Feeding | Newborn Hunger Cues
Episode 7 | Understanding Hunger Cues
This episode is brought to you today by my free Clean Sleeping Guide that I have on my website. You can access this baby at www.jenniferbutler.com.au/clean-sleeping Now guys, this guide is the first step I take parents through when I'm looking to help them improve their baby or toddlers sleep. You are literally getting free access to the first pillar of my Triple C Approach that I use to improve baby and toddler sleep. So head on over and download yourself a copy today, jenniferbutler.com/clean-sleeping. Okay, let's get into today's episode.
So, today's topic of discussion is: how do I know when to feed my baby? So this is one of my favorite topics because we have been programmed to think that babies come out and need to feed on a schedule. And for some babies it works a treat. So don't get me wrong, but I want to share a little bit about my experience. I had Max and had this thought that babies shouldn't feed any less than three hourly, if not four hourly. And, so, like I'm embarrassed to say this because I actually was working as a maternal and child health nurse, but I wouldn't feed Max, unless the clock said three hours. And I wondered why this kid was so bloody unsettled, well, he was hungry Jen, duh. Anyway, you know, you live and you learn, but that's why I am trying so hard to educate mums on understanding that clocks don't exist in the world of your baby, they only know what they feel, and if they feel hungry that don't bloody care if it hasn't been three hours since their last feed. So, it can be confusing though, so let's talk about what hunger cues are, and what other signs you can expect to see in your young baby.
Hunger cues do change as your baby gets older. So this is probably most specific for newborn babies in the first, sort of, three to four months of age. Okay, so one of the first hunger cues that you may notice is "sucking sound". So this might actually look like your baby trying to suck on their hand, it could be that they're sucking on something on you, so if you're holding them and you've got them up on your shoulder, they might be trying to suck on your shoulder, on a collar, whatever is around them, they'll actually start to have a go at it. They may also just make sucking sounds within their own mouth so as if they're sort of sucking on their own lip. But yes, the, the second trend is definitely something that you will notice as your baby gets hungry.
Another huge one is hands to mouth. So like the last one I spoke about, if your baby is actually trying to suck on their hand or putting their hand up to their mouth, that is a sign that they are hungry. Another sign of hunger that you are looking for is the noises and the soft cooing sounds that your baby may make when they're hungry. Now it would be hilarious if I tried to replicate these, um, but I'm not going to, even though it'd be an absolute hoot. Speaking of hoot, that's kind of what it sounds like. So if you can imagine the soft hooing sound of an owl, it is literally the beginning of their language and them trying to communicate to you their needs before it gets to the stage of crying, which, crying of course is another form of their communication. A little more urgent, of course.
Nuzzling into the breasts, so this is good old telltale sign, even for the older baby, if they're trying to attach to your breast, it's kind of telling you that they're ready to feed. Young babies, even if they're bottle fed might show you this nuzzling into the breast as a hunger cue. As they get older they might nuzzle in less, because they know that their food source isn't coming from the breast, but rather the bottles. Still definitely keep it in mind as a hunger cue for the bottle fed baby. Another clear hunger cue is fussiness. So if your baby is starting to get a bit restless, starting to get a bit grizzly and protesting a little bit, crying out, again, this can be a sign of hunger. Interestingly, it can also be a tired sign. So learning to differentiate your baby's different cues is definitely key. And I understand that it's not always easy, but you know what, that's what the idea of this podcast is, is to hopefully bring you a bit of clarity in what the different cues from your baby look like, prior to them being able to talk and tell you which you know, that's kind of away, away.
And my final hunger cue that I'll talk about is rooting. So there is actually a reflex that's built into babies called the rooting reflex. If you actually run your finger along the side of your baby's cheek, sort of from their ear down to their mouth, it actually initiates a rooting reflex, and what that sees is your baby open their mouth and move towards the source of where they just felt that stimulation. And, when your baby is starting to do this without that whole, running the finger from the ear to the mouth scenario, then that's them saying that they're hungry and they're actually trying to root to find the breast. So watching for all of these signs is going to be your big key indicators on how to know when to feed your baby. So, like I said, throw away that clock mumma. It's actually no good for you, not even the middle of the night. Because you know what, when you're doing those middle of the night feeds, who bloody cares what time it is, all you know is that your baby needs a feed, and it can actually cause a bit of anxiety if you know that it's 3:00 AM and that you wish you were just sleeping. Sometimes it's just great to get rid of all clocks within the house. So, biggest tip mumma is respect hunger cues, try and forget the time, and try and go with the flow, and don't get downhearted if your baby does seem to feed so, so frequently. Every baby's different and in time feeds, absolutely will link. Thank you so much for joining me here again today. Make sure you head on over to my website to grab your free clean sleeping guide and I'll be back here in another episode. Awesome. I'll see you at the next episode. Bye guys.
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