There are some things your baby needs to learn but recognizing when he’s hungry or full isn’t one of them. It’s human instinct. We’re all born with the ability to feel hunger and fullness.
From the moment he arrives, your baby will tell you when he’s ready for food or when he’s had enough. Recognizing and reading these signs is something you’ll quickly learn. It’s called ‘responsive feeding’ because you let your baby take the lead with how often he feeds and how much he drinks.
Trust your baby
Some parents, however, think they know better than their baby when he’s hungry or full. Rather than watching for and responding to signs, they feed to a schedule. They might also cut short a feeding they feel is going on for too long, or encourage their baby to feed for longer if it seems too short. Scientific studies suggest that this can override a baby’s natural ability to feel hungry and full, leading to overfeeding or underfeeding, and future weight issues.
DiSantis KI, Hodges EA, Johnson SL et al. The role of responsive feeding in overweight during infancy and toddlerhood: a systematic review. Int J Obes 2011; 35(4):480-92.
Fildes A, vanJaarsveld CH, Llewellyn C et al. Parental control over feeding in infancy. Influence of infant weight, appetite and feeding method. Appetite 2015; 91:101-6.
Gross RS, Mendelsohn AL, Fierman AH et al. Maternal infant feeding behaviors and disparities in early child obesity. Child Obes 2014; 10(2):145-52.
McNally J, Hugh-Jones S, Caton S et al. Communicating hunger and satiation in the first 2 years of life: a systematic review. Matern Child Nutr 2015; 12(2):205-28.