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Hungry Baby

Question: My baby wants to breastfeed all the time. How can I know if the baby is hungry?

Take the baby to the pediatrician and get him/her weighed. The doctor will be able to tell you if the baby is getting enough to eat.

If you cannot take the baby to the doctor at this moment:

  • Give the baby expressed breastmilk or formula, whatever you have available.
  • Use a slow flow bottle nipple.
  • Hold the baby fairly upright and the bottle fairly horizontal so the flow of the bottle will not be too easy for the baby.
  • If the baby is comforted , continue to offer 1 to 2 ounces of expressed milk or formula at every feed until you are able to see the pediatrician.
To increase / preserve your milk production see the article Low Production: First Weeks.

If you find that the baby is gaining weight at an acceptable rate, he/she may be uncomfortable for another reason. See Fussy Baby article.

Question: My breasts feel full, is it still possible that the baby is not getting enough milk from me and is still hungry?

It is possible that you have enough milk but and baby cannot remove it. This may happen in cases when the baby is not feeding effectively; the baby may be overly sleepy on the breast or may have restricted tongue movement causing the baby to tire easily (tongue tie). In this case, you need to pump after every feed in order to preserve your milk production while you get the baby evaluated.

Rarely, women can have a problem with milk release. The breasts will be engorged but milk is not easily removed by any method, including nursing, pumping or hand expression. In other cases, even though the breasts feel full, they may not have begun to produce enough milk to satisfy the baby’s hunger.