It’s safe to say the automatic answer to a newborn’s cry is that they are hungry. Still, there are tons of other ways to tell if a newborn needs more food. While they are still learning how to communicate outside of cries and whimpers, it’s kind of cool how most newborns showcase their need for food in similar ways.
Whether they are fussier than usual after eating or sucking on their fists hoping to get more nursing in, newborns are pretty creative in showing that they’re still hungry. Sometimes their indicators are actually quite obvious, other times, it might call for Mom and Dad to do a little more research. But in the end, the answer could be as simple as they are just still hungry.
The great thing is that there’s an easy fix for it. More food! It’s just getting to the point of determining that that’s the actual answer that seems to be the challenge for parents whether it’ their first child or if they have a household full of children. While needing more food might not be the only answer to certain motions, it could definitely be on the top of the list. Take a look at 20 signs a newborn might need more food.
Let’s start off with the obvious. We all know that when a baby cries, it’s very, very likely that they need more food. While cries can also mean a newborn needs his or her diaper changed, or that they want a little extra love and affection, there are actually hunger cries that stand out from the rest, according to Enfamil. The site describes hunger cries as short and low-pitched. The cries also go up and then down. If it turns to the point of wailing, it doesn’t mean that they’re not hungry, but rather that they might be too worn out to eat.
19 Baby’s Not Gaining Pounds
Research has shown repeatedly that babies grow pretty fast once they enter the world. While it isn’t unusual for them to lose lbs. in their first days of birth, between the third or fourth week, they should be four to seven ounces larger than their original birth size. Once they hit week four, the average is roughly one to two pounds per month. If a baby is off track with this guide provided by Romper, it might be safe to say they aren’t getting enough food and nutrients. It’s always a good idea to check in with their pediatrician when any issues or concerns occur. We’re pretty sure any mom will have their child’s doctor on speed dial.
18 Sucking On Fist, And Smacking Lips
It’s no secret these gestures fall into the adorable category when it comes to a newborn and their ability to learn how to communicate and just show off their skills. Still, it’s been said that this sucking on their fists and even smacking their lips are more signs of a newborn possibly showing their hunger. Enfamil pointed out this often happens with babies who are breastfed. It’s important to start nursing stat because it’s likely the baby will latch on even quicker than usual, even if it’s not the typical feeding time for the infant. But, in the end, baby will be happy and full.
17 The Girls Are Very Engorged
One of a postpartum mom’s least favorite aspects of pregnancy and breastfeeding has to be when the ta-tas start to get engorged. On top of being uncomfortable, it is super inconvenient, especially because they are a hint that a newborn isn’t getting enough food. Plus, it’s also a sign that the breasts aren’t being drained correctly after a feeding, according to Romper. So you see, there’s nothing to really shout out about when it comes to engorged breasts, even though it’s completely normal. If they continue and/or worsen, it’s best for a mom to discuss it with a lactation consultant.
16 Baby’s Fussier Than Usual
Yes, there are lots of babies that are typically fussier than most. We all know those adorable and very vocal babies, according to Baby Center. However, sometimes that’s a sign they aren’t getting enough food. If it gets to the point where they are falling asleep as soon than they make contact with the breast, there’s a chance they ironically aren’t getting enough breastmilk. Interestingly enough, they might even start crying and getting fussy as soon as they are taken off the breast. In those moments when it seems as if there is absolutely no way to satisfy them, it could just mean they aren’t getting enough food.
15 Opening Their Mouth While Feeding
The hunger indicators don’t always come before feeding takes place. Sometimes a baby a will show they want even more while they’re eating. This comes into play when they open their mouth while feeding. They are clearly satisfied with their intake and are simply asking for more, according to Enfamil. This even happens after they have finished the first breast or first bottle. Yes, it was great, now they want even more. It’s quite a simple indicator to realize the newborn simply needs more food. At least in the end moms can know their little ones had a great meal and will be at peace once they’re nice and full.
14 Mom’s Milk Hasn’t Come In Yet
While the body is all up for giving out colostrum since a mommy’s pregnancy days, it’s been said the breastmilk won’t make its official debut until three or four days after giving birth, according to Romper. If the milk hasn’t arrived by this time, it’s wise to let a physician or lactation consultant know so they can provide tips on how to move forward. But in the end, there shouldn’t be any worries. We know any mom on a mission can figure out how to make sure their child is getting enough food and nutrients; especially once they realize why the child could be lacking.
13 Waking Up & Restless
One major key to recognize if a newborn needs more food is that they wake up and are pretty restless. This often happens even before the crying phase that will only kick in within a matter of time. After all, parents who have finally gone to sleep won’t necessarily hear their newborn moving around in the crib. While this method of showing that they need more hunger can fly under the radar for quite some time, the newborn might also move their mouth and put their hands in their face to show and display they need more food, according to Enfamil.
12 You Rarely Hear Or See Baby Swallow
While nursing a newborn, it’s always vital for a mother to listen to see if the baby is swallowing. If not, there’s a chance they need more food, according to Baby Center. Still, it’s really important to note that all babies are different (thank you, Captain Obvious), which means that some of them are not as vocal or obvious about their feeding. So if this is the only indicator on the list that a baby is experiencing, it might just mean they are a quiet eater, not that they aren’t getting enough food. If there’s still a level of uncertainty, of course moms can… you guessed it… talk to their doctor.
11 Not A Let-Down Reflex In Sight
For the moms that don’t get that tingling sensation, also described as “pins and needles” feeling when their newborn has been feeding for quite some time, that could mean that the milk hasn’t come down yet, according to Romper. The relaxation or tingling is known as the let-down reflex and serves as a guarantee that the child is getting enough food. On the other hand, if there’s an absence of this infamous reflex, that also means a newborn needs more food. It’s a very cut and dry process if you ask us. But at least it’s one of the easier ways to tell if a newborn is getting enough to eat.
10 Dry Mouth And Dry Eyes
If a baby seems to have dry mouth and eyes, that’s a major indicator that they are not getting enough food, according to Baby Center. Interestingly enough, a baby is going through many things during their first few days, weeks, months, etc. of their lives. So, while dry mouth and dry eyes might seem like something small, it’s actually a way their body reveals that they might not be getting enough food. If this is the case, moms should have a chat with their doctor for creative but yet very necessary solutions. It can be done!
9 Still Hungry After Feedings
For those moms who want to give their baby a major side eye because they are still hungry just after a feeding, the answer could be as simple as the newborn not getting enough food. Healthy Children said it’s very possible the baby isn’t getting enough milk intake. In those instances, it’s best to call their doctor and have the child examined. In the meantime, before they go to the doctor, it’s a good idea to check the latch and make sure the baby’s positioning on the breast is proper in order for them to get more milk. And there you have it.
8 Really Short Or Really Long Nursing Sessions
If a nursing session or longer or shorter than the normal average, if that number even truly exists, it’s a key indicator that the infant needs more food. According to Romper, the golden timeframe is over an hour, for ones that are considered extremely long, and less than five minutes, for the ones that are shorter. In either incident, the child isn’t getting enough milk. Considering every mother and every newborn is different (even twins), there are multiple reasons for this, one common one being a low milk supply or the baby’s inability to latch right away. But don’t worry, they’ll get there!
7 Baby Consistently Misses Eating Sessions
While the idea of newborn sleeping through the night is amazing, it’s not always an amazing thing. According to Healthy Children, if a newborn often misses a nursing session or even sleeps all night, they aren’t getting enough food. For a newborn, it’s extremely important to feed them around the clock, whether they’re being nursed or bottle-fed. Newborns literally have to eat every few hours (specifically, they shouldn’t go more than four hours without eating). This point is on the mom to make sure she wakes up feed them and ensures that the baby is eating and taking in the food by swallowing and other factors.
Rooting is described as a reflex that is commonly seen in newborns. It happens when they routinely turn their face toward the bottle or the breast and make sucking movements with their mouths when anyone touches their cheeks or lips. This might be a cute motion that calls for snapshots galore, but it’s also an indicator that Mom will have a positive and effective breastfeeding or bottle session. Enfamil also added rooting becomes more of a voluntary movement instead of a reflex once the baby reaches four months. Either way, it’s safe to say when they turn toward the bottle or breast after their cheek is stroked, they need more food.
5 Baby Isn’t Producing Enough Wet Diapers
On average, a newborn should be giving their mommy and daddy three wet diapers and three dirty diapers for their first five days, according to Romper. And then they kick it into high gear. After roughly their first week, its normal for a newborn to produce more than six wet diapers and roughly three dirty ones. One can probably guess why this often calls for a parent to count their newborn’s wet and dirty diapers on a daily to make sure the newborns are giving the right amount. If not, it’s a key hint and sign that the baby might need more food.
4 Smiling While Feeding
This is another sign that happens during feeding where the baby can show he or she simply wants more food. Smiling isn’t just a reflex, but rather an indicator that they’re happy and wouldn’t mind more food. In fact, smiling while feeding is their way of requesting it. This can even apply to older babies that are more than four months, according to Enfamil. It’s safe to say that it’s definitely their way of showing their joy and contentment before they’re able to express it with words and physically say, “More, please!” Hey, even we as adults like to smile when we’re eating if it’s just that good.
3 Pain Prevents Proper Latch
Any mom that breastfeeds fully understands the pain that can be attached with it; especially when it comes to the pain stopping a newborn from properly latching. Unfortunately, as if the pain wasn’t bad enough, that can also be an indicator that a child isn’t getting enough food, according to Romper. Soreness and pain in the nips as well as engorgement that we discussed above, can cause a ton of pain when the baby tries to latch. This is an indicator that the baby isn’t latching properly, and not getting enough food. One solution could be to switch positions. If that doesn’t work, it’s never a bad thing to discuss it with the child’s doctor.
2 The Girls Are Still Hard After Feeding
If the breasts are still hard after nursing, it’s very possible the newborn didn’t drink enough milk. Along with severe pain and engorgement, the notion that the hardness of breasts stay the same or goes down very little is a major factor in determining if a newborn is getting enough food. If the breasts don’t back down to their normal and usual tenderness after feeding, it’s best to consult with a doctor to find out creative ways to make sure the newborn is eating enough food. Plus, it is just so uncomfortable, and it’s safe to say a postpartum mother has been through enough.
1 #1 Is Dark
Research says that if a newborn’s urine is dark, not just a dark yellow, but similar to the color of good old apple juice, they aren’t getting enough food. However, if it is pale or even clear, it’s a great indication they’re getting enough liquid. If it is more concentrated, the newborn might need more fluids, according to Baby Center. This can serve as a true guide to how to tell if a newborn needs more food. What better way to tell? It’s the end all be all.