3 Stages of Baby Hunger Cues

Babies are born asking for milk, they just haven’t yet developed the language to spell it out.

Instead, baby hunger cues move through three stages; early, active and late.

Early cues:

- Smacking/licking the lips

- Sucking on hands or toys

- Opening and closing the mouth

Active cues:

- Rooting

- Squirming and fussing

- Laying back/getting into position for a feed

Late cues:

- Frantically moving head from side-to-side

- Turning red

- Crying


When we tune into and respond to early cues, feeds typically feel more comfortable and less stressful.

For a baby showing late hunger cues, or who is already crying, try not to panic - it’s not always going to be possible to respond to the very earliest cues!  Breathe out the stress and offer baby comfort and a feed as soon as you can - and serenity (or close to it!) will return.

With love,



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