How to Tell if My Baby’s Hungry

December 16, 2022
This article has been written and endorsed by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias
It is important that you know the signs that indicate that a baby has become hungry. In this way, you will avoid a situation of low nutrient intake that can affect their growth.

During the early stages of life, it’s essential to ensure proper nutrition. Development is at stake and essential nutrient requirements must be met to ensure optimal growth. This’s why we’re going to give you the keys to know when your baby’s hungry.

The first thing to learn is how to interpret the signs. This can be difficult for new mothers, who are sometimes still too nervous. However, the following tips will make the process much easier.

How to know if your baby’s hungry?

Babies often cry when they’re hungry. However, this isn’t always the reason for crying. One strategy to find out if hunger is the problem is to offer the breast or bottle. If they accept it, they need more food.

On the other hand, you have to take into account that pediatricians recommend offering breastfeeding on demand during the first months of life. This food has been proven to be the most suitable for babies. Not only because of the nutrient supply but also because of a lot of bioactive compounds that contribute to improved immunity.

In addition, it will also be important to look at the weight of the child. It’s normal for this to increase progressively. If for any reason there’s a stagnation in weight over a period of time, it may be a sign that the feeding isn’t sufficient.

A sleeping newborn drinking from a bottle.
A good strategy to ensure that your baby doesn’t stay hungry is to prepare more milk in the bottle than what they usually drink. This way, your little one will stop feeding when they’re truly full.

Signs that your baby’s hungry

Watch for signs that your baby shows once the breast or bottle is taken away. If the baby makes a sucking motion with their lips or starts to cry, it may be that they still want more to eat. In this case, the best thing to do is to offer more milk until the child decides to stop.

Keep in mind that if you’re feeding your baby with a bottle, it should be prepared with more milk than your little one usually drinks. This way, you can be sure that the feeding will stop when the baby decides to stop and not before they’re satisfied.

Signs that your baby has had enough

Your baby may also show that they have no more appetite. For this reason, it’s not a good idea to go by the clock alone when offering breastfeeding. Each child takes their own time in the feeding process, so variations can be significant.

Normally, a baby indicates that they’ve had enough when they let go of the breast or nipple and, without crying, are calm. If crying returns after a short time, it may be a sign that the baby’s still hungry. In any case, don’t get obsessed with schedules or quantities. It’s best to be guided by the child’s requests. However, in summer, in addition to hunger, they may be thirstier.

Is it hunger or sleep?

Sometimes, your baby may cry, but not because they’re hungry, but because they’re sleepy. Your baby may be irritable because they’re unable to fall asleep. In this case, rocking will soothe your baby and you’ll be able to confirm that the problem, in this case, wasn’t hunger. However, as a general rule, you should avoid offering a pacifier continuously, as it could be harmful to the teeth. So says a study published in the Journal of Dental Research.

A other feeding her baby puree with a spoon.
It’s for your baby to be the one who sets the feeding times, even if their demands are repeated several times a day.

What do you have to do so that your baby doesn’t remain?

To ensure that your baby doesn’t remain hungry, the first thing you have to have is patience. You must let your baby be the one to set the feeding times and heed their requests, even if they’re repeated. Secondly, it’s important that they be in a comfortable position at feeding time. It’s best to keep your baby’s arms around them and sufficiently covered so that they don’t get cold and feel comfortable.

Avoid letting your baby stay hungry

As you’ve seen, the fact that your baby remains hungry systematically could affect their growth. This is a situation that should be avoided. It’s best to offer several feedings throughout the day, preferably breast milk. This is the best product to maintain a good state of health.

Keep in mind that you have to be very attentive to the signs that the baby shows once their feeding is finished to know if you need to offer more food or not. They may be quiet for a while and then become hungry again, which they’ll show by crying.

  • Mosca, F., & Giannì, M. L. (2017). Human milk: composition and health benefits. La Pediatria medica e chirurgica : Medical and surgical pediatrics39(2), 155.
  • Peres, K. G., Chaffee, B. W., Feldens, C. A., Flores-Mir, C., Moynihan, P., & Rugg-Gunn, A. (2018). Breastfeeding and Oral Health: Evidence and Methodological Challenges. Journal of dental research97(3), 251–258.