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Hunger cues?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I am a FTM with a 3 month old and I'm still confused about how you know when a baby is hungry versus when they are fussy for other reasons or just want to suck. I thought putting their hand to their mouth was one hunger cue, but isn't that a big one with teething as well? Which my son has started to do a LOT (along with the drooling.)

post #2 of 12

My DD had some medical issues that affected her eating, so I don't think she had typical hunger cues, but I did find that tracking when she eat and for how long helpful in getting a sense of her patterns. It looks like your post might have been missed, so I'm bumping it up for attention. :bump: What have others' experiences been with hunger cues?

post #3 of 12

When my baby was fussy, I had no idea whether he was hungry or whether it was something else. There's an empirical test you can use, though. Offer baby the breast and see if he takes it. If he latches on and eats, he was hungry or wanted comfort. If not, it was something else.

post #4 of 12
I did as MichelleZB, always offered the breast.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post

When my baby was fussy, I had no idea whether he was hungry or whether it was something else. There's an empirical test you can use, though. Offer baby the breast and see if he takes it. If he latches on and eats, he was hungry or wanted comfort. If not, it was something else.

lol.gif yes to this. Whenever they stir I just shove a nipple in their mouths. It doesn't really matter if they're hungry, wanting comfort or just needing to suck the solution is always the same :-)
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleZB View Post
 

When my baby was fussy, I had no idea whether he was hungry or whether it was something else. There's an empirical test you can use, though. Offer baby the breast and see if he takes it. If he latches on and eats, he was hungry or wanted comfort. If not, it was something else.


Lol. I know, but it seems like my son wants to suck ALL the time, and while I love him dearly, I'm not willing to spend every second of every day on the couch. My strategy I'm figuring out is if he's eaten within two hours or so, I give him his pacifier. Normally he will calm down or go to sleep. If not I know I need to feed him. Maybe a bit backwards but I need to keep my sanity!!

post #7 of 12
What is he, 3 months? It'll get better.

Your son will sometimes go through growth spurts where he will eat more frequently for a few days to up your milk supply. If you let him eat when he wants for a few days, you may find that he levels off again as your supply begins to match his need. Watch out for that.
post #8 of 12

I used to stress about this like crazy.  Then I too adopted the strategy of if babe's unhappy, offer boob.  I figured either way I'm going to be doing something to try to make him happy, so if it works, why not?

 

If he didn't require eating or sucking, wearing him in my Boba wrap tended to ward off the fussies. The paci strategy seems like a reasonable approach too.

post #9 of 12
Yes. The boob. I agree with all the comments. My dd sucked non stop and I felt like a human pacifier for a short time there but it always worked! And at 14 mos, it still works.
post #10 of 12

Offer the boob.  I spent the first 3 mos on my couch, trust me I don't still live there!  I was/am a human paci and it was so much easier than fishing for something or worrying about it hitting the floor and having to wash it.

post #11 of 12

The TV, a computer, a good book. Those are good sanity savers. This time is so short, and your house and whatever else you want to do will still be there when you come out of this. I know it's so cliched, but there's a reason everyone says it. Your job #1 right now is that baby. Paci's certainly are useful, just be careful about the growth spurts MichelleZB mentioned because they can come out of the blue. Keeping in mind the timing of feeds is helpful, but try not to rely too much on them because babies change so much so fast, you don't want to miss a real hunger cue because you think it's not time yet.

post #12 of 12

I agree with all the other Mamas and just offer the breast first! He won't take if if he doesn't need it. When our youngest was about 4 months old, and started spending more time OFF the boob, my DH made a joke, "Oh, that's what her face looks like. I've seen nothing but the back of her head nursing since the day she was born!"

 

A baby can digest a tummy full of human milk in as little as 20 minutes! In some instances, 2 hours may be way too long, while in other times it may be just right. Rely on the baby, not the clock. My issue with pacifiers is that it can dull the hunger feelings. Only one of mine took a paci and it was basically only in the car. I made it a rule to never use a pacifier in bed, it just too much of a temptation to use it more and more.... then you have to wean them off the paci when they're walking around with it stuck in their mouths. Our middle baby only took a paci because I had a HUGE oversupply and would nurse and nurse to suck and let the milk dribble out of her mouth OR puke it all up if she wasn't really hungry. I mean, like Exorcist type pukin'! We watched her very carefully and realized by about 8 weeks she didn't need the pacifier anymore, so I gratefully got rid of it. Yes, I nursed her more, but she could handle my massive ejection by then and wasn't Linda Blair vomiting milk anymore, so I was more than happy to be her pacifier.

 

It's such a short period of time compared to the rest of your child's life. My kids are older and I really miss those sweet days nursing a baby all day. Before you know it he'll be playing with toys, and then crawling and then walking and you may wish for these quiet all day nursing times. Honestly, there's nothing you NEED to do more importantly than give him what he is asking for right now. There will be plenty of time for "doing other stuff" for the next 70 years! :rotflmao A few months of Cue Feeding never caused anyone any harm.

 

BTW, growth spurts can happen at any time. But, the major ones happen at: 1 week, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 6 months and a year. Growth spurts are times of intense growth of the body and brain. They need your milk like nothing else. A baby can grow an entire inch in less than 24 hours during a growth spurt. Millions of neuron links are being formed, MORE in breastfed babies than babies who are fed anything else. Human milk is the best brain food known. You may also see during a growth spurt: lots of stretching, fussiness, interrupted sleep, pain in the joints and bones, very frequent need for breastfeeding, and a lot of squirming. When the spurt is over you usually have a few peaceful "sleepy days" when your baby makes up for lost sleep... and you do too.

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