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What are feeding cues?

Mums should become familiar with feeding cues from their baby. While many mums will take the nuzzling of the breast as their main cue, there are many other signs that mums should watch for.
Early feeding cues:
  • licking lips 
  • opening or closing of the mouth
  • sucking on fingers, hands, feet, toys, clothes or toes
  • Eye movement under closed lids
  • Increased alertness
  • Movements of arms and legs
  • Tossing, turning or wiggling
  • Mouthing
  • Rooting
  • Changes in facial expression
  • Squeaking noises or light fussing
Late feeding cues:
  • moving head frantically from side to side
  • crying
It is very difficult to get a baby to latch on when crying so always try and feed her before she begins to cry. Also, when a baby has been crying, they may feed briefly and then fall asleep quickly which is a sign their nervous system has been overloaded. This is perfectly normal as babies’ nervous systems have yet to mature. If a baby falls asleep after a few short suckles then he might not have had a full feeding.
Try and avoid changing nappies or clothes before a feeding if it upsets your baby as this might cause difficulty when you want him to latch on. If your baby is crying loudly, rather than trying to get him to latch on straight away, give him your finger to suck on. Also trying rocking him for a little while (from ear to ear rather than back to front). This should help calm him enough to latch on.

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