How will I know my baby(ies) is ready to feed?

Posted on January 21, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Very good question and first-time Moms especially worry about not recognizing their babies’ cues.  There are several ways a baby lets you know when s/he is ready to feed.  As they are waking up, they may stretch a little, maybe arch their back, smack their lips and/or tongues, and/or put a hand in their mouth and suck. Babies whom are NOT ready to feed will be quieter, move less, or very little mouth movement and there may be movement noticeable under their eyelids (from REM sleep).  If your baby is in this state, it is not advised to wake him up to feed but to let him continue to sleep until he is ready to wake on his own.  If woken too soon and not ready to feed due to sleeping soundly, it could soon be frustrating for both of you.

Another way to know if a baby is ready to feed is if they are fussy, turning their head side ways trying to “root” for a nipple to feed. Babies are automatically programmed to turn their head towards a nipple when held across the front of you.  If this is the case and they are not fed in a timely fashion say, because you do not recognize the cues, the situation will soon erupt into some full blown hollering and get your attention.  If a baby gets too worked up or angry, it can be a challenge to get her to settle down to feed, so watching for the signs that each babies is ready to feed can help things move more smoothly.

If you don’t manage to get to the baby(ies) before things get out of hand, focus on calming them down first before trying feeding.  Shushing, small bouncing while holding against your chest can work.  So can swaddling and shushing.  Don’t try to feed a baby when she is upset as she will just bring it all up again due to being agitated. Calm the baby down first and then offer the breast.  The breast is a familiar calming factor, once a baby is settled.

It won’t take long for you to read each baby’s cues so that you are able to recognize when each needs to be fed.  Best wishes.

21st January, 2010

Lynda P. Haddon

Multiple Birth Educator

Multiple Birth:  Prenatal Education & Bereavement Support

**Multiple-birth specific prenatal classes now available on DVD.  For more information, a preview and to order go to**

Recipient of a Community Builder’s Award from United Way for her work in the multiple birth community and  the Ottawa Coalition for the Prevention of Low Birth Weight and of two Awards from Multiple Births Canada for her work both Nationally and Internationally.



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