Your little, precious baby may not be able to verbally communicate that they have an empty stomach, but they can definitely give you other clues! All you have to do is learn to read the signs that your baby is hungry.
There are several typical ways babies express themselves when they are ready to eat. In this article, we tell you about eight signs that your baby is hungry and discuss some of the ways you can know it is full.
But first, let’s talk about a very important aspect of learning baby hunger signals: getting to know your baby.
Get to know your baby
Like adults, every baby is different. Although there are some hunger signals that many babies have in common, you will need to get to know your baby and their unique way of communicating that they are ready to eat.
That said, it is helpful to know the typical signs that a baby is hungry and use this knowledge along with knowledge about your own little one.
8 signs that your baby is hungry
Crying can seem like an obvious hunger signal. But it is important to note that this is actually a late signal. If a baby starts crying because they want to eat, it means they are really hungry.
To prevent them from reaching this point, it is better if you can catch previous signs that your baby is hungry and feed them before the crying begins.
A sign that your baby may be hungry is that he is awake and active with open eyes. This can mean that your little one is excited and ready to eat.
3) Turning towards the chest
When your baby turns his head towards your breast and is looking for their next meal, take this as a clue that it’s time to breastfeed or bottle feed.
4) Tasty lips
If you are very attentive, you may see your baby wrinkle, slap or lick their small, rosy lips. This is an indication that they are looking to lock.
5) Opens and closes their mouths
Similarly, your baby may open and close his mouth as another sign of hunger. Take advantage of the moment to offer them their next meal!
Babies can be picky for various reasons and hunger is one of them. Try offering a bottle or your breast the next time your baby gets restless, dizzy or picky.
7) clenched fists
The clenched fists can also indicate that your little one is hungry. We adults can also get tense when we are hungry!
8) Suck on fingers or hands
Your baby sucking on their fingers or hands is the last sign we will mention. But you should know that this is not a foolproof signal for a baby who is more than a few months old.
At this age, they discover the control they have over their body and can bring their hands to their mouths just to explore.
Signs that an older baby is hungry
Sometimes it can feel like deciphering a code reading infant hunger signals. It’s easier when your baby is a little older, starts eating solid foods and uses words or sign language.
Here are a few signs that your older baby is hungry.
reaching out for food
Once your baby can sit, roll over and the like, he is more able to get where he is going and to what he wants! Take it as a clear hint that they are hungry if your baby reaches out for, points at, or moves toward food.
Specific words or characters
As you get to know your baby in constant change, you may learn that your toddler makes a certain sound or says a certain word when they are ready to eat. Even if your baby does not have any words yet, they may make a sign to tell you that the stomach is rumbling.
Looks happy when they see food
Even babies get happy when they see food they want! If your baby smiles, growls and is happy when you show them food, then definitely take it as a sign of hunger.
Eat eagerly when offered food
Similarly, you can assume that your baby is hungry when it opens its mouth in anticipation and eats eagerly when offered food.
Signs that your baby is full
Just as it is important to be aware of the signs that your baby is hungry, it is also helpful to know when it is full and satisfied.
We mentioned that your baby facing the breast is a sign of hunger. Likewise, your baby dropping the nipple or turning away from the milk source (whether it is breast or bottle) may be a sign that it is full.
When your baby is happy, its body will be more secure. You can see that their hands are relaxed and open at this point.
When breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, your baby may become full once their sucking is slower or they may be easily distracted.
Who does not like a nap after a good meal? You may find that your baby with a full stomach happily dozes off after eating.
To refuse food
Eventually, when your baby is full, they can simply turn up their noses for more. An infant may turn its head away, while an older baby may close its mouth, push the food away, or sign or say they are done.
Take care of yourself while breastfeeding
We have mentioned signs that your baby is hungry and signs that your baby is full, but before we finish, we would like to discuss one important aspect of feeding your baby: taking care of yourself.
Self-care is important for all parents, but if you are breastfeeding, it is a priority to take care of and take care of yourself and your skin. We know that although breastfeeding is a wonderful connection between mother and baby, it is not always a walk in the park.
There is a lot we could say about the beauty and benefits of nursing and the need for self-care while doing so, but we will only focus on these two tips today.
Help your baby with the lock
We can not adequately express the importance of a good breastfeeding lock! When your baby is not firmly attached to your nipple, they may not get enough milk, which is not good for your baby’s development and may also reduce your milk supply.
Plus, a bad lock can also hurt you. If you have pain when breastfeeding, it may be a sign that your toddler is not firmly attached and it can cause sore or cracked nipples. Ouch!
The good news is that you and your baby can work together to achieve a comfortable lock. In this article, we share 13 tips for a good breastfeeding lock, but do not hesitate to contact a breastfeeding consultant if you need additional support.
Relieve your nipples
The other way to take care of yourself as a nursing mother is to care for and soothe your nipples with a cream like our Nursing Comfort Balm. This restorative nipple cream moisturizes and protects your nipples, relieves discomfort and keeps your skin comfortable while breastfeeding.
Made with 100% naturally derived food quality ingredients, including olive oil and plant-based glycerin, this lanolin-free conditioner is enriched with vitamin E to nourish and protect your skin. You can also be sure that it is vegan, fragrance free and color free.
Our nipple cream is supported by scientific research, developed in collaboration with healthcare professionals and tested under dermatological control. It is safe for you and your toddler, and like all Mustela products, it contains no parabens, phthalates or phenoxyethanol.
To use, apply the cream generously on your nipples after breastfeeding. There is no need to rinse. Just be sure to clean your nipples before each breastfeeding session.
Read more about natural soothing of your nipples here. And to make your experience as comfortable as possible, try different breastfeeding positions until you are your baby really in the groove.
Teach your little one
Although each baby will express itself a little differently, the hunger signals we mentioned in this article will help you identify when your little one is ready to eat. Take these cues into account and observe your baby to learn the specific signs they show when they are hungry.
Learning to anticipate your baby’s needs is part of getting to know this new member of your family!
While doing so, do not forget to take care of yourself, especially if you are a breastfeeding mother. When breastfeeding, work with your baby to achieve a good lock, and turn to our Nursing Comfort Balm to moisturize and protect your nipples.
(Bonus: our Nursing Comfort Balm can also be used to soothe and moisturize dry lips!)
With all this expert knowledge under your belt, it’s time to go out there and conquer the baby world. Here’s to health, happiness and full bellies!