Baby Feeding Tips: Is My Baby Hungry Right Now? - Sunday Hug

Baby Feeding Tips: Is My Baby Hungry Right Now?

baby lying on the lounger


Even if you are only reading your baby's 'hunger signals', parenting before 100 days becomes much easier. Today, we're going to talk about what signals a baby sends when they’re hungry, step by step.

Step-by-Step Hunger Signs in Your Baby

Step 1

Tongue fluttering or lip tingling.

Your baby may not be very hungry, but these are signs that they’re a little hungry. Breastfeeding when they are too hungry can cause your baby to gasp and reflux (vomiting) in the baby, so you want to try to prevent them from reaching that level. Ideally, breastfeed when your child is fluttering their tongue or moving their lips, showing that they’re experiencing the right level of hunger for you to breastfeed.

Step 2

Baby turns their head and licks their lips.

The baby turns their head and licks their lips. Here, they are smelling the milk and trying to figure out where their mother's milk is. In the process, the baby may also grimace. This is a sign that they are quite hungry, so it is a good time to breastfeed.

Step 3

Similar to Step 2 - but your baby makes a squeaky noise or wiggles their feet.

These are the signs your baby displays just before crying. Their face is more contorted than in situation 2, and their cries may take on a squeaky sound. You want to avoid a situation where only your baby’s head moves and they struggle with their feet. This is a sign that the baby is very hungry, so feed them right away!

Step 4

Your baby is crying.

When a baby is hungry, the final signal they produce is crying. When a child starts to cry because they are hungry, they are not being well soothed. If you want to breastfeed while your baby is crying, you may feel you should refuse to breastfeed because your baby is not feeling well, which makes feeding difficult, but it is often a sign that you should try and breastfeed.

babies lying on the bed

Are there any other indicators?

1. Amount of Urination

If a child (1 week to 4 months) urinates in at least 6 disposable diapers (8 to 13 times of urination) in 24 hours, it means that they have eaten enough. If your baby is urinating less frequently or temporarily, you should check to see if they are eating enough.

2. Confirmation of Weight Gain

The desirable weight gain for babies is 157-227g per week for 0-4 months, 80-150g per week for 4-6 months, and 45-80g per week for 6 months or older. But a baby doesn't grow the same amount every week. Remember that weight growth during growth spikes is fast, and weight growth during growth plateaus is slow, and you should check if your child is growing steadily every month as a whole.

3. The Baby is Suckling

If you are breastfeeding directly, you may hear your baby swallowing. After a nipple bite, the baby first goes through a period of sucking milk quickly. Behind this, you will hear the sound of them swallowing milk. See how your baby is concentrating on sucking.
1) Are your baby's temples twitching?
2) Is your baby constantly suckling?
3) Does your child concentrate without shaking their limbs? Then you know that you are producing and giving enough breast milk.
If enough suckling has been achieved, the baby will feel satisfied. Even babies with strong sucking needs can find satisfaction even for a short time. When your child eats satisfactorily, their expression will change to a gentler expression. The tension in the child should seem to relax, with their clenched fists loosely extended.

Author: Kwon Hyang-hwa
- Newborn Childcare Coach
- IBCLC International Breastfeeding Specialist
- Worked as the director of a postpartum care center for 10 years.