How to Tell When your Baby is Ready to Feed

How to Tell When your Baby is Ready to Feed

Sometimes it can be hard to know when and how much to feed your baby. The good news is that most of the time your baby can help you.

Healthy babies know how much they need to feed to grow the way that is right for them. The secret is to watch what they are telling you. Your baby will let you know when they want a feed, how much they want to feed and how fast they want to feed.

How do I tell when they are hungry?

Early signs “I’m hungry”

When your newborn baby is stirring, moving their head and rooting, like they are searching, and opening their mouth they are hungry. These are some of the early signs that they are hungry. It’s a good time to feed.

Mid signs “I’m really hungry”

Your baby might be telling you that they are really hungry if they stretch, move around more and put their hands to their mouth. You need to feed as soon as possible.

Late signs “Calm me, then feed me”

Once your baby is crying and making agitated movements they might be too upset to feed well. It’s important to calm them down with cuddles, holding them close to touch the skin on your chest. You can stroke them and talk with a soothing voice. After settling down they will be ready to feed.

How do I know when they have had enough?

Babies will let you know when they have had enough too. Your baby will slow down, relax and stop feeding.

Having a new baby can be tough at times. Trust your instincts with feeding. Watch your baby, get to know their signs and try to follow their lead. Feeding can be a special time for togetherness when everything is working. It is important to look after yourself as well.

If feeding isn’t going well, make sure that you talk to your partner, family and friends and get extra help if you need it

Where to get some help

It is important to ask for the help you need:

  • Talk to your local child health nurse.
  • Telephone the National Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 686 268
  • Telephone the Parenting Helpline 1300 808 178

For more information Baby Feeding Cues