Newborn babies communicate when they are hungry and they have many prewired behaviours or reflexes to signal this hunger. These behaviours or feeding cues are easy to recognize. They occur even when baby is lightly sleeping and they signal when baby is most receptive to feeding. It is important to learn to recognise these “feeding cues or hunger signs” when they occur.
The Feeding Cues are:

  • Rapid Eye movement
  • “Clicking” or tongue sucking ( this creates a “kissing” noise)
  • Rooting (Opening the mouth and searching to suck on contact)
  • Hand movements to the mouth and sucking on hands
  • Moving other extremities
  • General increased alertness or activity
  • Crying (a late sign)

If the infant is more alert he or she will show the feeding cues with open eyes. If the infant is in a light sleep state the eyes will be closed and you can see rapid eye movement. All of these feeding cues may be demonstrated simultaneously, individually, or as a group of behaviours.

breastfeeding attachment