Your Baby Knows How Much Is Enough
Infant Card 3
MN WIC Program
- Breastfeeding Your Baby
- Bottlefeeding Your Baby
- Your Baby Knows How Much Is Enough
- Starting Solids
- Teaching Your Baby to Use a Cup
- Starting Meats and Textures
- Starting Table and Finger Foods
- Time to Stop Using the Bottle
What parents need to do is give the right kinds of food when baby is hungry and then stop when baby is full.
During the first weeks of life, you will be getting to know your baby and the signals your baby uses when she is hungry or full. This is something you will need to learn. Each baby is different.
When your baby is hungry, she may:
- Suck on her hands.
- Move her lips.
- Fuss or cry.
- Open her mouth and turn toward you when you touch her mouth, cheek, or chin. This is called the rooting reflex. She’s looking for the nipple and is ready to eat.
How to help your baby eat well:
- Cuddle your baby while you feed her. Give her a little room for wiggling, but hold her tightly enough that she doesn’t feel like she might fall.
- Hold your baby so she can look into your face while she eats.
- Support your baby’s head, making sure that it’s a little higher than the rest of her body. (If she’s lying too flat, the milk could get into her ears and cause earaches.)
- Let her eat as fast or as slowly as she wants.
- Talk to her in a nice, quiet way while she eats, but don’t be too exciting.
- Only burp your baby if she seems like she’s full of air. (She’ll stop eating and may seem uncomfortable.)
- Let her stop and rest if she wants to. She may want to look at you, and have you look at her and talk to her, before she goes back to eating.
- If she stops to fuss, cuddle and talk to her until she quits crying. Then offer the feeding again. She may not want more food, but you need to check to be sure.
- Keep the feeding going. Don’t stop to wipe your baby’s chin, fix her blankets and clothing, or check how much is left in her bottle.
When your baby is full, she may:
- Slow down on her sucking.
- Spit out the nipple.
- Close her lips.
- Take more interest in other things going on around her.
Make sure you stop feeding your baby when she shows you she is full.
What about schedules?
- Your baby knows when she’s hungry and when she’s full. She’ll eat better if you feed her on demand when she wants to be fed, rather than on a schedule made by you.
- You may have been told that you’ll spoil your baby if you don’t keep her on a schedule. You can’t really spoil a child until toddler age.
- You show your baby love when you feed her the way she wants to be fed. You also help her learn to eat the right amount of food.