This is actually Colton's Dad posting this...
Our son is 14 days old today, and for the first 11-12 days, my wife and I struggled with all of the normal things that new parents go through. Is he sick, is he pooping enough, is his jaundice an emergency or not, has the milk come in, is he latching on correctly, is he hungry, tired, furious, etc?
Aside from getting Colton to sleep anywhere other than in our arms, the toughest thing for us has been learning to identify his hunger cues. I suppose that the cues and the amount of time before crying is different for each baby, but for Colton, feeding him before he cries goes a long way towards his his mood and happiness at more than just feeding time.
We finally figured it out! Now instead of feeding him when he cries, he gets a full belly before he ever gets cranky. And instead of going through a cycle of getting cranky and stressed and then fed and happy, he's much more calm throughout the entire day, which helps him sleep much better.
We were told at the hospital (and read in books and articles) to look for hunger cues, but no emphasis was put on how identifying the cues and feeding before crying can help improve the baby's mood and sleep. Looking back, we could have been more aggressive in looking for the cues.
Sorry this is so long winded, but we wanted to encourage any brand new parents out there, because this has greatly improved Colton's mood and has really cut down on his overall fussiness!