It’s tempting to want your baby to finish that last bit of breastmilk or formula, or to want him to eat more if he’s had less than usual, but it’s important to recognize that he knows when he’s had enough. He was born that way. By encouraging our babies to keep eating when they are full, we are teaching them to ignore their bodies’ hunger and fullness cues.
Trust that your baby knows how much he needs, and remember that his hunger can change from day to day or feeding to feeding.
- Turning away from your nipple or a bottle
- Starting to play, appearing easily distracted or disinterested in feeding
- Beginning to cry shortly after feeding starts
- Extending his fingers, arms and/or legs
- Slowing his sucking
- Starting to fall asleep (see section below for more details)
In the early weeks, some newborns are sleepy and need help staying awake to eat. If he’s younger than a month and hasn’t eaten in a few hours, try keeping him awake long enough to eat by:
- Undressing him
- Wiping his forehead or feet with a damp cloth
- Playing with his feet and/or hands
- Talking to him
Once your doctor has said your baby is gaining weight well, it’s OK to let your baby fall asleep before he has finished eating. It’s probably a sign he’s full. Just follow his lead on when to feed.