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Thread: How do tell "comfort sucking" need from hunger?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default How do tell "comfort sucking" need from hunger?

    Hi all,
    I feel silly asking, but how did you all tell whether your LO was really hungry when mouthing their hands, rooting, etc. or whether they just needed to suck for comfort? My DS is almost 4 weeks old. A few times he has seemed to show that he is hungry (this might be 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. after the start of the last feeding), but then nurses only a few minutes and starts to sleep, or spits up a lot - like he didn't have room for what he drank! I think then he just needed to suck...

    Other times, he will seem to be "done" eating - perhaps after a fairly long nursing session of 45 min or so. I'll try to have him suck on my pinky, but he won't calm down untilI finally put him back on the breast, when he will then eat a few more min, and fall asleep!

    Was it just trial and error, or differences in their cues that heped you figure it out?

    Hi! I'm Ann, Mama to my "big baby buffalo" , DS#1, who breastfed from August '06 to January '08
    and DS#2, my"little baby buffalo" born in May '08 and exclusively breastfeeding

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Default Re: How do tell "comfort sucking" need from hunger?

    Hi, Ann! Congratulations on your new baby and welcome!
    Never feel silly asking anything here....we were all very new at this at least once and even when not so new, still all have questions that come up pretty frequently!

    You ask a good question and I don't have any magical answers for you. Yes, a lot of it is based on experience and learning from your baby's individual signals. Their cues and clues often get clearer...and that helps! At this stage, though, with such a young infant, there are so many reasons for suckling. As you say, hunger and comfort are two huge and very intertwined reasons. For some babies, suckling is very important for falling asleep, for others, it's a trigger for passing stool! If you are trying to nurse on demand - which is so strongly suggested - then it's really just OK to meet that demand; no matter the 'real' cause of the need. It's all good at this stage - it builds your supply -- because your body will recognize the difference between suckling for food and suckling for comfort, it strengthens your bond, and it teaches your LO the great sense of security that momma is there when needed.

    I'm sure others will chime in with their thoughts as well!
    Keep coming back and asking questions as you have them - and let us know how things are going!
    ps.....upstate NY where? I grew up in Fairfield County, CT.....got married in Pound Ridge, NY....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Default Re: How do tell "comfort sucking" need from hunger?

    I mostly didn't worry about trying to tell the difference between hunger nursing and comfort nursing. It's all good, you know? This is one sense in which breastfeeding is about more than just milk delivery. Babies are really pretty simple in their needs -- they need milk, they need to be kept warm, they need to be close to their mother. Breastfeeding meets all these needs in the most direct and natural way possible.

    So I don't think a nursing mother necessarily needs to worry about whether her baby is cuing to nurse because he is hungry or because he needs to suck to be calm. The same thing meets both those needs beautifully.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006

    Default Re: How do tell "comfort sucking" need from hunger?

    I agree with the pp. My ds probably gets more confort sucking in than hungry sucking from me

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