Infants need to eat in order to grow. The problem is, babies born preterm or with other health issues sleep a lot and do not necessarily show signs of hunger. To make sure your baby is getting enough nourishment, you can try feeding every time your baby wakes up and any time your baby shows signs of hunger..

Signs of hunger:

  • Waking up before feeding time/span>
  • Licking
  • Moving head around as if searching for the nipple
  • Opening mouth wide
  • Putting fingers into mouth, sucking on fingers and/or pacifier
  • Fussing or crying in hunger

Hunger cues


As you get to know your baby, you will recognize hunger signs. If your baby does not yet express hunger, you can feed according to the schedule established by the medical staff. In the first few weeks after hospital discharge, breastfed infants will generally nurse every 2-3 hours during the day and every 3-4 hours at night. That works out to about 8-12 feedings in 24 hours. If the baby is bottle-fed, feedings are generally every 3-5 hours. However, the baby may get hungry more often, especially during growth spurts. If the baby seems hungry, feed on demand.

Feedings should generally not last longer than 30 minutes. After that, the baby just gets overtired with little, if any, extra benefit.

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