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How to Understand Whether a Baby Is Full or Hungry

Young mothers often wonder how much food to give to their babies and how often they should feed them. Many of them worry that a baby will feel hungry for a long time or won’t get enough nutrition at all. At the same time, experts say that the baby will show signs of these things themselves. The main thing is to be able to interpret them.

5-Minute Crafts will help you learn baby signals so you can understand whether a baby is full or not.

❗ The article is for informational purposes and does not replace the recommendations of experts.

How to understand if a newborn is hungry

Long before the baby learns to speak, they will be giving signs to the parents indicating whether they are hungry or full. Crying is often a late sign of hunger, which is why experts recommend learning to notice other signs, such as sounds and movements, and encouraging the baby to eat as long as they are calm.

A baby can tell you they’re hungry in the following ways:

  • Bringing the hands to the mouth or sucking the fingers
  • Turning the head in search of the breast or bottle
  • Squeezing their lips, licking or smacking them
  • Clenching the hands
  • Opening and closing the mouth actively
  • Putting the head on the mother’s chest while being held
  • Becoming unusually alert and active, not sleeping for a long time
  • Pulling up the legs
  • Squirming around


The baby can demonstrate either some or all of the aforementioned signs of hunger. Monitor how the baby behaves between feeding sessions and you’ll soon find it easier to distinguish the signals the newborn is sending you.

Breastfeeding experts note that it’s important to let the baby suck the breasts until they are full. The baby might be full if he/she:

  • Stops eating and starts to “fall off” the mother’s breasts
  • Stops eating on their own and removes themselves from the breasts
  • Turns away from the breasts or the feeding bottle
  • Relaxes and stops clenching the hands
  • Stops sucking and you feel there is less milk in the breasts

If you still have doubts about whether the baby is full after feeding, try to help them let the air out and then offer them another breast or bottle. A full baby won’t show any interest in food, while a baby who is still hungry won’t refuse the food.

How to understand if a baby aged 6 months to 2 years is hungry

The toddler might be hungry if he/she:

  • Reaches their hands for food or points at the food
  • Becomes excited when seeing food
  • Opens the mouth when they are offered a treat or a spoon
  • Gesticulates and makes sounds, letting those around them know they are hungry

The toddler is probably full if he/she:

  • Turns away their head from food
  • Pushes the plate or the spoon with food away
  • Closes their mouth when food is offered
  • Makes sounds or uses hand movements to show they’re full
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