If you've ever taken my online breastfeeding class, then you've probably seen this statistic:
The #1 reason a woman gives up breastfeeding is because she thinks she isn't making enough milk.
Why is that??? Well..... one of the top reasons a mom thinks she's not making enough milk is because she doesn't understand what her baby is trying to communicate. The great news is newborns are actually excellent communicators, if you know how to interpret their language that is. In this blog we're going to talk about the 3 most important cues your baby uses to communicate, that could just save your breastfeeding relationship.
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Feeding cues are pretty straight forward, right? Well..... not always. Sometimes they can be confusing.
When I talk to new parents, and ask them, "What does your baby do to tell you they're hungry?" the most typical response is, "They cry." Well, I'm sorry to say they're wrong! Crying is not a hunger cue.... it's actually the very last thing your baby will do to communicate hunger to you, and they'll only do it if you've missed the last 20 minutes of them using their body signals to communicate hunger.
Crying is a distress signal..... now.... when I say distress.... please keep in mind that distress to a newborn can be something as simple as "it's too bright", "too cold", "too smelly", or "too overstimulating". So, if you think your baby is crying because they're hungry, ask yourself.....
How long has it been since baby's eaten?
Could this be a distress signal?
Am I reading their body language correctly?
If your baby has recently eaten, then he's likely not still hungry. At this point, your baby is probably fussy because digestion is a scary and weird feeling to them, or they need to burp, fart, or have a bit of acid reflux. Instead of bringing your baby back to the breast in these instances, use some comfort measures instead, like my Magic Baby Hold.
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Side Note: If your baby is crying excessively, this is a red flag! It is not normal for a baby to be inconsolable for long periods. If you feel like your baby is crying for hunger after feeding, and not just gassy, please call your pediatrician ASAP and reach out for lactation support. Excessive crying could be a sign of a feeding issue.
In the video below, I cover the top 3 cues your baby will use to communicate with you. I cover the difference between hunger and discomfort, and also show you the body sign you want to see when your baby is nice and full! So.... please watch, and when you're done leave me a comment and tell me if you see these signs in your baby.
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Kelly Maher, CLC, CLE
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