'm just looking for reassurance or any suggestions you all might have to change these habits.

    As a side note, he's gaining weight just fine and latches on okay and I have no supply, engorgement, or let down issues.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: tired vs hungry questions

    rooting (trying to eat your arm) I would take as a feeding cue. Often it is easier to tell hungry by earlier cues before it reaches the Screaming/crying stage.
    My 7 week old fights sleep like it's killing him sometimes but he will also dream feed or nurse in his sleep and for me it is usually easier to put him to sleep by nursing, Daddy has the harder time since he isn't equipped the same way and he has to dance the baby to sleep
    I don't think of it as being a human pacifier but rather babies who take pacifiers are the ones being given the fake. My son won't take a pacifier either.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: tired vs hungry questions

    Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new baby!

    Forget the Oprah clip. You don't need to buy what the woman in the clip was selling. Maybe there is some genius out there who can reliably decipher the difference between a baby's hunger cry and his tired cry or his "I need to poop" cry. I put the likelihood of that ability existing up there with the likelihood of there being space aliens and Bigfoot.

    One reason why I don't think anyone can truly tell the difference is that breastfed babies rarely want just one thing. A hungry baby cries for food- that one's obvious. But a tired baby cries not just for sleep but for mom to comfort him to sleep with the breast, because that is the most effective way of getting to sleep. The breast is the solution to pretty much all mothering challenges, at least with a young infant. And there is nothing- NOTHING!- wrong with that. Nursing on demand does not build "bad habits". Texting while driving, picking your nose- those are bad habits. Nursing is not. It's merely the most natural way for a baby to meet all his needs- for food, for comfort, for warmth, for reassurance, for closeness with mom.

    This stage of life won't last forever. When your baby is older, you will naturally discover new and different ways to meet his needs, and he will develop ways of soothing himself that don't include the breast. There's no need to hurry those changes along, and trying to do so will probably make both you and your baby miserable. You will feel driven to respond to his cries, and he won't understand why you won't.

    In short, don't let some lady from the TV convince you that your instincts are wrong. Because they're not. You're doing just right- and the proof is in the pudding. No letdown issues, baby's gaining weight, supply is good- that didn't happen by accident!
    Last edited by @llli*mommal; May 2nd, 2014 at 07:34 PM.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: tired vs hungry questions

    Hi congratulations on dear baby!

    with pps- nursing feeds baby, comforts baby, entertains baby, shows baby how much you love him, and puts baby to sleep. This is all by nature's brilliant design, as nature knows it is hard to be a baby and a mom and gives us this amazing tool to help make things simple.

    So no need to tell the difference in what cries mean assuming there is some universally consistent difference which I highly doubt. Just nurse. If your baby does not want to nurse, he won't. That is when you do all that rocking and walking etc.

    The theory that it is in any way wrong or damaging to nurse a child to sleep or allow baby to "use" mom as a pacifier is....one I do not share. Certainly, there is no proof of any such harm. Pacifiers are a replacement for mother, not the other way around.

    And no one knows your baby better than you do.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; May 2nd, 2014 at 08:13 PM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: tired vs hungry questions

    Agree with pp. I heard all the same things soon after DS was born a few months ago. I thought for sure I was creating this baby monster by nursing him to sleep but I also wanted to sleep and the fastest way for me to sleep was for him to sleep and the fastest way to do that was to nurse him to sleep at night. This month he's decided no nursing to sleep. He wants to talk to his hands. Next month, who knows what he will want.

    I also heard all about the different cries and I still can't tell you whether he's crying for food, a diaper change, or just because. I do know that nursing will fix most if his reasons for crying.

    Congratulations on the new baby! I wouldn't worry and enjoy the snuggles.

  6. #6

    Default Re: tired vs hungry questions

    Thanks everyone. You have validated my feelings! I just finished skimming through the Baby Whisperer book and it made me feel like I was making all sorts of mistakes.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: tired vs hungry questions

    While reading, research, more info and the advice of others can sometimes be helpful, Always Remember that you are the parent and your instincts and what seems to work with you and your family trumps what some book says or some "expert" on TV and definitely trumps "well meaning" advice from friends, relatives, strangers, or even sometimes your doctors.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: tired vs hungry questions

    This review of the Baby Whisperer book explains why it's best avoided: http://kellymom.com/parenting/review...babywhisperer/
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: tired vs hungry questions

    In my 10 years as a parent I have probably read or skimmed at least 25 parenting books.

    I really like Dr. Sears The Baby Book, as it covers the typical health concerns and that kind of stuff as well as talking about things like baby wearing and co-sleeping. And of course The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding has lots of good parenting info as well since breastfeeding mothers mother through breastfeeding.

    But if I was stuck on a desert island with a kid I was responsible to raise from baby to adulthood, and could have only ONE parenting book, it would be "Kiss Me: How to raise your children with love" by Carlos Gonzalez, also a pediatrician. Besides the immense wisdom and understanding in what he says about babies and children, and his eye-opening explanations of various 'theories' about raising children and where they originate, it's also the most pleasurable to read parenting book I have ever read. Also probably one of the shortest.

    And of course, there is the option of never reading any parenting book ever. Your baby isn't reading any "How to be a baby" books, and it's not hurting him any!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: tired vs hungry questions

    I have yet to read a single parenting book and my 3.5 month old is doing fine (except for being stepped on by the dog last night...find me a book that tells you what to do when that happens and maybe I'll read it ).

    I am a firm believer in trusting your instincts. God (or Nature if you prefer) didn't write any parenting books. He gave us our arms, our breasts and our instincts. Babies are good at telling us what they need. If we ignore that I believe we threaten to damage our attachment and breastfeeding relationships.

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