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Learn Your Baby
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Learn Your Baby

For your baby, home is in your arms. There, baby finds all he needs: food, love, warmth, comfort, and safety. In the early days, baby will teach you what he wants and when he needs it. And being in your loving arms will teach baby that he can depend on you.

Feed My Baby on CueComforting My Baby


Babies can’t talk, but they can show you when they want to eat! They do this by showing special feeding cues. Watch for these cues and feed baby for as long as she wants whenever you see her. This helps your baby be happier and cry less. It also helps you make more milk so your baby can grow.

How It Works

Your body is amazing! You have the ability to feed and comfort your baby at the same time. Your baby’s cues make it easier to know when!

  • It’s easy to spot his cues when baby stays with you. It’s even easier when you keep him on your chest skin-to-skin.
  • Watch for baby’s feeding cues. He might suck on his hands or fingers, or turn his head toward things that touch his cheek.
  • Feed your baby at least 8 to 12 times every 24 hours.
  • Offer your breast and let baby nurse as long as he wants. When he gets sleepy or comes off on his own, you can offer the other breast.
  • If you miss baby’s cues, he will become distressed and cry. There are many ways to calm him down.
  • Hold him skin-to-skin.
  • Gently move or sway him.
  • Offer a clean finger for him to suck on.
  • Talk softly to him.
  • I have a strange empty feeling in my tummy.
  • See my cues that I’m ready to eat.
  • You'll know I'm ready to eat when I smack or lick my lips.
  • When I open and close my mouth.
  • When I suck on my lips, tongue, hands, or fingers.
  • When I move my head toward things that touch my cheek.
  • When I move or bob my head from side to side.
  • When I breathe fast and begin to fuss.
  • I smell my mom now. Food and comfort are near!
  • A full tummy feels good. I fall asleep and come off your breast on my own.

As mom’s champion, you can help her look for baby’s feeding cues.

  • Learn about the feeding cues that show when babies are ready to eat.
  • When baby shows these cues, bring the baby to the mom so she can hold him skin-to-skin.
  • If baby is crying, help her calm the baby first. Gently sway the baby and talk softly.
  • Tell mom she is doing a great job!

You’ll love feeding on cue!

There’s no greater feeling than knowing you are the one who comforts and satisfies your baby when he needs it most.

  • When baby feeds on cue often, he is more content and cries less.
  • Your baby learns the power of love when he is close to you. This helps you care for your baby more easily once you’re home.
  • The more you feed your baby, the more milk you make!
  • Your milk flows sooner.
  • Frequent feedings also help keep your breasts from getting engorged.

You can feed on cue even when…

Baby wants to feed all the time

Don’t worry. Your baby will not always need to feed this often. Right at first her small tummy holds only a little, so it has to be filled often. Hold your baby skin-to-skin to help her calm between feedings. Be patient and treasure this time of closeness with your baby. Soon it will get easier.

Others think you are nursing baby too much

Family and friends might think that all this feeding is spoiling the baby. That is not true! Babies need to eat often to grow and gain weight. It is also not possible to spoil a newborn. Lots of feeding and cuddling make your baby more secure.

You aren’t sure about your baby’s cues

Your baby will have his own way to tell you when he wants to feed. Give it time and soon you and your baby will get in sync. If you aren’t sure, ask your nurse to help you.

Baby needs special care

Sometimes babies go to the Special Care Nursery or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after birth. This helps the doctor and nurse watch your baby more closely. If you and your baby will be apart for more than an hour after the birth, express your milk by hand or with a breast pump. If your baby cannot stay in your room with you, ask if you can go to your baby. If your baby is not able to breastfeed, ask your nurse for a breast pump to express your milk.

You have chosen to formula feed your baby

All babies show feeding cues, no matter how they are fed. When you watch for those cues, your baby will be less likely to eat too much.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I feed my baby?

Plan to nurse your baby every time she shows feeding cues. Your baby needs to eat at least 8 to 12 times every day. Lots of nursing helps quiet your baby and helps you make more milk.

Why does my baby cry?

Babies cry for lots of reasons besides hunger. Babies fuss when they are too hot or too cold. They cry when they are tired. They cry when too many people hold them. They fuss when they want to be warm and snuggly in your arms.

What about the second night?

Most babies are sleepy during the first day and become more alert by the second night. They can easily get over stimulated from the hospital activity and may cry a lot. They often want to feed nonstop to feel safe and calm. Just hold baby skin-to-skin and feed him when he wants. Soon he will settle.

Should I wake my baby to nurse her?

Birth is tiring, so most babies sleep a lot at first. If baby is still sleeping 3 to 5 hours after the last feed began, you can try to wake her. Change her diaper, unwrap her, and place her on your chest skin-to-skin. She will wake slowly and calmly.

What if my baby is in a deep sleep?

It’s easier for baby to wake when you wait until he’s in a light sleep. Watch his eyelids! You’ll see fluttering under his eyelids and maybe even see him smile in his sleep. He will wake more easily now.

I’m not sure I want to breastfeed.

Rooming-in is good for all babies and moms, no matter how they are fed. Every baby needs to feel warm and secure in the arms of his mother. And all moms want a baby who is happier and more content.

And there you have it

You and your baby make a perfect team. Together, you can do it!