Infant & Toddler, Partners & Parents

Early Signs of Baby Hunger

Depending on the time of day and the individual needs of your newborn, they will need to eat every 1 to 6 hours.

While fathers may not be actively involved at mealtimes, if their wife or partner is breastfeeding, it is important to know and look out for the signs. After all, a calm baby is easier to feed than an agitated one.

Here are the most common early signs of hunger. Remember, your baby may not display all of them.

1. Restlessness (while asleep or awake) in the form of a squirm or wiggle.

2. Hungry babies lick their lips or may open and close their mouths.

3. They may suck their fingers, toes, tongue or clothes.

4. Turning their heads towards a particular stimulus like stroking their cheek or lips. This is known as the rooting or search reflex, which is a baby’s way of trying to attach to the breast to suckle.

5. Rapid eye movement beneath closed eyelids.

If your baby has begun to fuss and cry, you have probably missed the early signs and they are definitely in need of a feed.

More information on feeding frequency and quantity is available in our Baby’s First Year Feeding Guide. You may also learn how to prepare formula milk with our step-by-step instructions.

Always consult with a qualified medical professional or childcare expert when taking important decisions regarding your child’s health.


Impress your partner with key facts, take better co-parenting decisions and be 'in the know'. Visit our Partners & Parents resource center for more.

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