What the heck are feeding cues?

Small Child Baby Eat Face Meal Dirty

Feeding cues are certain actions or behaviors that your baby may exhibit when hungry or full. Although all babies are different there are some universal signs most babies exhibit. As you become more familiar with your baby you may notice signs they specifically do. The beauty in this is you and your baby are developing your own special language and understanding for each other. (Downloadable chart below!)

Common hunger cues:

  1. Licking lips or sticking their tongue out.
  2. Sucking on their hands, lips, or toys.
  3. Rooting which is when your baby is looking around and sucking- typically towards the chest of person holding them.
  4. Crying is considered a late hunger cue. In order for a feeding to occur calming your baby may be necessary first.

When your baby is crying from hunger it can be stressful for both you and them, trying to learn some common cues may save both of you some tears.

Common fullness cues:

  1. Slower sucking
  2. Turning head away from the nipple or bottle
  3. Pushing the nipple or bottle out of their mouth


When your baby is full they typically show these signs. A lot of parents who chose to bottle feed get into the habit of immediately putting the bottle back into their baby’s mouth; which can lead to overeating. When babies are young swallowing is more of a reflex than a choice. If your baby pushes the bottle out of their mouth, you can try to burp them and re-offer the bottle. If they take only a few more gulps it’s safe to assume they are full.

Remember babies have perfect hunger regulation! Trust them to let you know they are hungry or full.

Downloadable link for a Huger Cues Chart from WicWorks

Sources: Hunger Cues


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