What are the signs that my baby is hungry?
Despite what some new moms might think, crying is a late sign of hunger. You should try to nurse before your baby is so hungry that he or she gets really upset and becomes difficult to calm down.
Signs that babies are hungry include:
- moving their heads from side to side
- opening their mouths
- placing their hands and fists to their mouths
- puckering their lips as if to suck
- nuzzling again their mothers' breasts
- showing the rooting reflex (when a baby moves its mouth in the direction of something that's stroking or touching its cheek)
How can I tell when I'm ready to breastfeed?
During the first few days to weeks after delivery, you may feel strong cramps in your uterus, a sign of the "let-down reflex" that means your milk has come in. Just after you start breastfeeding, you may feel a pins-and-needles or tingling sensation in your breasts, and milk might drip from the breast not being used.
Let-down also can occur if a feeding is overdue or before you start nursing (some women experience let-down from simply seeing their baby or hearing a baby cry). Or, it may happen after your baby is latched on and has sucked a few times (you may notice your baby starting to gulp). Some women have multiple let-downs during a single feeding.
Some women, however, never have a feeling of let-down, which is OK, too. Even if you don't feel it, you should still see milk coming from your nipple and hear your baby swallowing.
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