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Feeding cues

Babies show us that they are hungry long before they cry.

feeding cues

By recognising and responding to early feeding cues, you can offer a breastfeed to your baby when they are alert and ready but still calm. In this way, your baby will attach and feed more effectively. 

When babies are ready for a feed they might:

feeding cues
  • turn their head from side to side  

  • open their mouth 

  • move their hand to mouth 

feeding cues
  • suck their lips and hands 

  • become restless  

  • make cooing or sighing sounds. 

feeding cues

I'm ready for a feed now Mum.

Why are feeding cues important?   

Feeding your baby when they show early cues: 

  • gives your baby an opportunity to attach and feed well  

  • satisfies your baby's hunger and thirst 

  • keeps your milk supply up  

  • lets your baby know you are there when they need you. 

If a baby gets no response, their feeding cues may escalate to: 

  • tense, jerky movements of their arms and legs 

  • crying

When your baby is crying: 

  • they may have more difficulty attaching to your breast 

  • they may not feed well 

  • you may find your nipples become sore if your baby isn’t well-attached 

  • it's harder to calm baby down to feed. 

© Australian Breastfeeding Association April 2022

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