Is the Baby Hungry Again? All About Newborn Feeding Cues

If you're planning to nurse your little one you might have heard the term “feeding on demand” but might not know exactly what it means. Feeding on demand basically means that, instead of feeding your baby on a schedule, you feed them whenever they're hungry. Most experts recommend nursing on demand because of its numerous benefits like helping you establish and maintain a good milk supply, letting your baby know that their needs will always be met, and, since you are filling their tummy as it empties, helping your little one stay happy, healthy, and growing as they should.

The tricky part of feeding on demand is figuring out exactly how to tell when your baby is hungry as opposed to experiencing another need. The best way to tell is to look for your little one's feeding cues. Click through the slides below to find out details on common newborn feeding cues.


When they begin to feel hungry most babies will being to root as if they're looking for a nipples to latch onto. You'll know a baby is rooting when they open their mouth and move their head back and forth.

baby name kenneth
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Gumming their Hands

When a newborn puts their fingers or hands in their mouth and begins chewing, you'll know they're hungry and ready to nurse!

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Licking their Lips or Sticking Out their Tongue

Hungry babies often stick out their tongues or lick their lips- since they can't talk to tell you that their tummy is feeling empty, this is a cue they'll use to get your attention.


Crying is often a late hunger cue, one that babies resort to once they're feeling really hungry. Once a baby starts crying it might be tough for them to latch easily or to suck as effectively but you should be able to get them eating with a little bit of persistence. Remember, hunger is a new sensation for babies so they might speed through the other hunger cues and land on crying pretty quickly.

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Newborns have tiny tummies and tend to need to eat every two to three hours, though many eat far more frequently in their early weeks. In time, your baby will likely develop a feeding pattern and routine that's much more spaced and easier to handle, in the meantime, look for your babies hunger cues to make sure you're feeding them when they need to eat!

Been there, done that parents: How often did your newborn want to eat in the early weeks? Share in the comments!

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Is the Baby Hungry Again? All About Newborn Feeding Cues

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. Julia lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. You can find more of her work at ... More

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1 comment

  1. Adah says:

    If you’re running out of breast milk and still want to breastfeed your baby then try healthy nursing tea and you’ll see more production.


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