How to Know Your Baby is Hungry – Know the Signs

4 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

How to know Your Baby Is Hungry

As a newborn baby’s mother, you might think a loud cry signifies your baby is hungry. Well, babies do cry when they are hungry, but not all cries mean they need to be fed. However, babies show some cues to let you notice they are hungry. So, how to tell your baby is hungry? You’ve got to look for some early cues and signs your baby shows to tell it’s high time to feed.

Here, we’ll explain cues that tell your baby you are hungry and looking for a feed. As you start noticing these signs, you’ll understand easily what they need. Let’s get started.

In This Article

Top Signs Your Baby is Hungry

Never wait to feed your baby unless they start crying louder. Sometimes crying out louder takes energy and makes your baby tired. Thus, they are unable to feed properly. However, they usually start crying when hungry, awfully and extremely upset. Before crying, they show some calm cues to let you show they are looking for food. So, here are some of the cues.

  • Babies start moving their fists to their mouth.
  • They become more active and awake.
  • Babies exhibit lip-smacking and sucking hands.
  • They are frequently opening and closing their mouth.
  • They are also Turning their head to find the breast.
  • Drooling, smacking their lips, and sticking out tongue.
  • Start sucking clothing, hands, and fingers.
  • Clench little fists.
  • Start following you with their eyes.
  • Give you a distressed look.
  • Hunger pangs anytime in babies, usually when they wake up.

Therefore, you can look for these signs to know if they are hungry.

How Do I Know if My Baby is Hungry or Just Crying?

baby crying with closed fist

You may hear your baby crying when they are hungry. But sometimes, they just cry for other reasons, not for hunger. Here are some of the best ways to know if your baby is crying due to hunger or just crying.

  • Take your finger to the baby’s mouth. If they start sucking, this means they are crying due to hunger.
  • Look if their diaper is wet or not. Sometimes babies do cry when they wet their diapers. So, maybe they are crying because of a wet diaper.
  • Check if they are clenching their fist while crying out louder. This is a sign they need feed.
  • Look whether they are interested in taking feed or crying because they feel restless.
  • If they are drowsy when crying, this may be a sign they need to be fed.

Yes, crying is a sign your baby is hungry. By the time they start crying the baby is probably extremely hungry and extremely frustrated. Hence, it’s difficult for you to feed them. It would be great to look after signs to know if they are crying because of hunger.

[Read : Baby Crying – Causes And Tips to Calm Your Baby]

Baby’s Hunger Cues – When Do I Feed Baby?

As your little one grows, they show different kinds of signs. By understanding these signs, you can prepare yourself to feed your baby. Let’s focus on baby hunger cues, age-wise.

Age of Baby Baby Hunger Cues
0-5 Months Old
  • Crying out louder
  • Sucking fingers
  • Fussing incessantly and tossing around
  • Waking up and opening/closing the mouth
5-8 Months Old
  • Smiling and making cooing sounds when they see food
  • Follow with eyes to the person holding them
  • Point towards the food and lean towards the food
  • Wave their hands to catch food or toward the direction of food
8-12 Months Old
  • Running out for the food when they see
  • They get excited when you offer them food
  • Start making sounds and say specific words to indicate hunger

Benefits of Following Hunger Cues in Babies

Hungry baby breastfeeding

Here are some benefits of following hunger cues:

  • You’ll be able to understand babies’ hunger urges and respond to signs quickly.
  • Breastfeeding goes smoother, and you don’t need to force your baby to get fed.
  • You’ll understand your babies better, and babies will begin to trust you.
  • Your body gets enough time to produce milk and maintain an adequate supply.
  • It fosters a love bond with your baby.

[Read : Bonding With Your Baby – Why is it Important?]

Top 5 Signs Your Baby’s Stomach is Full

sign baby not hungry

These are some cues that show your baby’s stomach is full.

  1. Babies instantly stop feeding and know when their stomach is full.
  2. They turn their head and close their lips when you bring them near the breast or bottle.
  3. Babies start falling asleep and slow down breastfeeding.
  4. They push the nipples out of the mouth.
  5. Older ones push food forwards and start playing around.

Babies start crying when they don’t feed. However, you can look after some of the early signs mentioned above to understand your baby’s hunger. Be sure to notice these cues to know about feeding urges. The signs help feed your baby in the right manner and build a love bond with your baby.


1. How Frequently Should You Feed Your Baby?

On average, you can breastfeed your baby after an interval of two to four hours. However, some babies need frequent feeding and feed after every hour.

2. Will the Baby Stop Crying if Still Hungry?

Crying is a common sign which shows the baby is hungry. Babies usually can’t talk and use movement and sounds to indicate hunger. However, they can stop crying if they are still hungry if you offer them a pacifier or bottle.

3. Should I Feed My Baby Every Time He Wakes Up?

You can feed your baby when he wakes up but look after the early signs to know if they are hungry.

Read Also: 7 Signs Your Baby Is Getting Enough Breast Milk

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

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