3 Stages of Baby Hunger Cues

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,


Back to blog

Need a little naptime support, mama?

Go ahead and grab yourself a copy of Nap So Simple - your guide for taking the stress right out of naptimes.