Newborn babies need to eat constantly, more or less, but their bellies are beyond tiny. It makes guessing whether they're still hungry a bit more difficult for the adults in charge of feeding duties. So knowing the signs your baby is full will help you know when meal time has ended for your little one. Until your baby is able to communicate more directly, it's the best way to gauge his need for more food.
For the most part, babies need to be fed whenever they display hunger cues, and the amount of food they need depends on their age. For instance, newborns need to have some food every 2 to 3 hours, whereas 6-month-old babies can eat every 4 to 5 hours, as noted by the Academy Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Rooting, lip licking, and fussiness are common signs of hunger in babies, as further noted by the AAP. Well, that's in addition to the most obvious hunger cue of all: crying.
Although even the youngest babies are pretty great at communicating hunger, it's harder to tell when little ones are done eating. They don't exactly push a chair back from the dining table or get up and bus their own plate. Good thing these are these signs that your baby is content and done eating so that you can be even more in sync with his needs.
1. Your Baby Unlatches Or Drops Food Source
Really, babies are pretty good at self-regulating their food intake and letting you know when enough is enough. If your baby is pushing aside the breast, bottle, or spoon, that's a pretty big sign that she's done eating for the moment, as noted in The Bump. You can both take a break now.
2. Your Baby's Hands Are Open And Loose
Feeling full can give your baby a peaceful sensation, and this can show up in his body language. For instance, if your baby's hands are relaxed and open, then he's probably satisfied with his meal, as noted by Breastfeeding USA. It's a sign of contentment.
3. Your Baby's Whole Body Relaxes
You know how you feel all chilled-out and pleasant after a big meal? That sensation starts early in life. If your baby's whole body relaxes during a meal, it could mean she's full, as noted by the Family Health Service. She may even feel "loose" in your arms.
4. Your Baby Falls Asleep
Well, this is some pretty direct communication. If your baby falls asleep in the middle of the meal, it means dinnertime is over, as noted by the Family Health Service. Don't you wish it were acceptable for adults to nap directly at the table, too?
5. Your Baby Gets Distracted
Hey, when you're hungry, it's hard to think about anything other than food. On the other hand, infants who are done feeding may be distracted or fidgety, as noted by Gerber. Food then is no longer the main interest.
6. Your Baby Turns Head Away From Food
This is a pretty active refusal. If your baby turns her head away when you come close with a food source, then your child is probably full, as noted in The Bump. The head turn is another way of saying "nope," and it's important to respect your baby's communication, even if you still have a little milk or formula left to go. "If baby turns away before the bottle is finished or before your usual nursing time is up, accept the fact that he or she may not be hungry now," said pediatrician Alanna Levine in The Bump.
7. Your Baby Seems Happy
As a parent, you're probably very attuned to your baby's moods. So if your kid seems happy after a meal, then he's probably full and content, as noted in Fit Pregnancy. You can relax knowing your little one is well cared for and save your energy for the next feeding.