Mothers are most often worried about how much their kids are eating. As mothers, we tend to keep feeding our children. Sometimes it leads to overfeeding and many times we do not understand whether a baby is full or still hungry. It is confusing because babies cannot express and tell us. Older children can tell us if they are feeling hungry or when they do not want to eat more. With babies, you need to look for signs and cues and then develop a feeding pattern. Babies do give out subtle hints that tell us when the baby is hungry or full. This article will help you find out is your child hungry or full.
Crying is often a sign of hunger. Your baby is a sure authority that will give out signs that tell you when she is full or hungry. You do not need to count the number of formula or the number of times you need to breastfeed the baby. One cannot count as to how many ounces of food or liters will be enough for the baby to feel full. You need to look for cues that will help you figure out your baby’s hunger needs.
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Is your child hungry or full? Find Out!
Signs that will tell you if your child is hungry
Birth to 6 months
A hunger cry is slow, short and low pitched. Yes, crying
is a sign of hunger but crying only starts when the baby has given out other signs that you have missed. By the time your child starts crying, she is probably extremely hungry and even frustrated that she is not being fed.
#2. Acting Restless
Before your baby cries, she will move her hands and legs in the crib, turn her head sideways and look everywhere and act restless. She may put her hands in her mouth, clench her fists and put that to her mouth and move around the crib too. This is a sure sign that your baby is hungry.
This is the action that your baby does when you pick her up. She will turn towards your breasts or look towards that bottle. Initially, your baby will turn towards your breasts and make sucking noises from her mouth. When your baby starts to turn her body, rooting will become a more voluntary action towards that bottle or your breasts.
#4. Facial gestures
Babies closer to 4 months will look at you while feeding and give that cute little smile, stating that they are hungry and glad to be fed. While feeding babies will open their mouths and look at you, make noises, stating that they are hungry and are still having their meal. A hungry baby will continue to suck on an empty milk bottle or one breast even after the milk is over, stating that they want more and are still hungry.
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6 to 24 months
If your baby gets excited when she sees food on your table then she is definitely hungry and wants to eat more. She might also hop up and down her baby chair if she sees food and is excited. She will open her mouth and give out sounds which are clues for you to feed her what you are eating.
Your baby becomes a little more communicative now. She will point out to that cabinet or refrigerator or the dining table to suggest that she wants to eat. She will use hand motions or sounds and blabber to tell you that she needs food. She will crawl or even walk up to the kitchen or that vegetable and fruit basket and might play with them or take them in her mouth suggesting that she is hungry.
Signs that will tell you if your child is full
Birth to 6 months
#1. Closed lips
A hungry baby opens her mouth to be fed. But when the baby is full she will purse her lips and close it. No matter what you try, she won't open her lips. Its a cute, gentle way to say ‘thank you, but my tummy is happily fed’.
#2. Turns the head
This is a more forceful way of telling that we are full now. Babies generally turn their heads away from breasts and bottles when they do not want to feed anymore. At this stage, you should not force the baby to have more.
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#3. Stops sucking and spill
Some babies will stay latched on to the breast or even to the bottle but they will stop sucking on it. They will even spill out the milk from the bottle if you keep on feeding the baby. This is the point when it is time for you to stop feeding the baby as she is full.
#4. Interested in surroundings
When babies are hungry their focus if your breast or the bottle. When they are full, they focus of the surroundings more- the ceiling fan, the light from the window, the shadows and other such things. Even if you try to turn their heads towards the feed, they will turn their attention back to the surroundings. This means that they are now full and you should let them play.
When your baby has had her full meal, she will fall back to sleep. This might happen even while you are feeding the baby. This doesn’t mean that she has fallen asleep between meals. It just states that she has had her full and is now relaxed.
6 to 24 months
At this age children are more communicative of what they want and how much they need. A child will push away that plate of food or spit out that milk if she is totally full. The child will be more interested in crawling or walking away from food and giving her attention to her toys or other things rather than food. She will purse her lips and would not open her mouth even if you try to feed her forcefully. Force feeding should never be done as this might have your child lose interest in food.
Are there still signs of hunger even after you have fed your child?
You might notice that your baby feels hungry every hour or so after you have fed. But this happens only for a few hours and then the baby sleeps at a stretch for a longer time. Cluster or bunch feeding happens when the baby wants to latch on and feed of your breasts every few hours. This type of feeding pattern is very normal and doesn't mean that your baby is not getting enough food. It may also happen when the baby wants to be close to you or even during growth spurts. Such feeding pattern lasts for a few days and is not a cause of concern. You should give your baby the feeds as and when they need it. So whenever your baby seems hungry, offer her the breast or the bottle.
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You can take this article will help you answer the question: Is your child hungry or full?
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