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When to Feed Your Infant/Child

New parents need plenty of time to get to know their child.  This includes:

  • Learning about your child’s personality, likes, and dislikes
  • Learning to interpret your child’s signals, cues, and communication
  • Learning to anticipate and respond to your child’s many needs 


To help you recognize when it is getting close to feeding time for your child, you can watch for feeding cues, or signs of hunger.  Your child may:

  • Show rapid eye movements under his eyelids when he is sleeping
  • Begin to wake up from sleeping, stretching and moving his arms and legs
  • Open and close his mouth, lick his lips, stick out his tongue, make sucking or smacking noises
  • Bring his hands to his mouth, suck on his hands or fingers 
  • Move from a quietly alert state to a more actively alert state 
  • Try to suck on your cheek, shoulder or breast when held or cuddled
  • Move his head and open his mouth as if searching for something to eat
  • Make small sounds or noises

Crying is a late sign of your child’s hunger and you may find that your child is more difficult to latch onto the breast when they are crying.  If this happens, cuddle and soothe your child skin-to-skin and then bring him to your breast.  Try calming your child by allowing him to suck on your clean finger before trying to get him to latch. Even though using a soother may seem like a good idea, soothers or pacifiers can hide a child’s early signs of hunger.

For more information about feeding your child, call 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 and speak with a public health professional Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or email Health Connection.   


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If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

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