What are the Various Baby Hunger Signs?

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Answered by: Brittany K N, An Expert in the Baby's Hunger Signs Category
Your baby is different than any other baby! He is unique and has his own personality; which means that his baby hunger signs, or cues, may very well be different than other babies. There are a great deal of organic signs that most babies will have from birth, some of which they may outgrow as they are learning what you will respond to the best. We also have to remember that like adults, there are early and late baby hunger signs; picking up on the early ones are best for both baby and for a new breastfeeding mom.

When your baby is first born, as long as he is not fed from a bottle right away, you will likely see the most noticable sign, which is referred to as rooting. Rooting, an active sign, is when baby moves his/her head around on mom's chest attempting to latch on. You can also test this reflex by gently rubbing your finger on baby's check; if he turns his head and opens his mouth towards your finger, this is a good sign that baby is hungry and ready to eat!

This reflex will usually subside around the time that baby is four months old. Some babies will keep this sign as a tool a lot longer - especially if you recognize it and teach baby that it works. The earliest baby hunger signs are very subtle and easy to miss, especially if you aren't sure what you are looking for. Here are some of the most common early signs: smacking his or her lips or opening and closing his mouth. At around the same time that rooting takes a back seat, baby is learning about his hands, fingers, and other body parts; watch for this as well. If he is sucking on his hands, feet, fingers, or clothes persistently he may be trying to tell you that he is hungry!

If you can catch onto your baby's signs at this stage, you are doing awesome! He is not having to get really upset or feel major hunger pains which translates to a happier, well fed baby but it is also teaching your baby a valuable lesson: you are someone that he can trust and rely on.

The next set of baby hunger signs are called active signs. They are when your baby is starting to feel actual hunger prickles and may start showing this by getting a little frustrated, irritated, or restless. This is where you will see more rooting, sometimes so actively that it looks like pecking at your chest or cheeks. Other great active signs are that baby is trying to get into a breastfeeding position or, in addition to being restless and fussy, he may be breathing faster than normal. This is still not a bad time to catch onto your baby's little cues. While he may be getting a little irritated, you still are in the green zone: there has been no screaming or crying, and baby is easily consoled when presented with the breast.

These later baby hunger signs are going to be very obvious, but with this, they are also a bit harder to work through. Baby is usually noticably upset and then isn't able to latch on and feed very well. He may still be crying and gasping for breaths as he is also trying to gulp down dinner. When he is trying to eat and still be upset, he is also going to be taking a lot of air down with his milk; make sure you burp him well and often to avoid extra gas and extra tummy pains later on.

Noticing the baby hunger signs in the early stages is going to not only make your baby happier, it is going to make sure that he is able to digest well without having those extra tummy aches and make this bonding experience best for both of you!

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