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How Does Your Baby Know It's Hungry?

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Sure, your kid will need help learning how to talk or share a toy. But when it comes to eating regularly, your child can probably teach you a thing or two. Even a hungry baby can announce their need for food by wailing at the top of their lungs. With this in mind, how does your baby know it's hungry? Because there are plenty of adults who have a difficult time telling hunger pangs apart from other feelings.

After all, older kids and adults kind of have it rough when it comes to potential hunger stimulants. As noted in Psychology Today, everything from food portion sizes to sensory cues (such as the smell of a delicious meal) can trigger a desire to eat. For instance, you may eat simply because it's noon, or because a co-worker just rolled in with a box of fresh donuts. Your body's feelings of hunger may not factor in to all of your meals. Comparatively, infants have a more direct relationship with their bodily hunger pangs. As explained in Psych Central, babies simply respond to their innate sense of hunger. In general, babies feel hungry, communicate that need for food to you, and stop eating when that hunger pang is satisfied. It doesn't matter if it's 2:00 in the morning, or you're stuck in the middle of traffic, or you're desperately trying to grab a shower. When that hunger light comes on, your baby will let you know and start demanding a snack soon after.

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In fact, the way the human body signals a sensation of hunger is fascinating. As noted in the Daily Mail, the body has a system that measures the contents of your stomach and the rest of your digestive tract, and when the stomach's supplies are running low, the brain releases the hormone ghrelin, causing that familiar sensation of hunger. And for babies, this feeling of hunger can crop up a lot. Because your newborn's stomach can only hold about a teaspoon's worth of food, babies need to eat up to a dozen times a day in order to stay nourished, as noted by Group Health Cooperative. The specifics will vary from baby to baby, but in general those early feedings are frequent (and often demanded from your little one). But in time, you will learn the signs your baby is hungry so you can feed your little one before those hangry cries kick in.