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Thread: hunger cues???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default hunger cues???

    I still don't know my 9 1/2 week old daughter's hunger cues????
    Is there any harm in offering her the breast even if she's not hungry?
    Will she nurse even if she's not hungry (and was crying for some other reason)?
    And at night I am rarely ever awakened by her crying. It's her squirming/grunting that awakens me. I've read that you should feed your baby before she starts to cry, but maybe this just applies for during the day. Because what if I am nursing her when she's not even hungry and just going through a sleep cycle?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    miles from nowhere

    Default Re: hunger cues???

    Hi Meggie, it's really confusing in the beginning, I know. But trust that you and your lo will get more used to each other and it will get easier to read her as she gets older.

    My lo's cues: grunting, pursing her lips (kissy face), making an "eh-eh-eh" noise. That's all I can really remember from before she could just walk up and pat my boobs to get my attention.

    I offered my lo the breast quite often and found that she would take it when she was hungry, sleepy, or wanted comfort and would refuse it otherwise. It didn't harm our nursing relationship. Granted she's kind of a snacker anyway (nurses breifly, then plays, then wants to nurse again) so whether I made her this way by offering or not I don't know.

    I suggest that you wait until your lo wakes at night to feed her, that's what I did and sometimes I actually got a full night's sleep (not anymore, but sometimes in the beginning I did!). I follow the never-wake-a sleeping-baby rule and it works for me. I think your lo is old enough to do this now, maybe someone else will correct me if I'm wrong.

    Don't worry! You are doing great and as long as your baby is pooping and wetting plenty of diapers and gaining weight you are doing everything just fine.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Re: hunger cues???

    My 7 week old will grunt and squirm prior to crying when he is hungry (at night). I have a hard time sometimes knowing if he's hungry or just needing to burp. So, I have started off burping him (he is a big burper and urper) and then I will offer him the breast. Sometimes he takes it and sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he will only take it for a minute or two and I put him right down. During the day, I try to remember the last time he fed so if he does start getting fussy, I can determine if I think he is hungry or not. Since he eats every hour and a half to two hours he's usually hungry. Also, I will put him in a cradle hold and if he starts to root and turns toward the breast, then I will feed him. Anyhow, hope this helps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: hunger cues???

    I find at night that if my daughter is hungry, she'll generally fuss for a bit before it gets to full out crying. It's hard to judge sometimes though because she's getting to the point where she'll fuss for 10-15 minutes, and then suddenly stop and go back to sleep. Generally if she's fussing and her eyes are wide open, then I figure it's time to feed her. If she's fussing and her eyes are still closed, I try to give her the chance to go back to sleep. Plus there's a slight difference between her fuss when she goes back to sleep and her fuss just prior to an "I'm hungry" crying fit. It's faint, and sometimes I miss it, but it's there. Her I'm hungry fusses tend to have snorts with them.

    As for other hunger cues, I'm still learning that. Usually if it's been 3 or more hours since her last feeding and she's sucking / gnawing on her hand (assuming she's gotten it free), or if we give her a pacifier and she goes to town on it (or sucks and then spits it out whimpering, as if expecting milk to come out) we feed her. Also, she'll open her mouth sometimes and stick her tongue in and out of her mouth, and we usually offer her food then, too.

    My suggestion for learning her cues is to just keep close attention to her. Offer her the breast frequently, whenever you think she might be even the slightest bit hungry. If she makes a meal out of it, note what her behavior was like. If she just plays around, or doesn't sit on for long, make a note of that too. While I don't feed mine directly from the breast (latch issues) I give her expressed milk, and when she's not really hungry she doesn't eat much of it. When she is hungry though she sucks it down like a champ.
    Momma to K 05/24/07 (due 05/31/07)
    Momma to I, 06/04/10 VBAC'd (due 05/31/10). Read about it here

    Exclusive Pumper to first for 18 months.
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    Struggling with nursing but one way or another breast milk is all they get.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Re: hunger cues???

    I'm dealing with the exact same issue. Madeline is 6 wks old (today!) and I try to "catch" her at night before she awakens herself fully.

    During the day her hunger cues involve rooting (the bobbing head against our shoulders), mouthing her blanket or clothing, etc., trying to suck on anyone (including grandpa), and the little "eh, eh, eh" noises that someone else mentioned. I also know when she wails like a tiger in Dad's arms but turns into a sweet little lamb the split-second the nipple is presented! (That's the funniest, I think.)

    At night it's more tricky. I still have a difficult time distinguishing between gas-induced grunting and hunger induced-grunting. Her daytime grunting usually involves gas but nighttime is different, I think. While, when she grunts during the day her desire to nurse seems to be driven less by hunger than by a need to for comfort, i.e. she will thrash at the breast until we burp her through a few bubbles. In contrast, when she grunts at night and I offer her the breast she really gulps it down. So who really knows?

    Also, in general, my daughter is much more efficient at nighttime nursing - best latch, strong solid pull, etc. If you have a few days were you can afford to be groggy, why not let your child "go" (not crying but waking up) and see what happens? (I think I'm going to start doing this ...) Good luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: hunger cues???

    there are some neat clips on this web site

    look on the right hand side.

    and this one has some cool clips on huger clues..
    it gets beter as you get to know baby.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Re: hunger cues???

    My ds will turn his head to the side and open his mouth, bob his head with mouth open on my shoulder and suck on his fist. Thats a tough call about when to get them up at night. While during the day I like to respond quickly to his hunger cues, I kinda wait it out at night. If he starts grunting around enough to wake me, I listen for that first actual cry. Sometimes he will just go back to a deeper sleep and sometimes I will hear the cry. In that case I get up to see if his eyes are open, if they arent I pat him or wait to see what he does next. If his eyes are open or he continues to cry, I will change and feed him.

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