How do I know when my baby is hungry?

In the newborn, some early signs of hunger are:

  • smacking lips
  • opening and closing mouth
  • sucking on fingers, or tongue
  • waving arms and kicking legs
  • eye movement under closed eyelids (especially if baby is sleepy and difficult to wake)

Some active signs of hunger are:

  • fussing
  • squeeking, other vocalization
  • squirming, fidgeting
  • rooting
  • moving into the nursing position

Some late signs of hunger are:

  • shaking head from side to side
  • crying

Photo credit: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot (

Newborns are better able to latch on well and breastfeed effectively when they are showing early or active signs of hunger.  Try not to wait until your baby cries to offer the breast. If your baby is agitated or crying, he may need time to settle before being able to breastfeed well. Hold your baby close and help him calm down before trying to latch on again.

More info:

Baby Behavior Basics part 3-Learning and Creating Your Baby’s Special Language

Cue Feeding and Crying

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Photo Credit:

Image: Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot /

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One Response to How do I know when my baby is hungry?

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