Recognize When Your Baby is Hungry
Baby’s communicate both verbally, by crying, and non-verbally. Over time you will learn to understand your baby’s language and anticipate his needs. This may take some practice.
It’s ideal to notice when your baby is in the early stages of hunger. Babies feed better and will latch onto the breast or take the bottle with less fussing if you offer it when they are interested but not yet upset or crying.
When they are hungry babies may:
- Smack their lips
- Put their hands to their mouth
- Suck on their hands
- Root around (rooting reflex)
Soothe First, Feed Second
If your baby is already crying, it can be helpful to sooth him first. Calming him down, even a little bit, will allow him to get a better latch and swallow less air.
Hold your baby during feeds. Be sure to get comfortable, using a feeding support pillow can be very helpful. They’re not just for breastfeeding! Try to avoid hunching over, use pillows to lift the baby to a comfortable position instead. All the better if you can get someone to bring you a glass of water or a snack so that you stay nourished, too!
Know When Enough is Enough
Sometimes your baby will eat for longer periods of time and other times your baby will only eat for a few minutes. Your baby will tell you he is full by:
- Turning his head away from the bottle or breast
- Letting the nipple fall out or pushing it out of his mouth
- Being alert with no further feeding cues
- Spontaneously falling asleep
Your baby is safe. Your baby will get enough. You’re doing a great job.
Remember: One wet diaper per day of life for those first few days, then 6-8 wet diapers each day. If you are concerned that your baby is not getting enough, talk to your postpartum doula, doctor, midwife or call Healthlink.