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How do I know if my baby is hungry?!

Question Posted Thursday April 30 2009, 2:17 pm

I'm a first time mom and I feel so lost. I have no idea if and when my baby is hungry. :( and I feel like such a terrible mother.

My baby is 7 weeks old, and he will breastfeed for around 10 minutes. and then come off and latch back on. but once he latches back on he just cries and cries. so i feel like maybe hes still hungry but hes just not getting enough from me. If i give him his pacifier though he happily sucks it. but then i feel guilty thinking well maybe hes sucking it because hes hungry.

I just would like a straightforward answer as to how to know when my baby is hungry and how to know when hes full and just crying for the sake of crying.

because now whats happening is he'll cry and i'll check his diaper..and its fine. and then try to feed him and he will latch on.. i dont have to coax him. but once hes latched on he starts to scream.

PLEASE please please someone help me!

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chrissibug answered Sunday May 10 2009, 3:33 pm:
try using a nipple that you use on a bottle put it on your breast i dod this to my daughter when she was a baby t worked and it helps not so much pain ether when they suck my doctor told me to do this baby should be feeed every 2 hours at that age to or to every 3 hours and look for a hart on line as your baby get older to see what bottle time is they have then on line hope this helps if it dosnt ask your doctor.

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xkatiex answered Sunday May 3 2009, 11:04 pm:
I used to freak out too... Whatever you do, dont stop breastfeeding because of this... Just feed him till he stops and sit him up and rub his back till he burps. No more then 15 minutes then offer him the breast again. If he takes it let him suck for as long as he wnts. If he doesnt then he is full.

Just relax. If you're freaking out so is he. He gets his emotional que from whatever he feels from you.

If he cries do all the checks. If you just fed him, burp him... then check his nappy (diaper) then check to see if anything is poking him in the wrong place...

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to babies...

I dont know if i have helped or just confused you more... But good luck!

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beautevil78 answered Friday May 1 2009, 5:16 pm:
its ok dont freak out maybe you need to burp him and rub his stomach for a couple minutes and if he continues to cry to getting a pump and it will help you get more milk out faster

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familyfirst answered Friday May 1 2009, 2:02 pm:
The "simple" answer to if your baby is hungry is- if he is crying and you try to feed him, he will eat until he is satisfied. Then he will let go. If he still needs to suckle, a pacifier is perfectly adequate and you do not need to let him suckle on you until your breasts are sore. Let him eat and then let him have a pacifier. Babies have a natural need to suckle and this does not equal hunger. So pacifiers are okay.

However, as I am sure you have learned, babies are not simple. Now, let me start by saying that all babies like all adults are different. There are "rules" but then there are exceptions to every rule so what I say next may or may not apply to you.

What concerns me is you said he will latch on and then start to scream. This could suggest a few things that you may need to discuss with your pediatrician. 1. He may have acid reflux. 2. Colic. 3. Some sort of lactose intolerance or milk protein allergy.

I have three children ranging from 5 1/2 years to 11 months. It has been my personal experience that my children never cried "for the sake of crying". It is an old wives tale that babies cry to "practice using their lungs". That was what we heard when I was a kid. When babies are content and have what they need, they generally don't cry (until they are a little older and are not getting their way or are just being ornery... but at 7 weeks this is not usually a problem).

Your pediatrician should be kept informed of all of this. They can do a very easy test to see if he is getting enough to eat by simply having frequent weights. If your baby is gaining weight appropriately, he is getting enough to eat. If he is uncomfortable, however, there may be other tests they need to do to see if there is a problem such as those I mentioned above.

Above all else, remember that you are NOT a terrible mother. You are clearly a very loving concerned mother who just wants to do the best by her baby- which is what WONDERFUL mothers do.

Things get a little easier in the coming weeks. When my oldest was born I had never even held a newborn, let alone all of the "mothering" stuff. I also did not grow up with a "mother" so I didn't have anything to draw from. I spent a LOT of time feeling inadequate and less than the other mothers I saw who seemed to know exactly how its done! You'll get there. It may just take a few months (or a year or two haha).

One extra little side thought... I don't know exactly what you are feeling but you mentioned you feel like a terrible mother, and you do seem a bit overwhelmed. Don't forget to take a little care of yourself too. If you are feeling extraordinarily upset or "down", you may want to mention this to your own doctor. You may need a little pick me up for potential post partum depression (PPD). I had it with all 3 of mine. You may not have this but if you do and if you get help, you will be an even better mother because of it.

Best of luck, and HAPPY MOTHER's DAY!!! :)

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