Thursday, March 4, 2010

How do I know my baby is hungry?

Babies don't come with instruction manuals.

Sometimes it can be challenging to figure out what your baby wants, especially in the first few weeks of life. You are sleep deprived, hormonal, tired and there is a little lump you're supposed to take care of  that just cries and cries...

First, take a deep breath.

Second, try to pick up on the subtle cues to figure out what your baby wants.

In the first few weeks of life, formula fed babies need to be feed every 3-4 hours. Breastfed babies can be hungry as often as every 1 1/2 hours.

Look for hunger cues such as sucking on his hands, rooting (they will turn their head toward any stimulation toward their cheek), restlessness, and crying. Crying is actually a late sign of hunger.

Breastfed babies will nurse for variable amounts of time but you want to make sure that your baby is swallowing and appears to be satisfied at the end of the feeding.

If you are formula feeding, start with 4-6 oz of formula as a guideline. Most babies will get to about 32 oz of formula per day by about 4-5 months. If your baby seems to be still hungry, talk to your health care provider. It may be time to start solid foods.

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