Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT??

This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of comfort or for genuine hunger.

As parents, it's only natural to want to meet your baby's needs promptly. However, it can sometimes be difficult to determine if your baby's cries are due to hunger or simply a need for comfort.

Infants have a limited means of communication, and crying is their primary way of letting you know that something's up. So, let's delve into the factors that can help you distinguish between hunger and the need for comfort.

 
The Baby Sleep Magic App will help your baby sleep better within days or your money back, Download today on a 3-day Free Trial


Hunger Cues


1. Timing

One of the key indicators that your baby is waking up due to hunger is the timing of the cries. If your baby's cries occur around feeding times, it's a strong possibility that hunger is the cause.

Newborns typically feed every 3-4 hours overnight, so their cries may align with these intervals.

For babies over 12 weeks of age aim to keep night feeds 4hrs apart, as this can help increase daytime calories along with the interest of milk feeds during the day!

2. Sucking on Fists or Lips

Babies have a natural instinct to suck, and if you notice your baby sucking on their fists, lips, or even your shoulder, it might be a sign of hunger. This behavior is known as the rooting reflex.

3. Restlessness

A hungry baby might be more restless, squirming and moving around in their crib. They might also turn their head from side to side in search of a food source.

4. Intensity

Hunger cries tend to start off relatively mild and gradually escalate in intensity. This progression is a signal that your baby's needs are becoming more urgent.

 
The Baby Sleep Magic App will help your baby sleep better within days or your money back, Download today on a 3-day Free Trial


Comfort Cues


1. Timing and Schedule

If your baby has recently been fed and their cries don't coincide with their usual feeding schedule, they might be seeking comfort rather than sustenance.

If you offer feed each time for comfort it probably doesn’t seem like your child is feeding much overnight as they are only on the breast for a few minutes then boom, they are back to sleep! BUT all those micro sucks = milk and over 8-12 hours all that milk adds up.

If your child does not seem too interested in milk or breakfast when they wake then it’s quite possible its due to consuming too many calories overnight. The good news is everything is fixable!

2. Physical Contact

Babies thrive on touch and closeness. If your baby's cries lessen when you hold, cuddle, or rock them, it's likely that they're seeking comfort and reassurance.

3. Nappy Check

A wet or soiled nappy can cause discomfort for your baby. Before assuming they're hungry, check (and if necessary) change their nappy as that can be the cause of their distress.

4. Soothing Techniques

Comfort-seeking cries are often pacified by gentle rocking, swaying, or using a dummy/comforter. These actions can help your baby feel secure and calm.

Remember that every baby is different, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Sometimes, it might even be a combination of hunger and comfort that's causing the cries. 

Trust your instincts as a parent and remain patient as you navigate these early stages of parenthood.

Observation and Response


Understanding whether your baby is waking up from hunger or seeking comfort can be a challenge, but it's a skill that develops over time.

By paying close attention to timing, cues, and your baby's behavior, you'll gradually become more adept at deciphering their needs. Whether it's a feeding or a cuddle, responding to your baby's cries with love and care is what truly matters in the end.

 

Whether a baby is waking from hunger or comfort, they still deserve a response during the night IF they are signalling one. However it is MUCH easier to settle a full and content child then one that is hungry.

Available in the Nutrition package you will find example meal options relevant for your child's age which may help guide you on the appropriate calories required during the day, to avoid frequent wakings overnight due to hunger.

 

Seeking comfort is still a valid reason to wake at night! How you choose to respond for comfort wakings is totally up to you. Don’t assume that every waking is for hunger, I usually advise parents to stall first… aim for 10 minutes if possible and use your timer. 

As they may surprise you and go back to sleep. If your baby is still upset and you need to intervene, try to offer comfort to encourage them to go back to sleep either some patting, rubbing and shushing, You can then eventually move your patting to onto the mattress and shushing from a distance!

 

The Baby Sleep Magic App will help your baby sleep better within days or your money back, Download today on a 3-day Free Trial

 

Feb 14, 2024

The Complete Guide to Newborn Sleep

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Feb 7, 2024

Winning the Bedtime Battle: A Guide to Managing...

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Jan 31, 2024

Surviving Day Care Naps

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Dec 14, 2023

How To Manage Naps Over The Festive Season

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Dec 1, 2023

Why Your Baby Wakes Soon As You Put Them Down

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Nov 16, 2023

Navigating the Nap Transition: How to Smoothly...

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Nov 9, 2023

What to Do If Your Toddler Refuses to Nap

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Nov 1, 2023

5 Tips For Catnapping

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Oct 18, 2023

Additional Night Feeds: The Connection Between ...

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Oct 11, 2023

What is a wake window & do they really matter?

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Sep 27, 2023

When Will Babies Stop Feeding Throughout the Night

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Sep 20, 2023

How to Survive Traveling with Babies

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Sep 6, 2023

How Teething Affects Baby's Sleep

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Aug 30, 2023

Lengthy Night Wakings

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Aug 23, 2023

The Crucial Link Between a Full Tummy and Sleep

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Aug 16, 2023

How to sleep train your baby without using Cry ...

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Aug 10, 2023

The power of “Active Playtime” and how it effec...

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Jun 30, 2021

Does teething affect sleep?

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Jun 29, 2021

Does my baby need a dark room to sleep?

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Jun 29, 2021

Do I have to do sleep training?

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Jun 29, 2021

How to Manage Reflux and Silent Reflux

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Mar 1, 2021

How to manage the 4 Month Sleep Regression

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Mar 1, 2021

How to eliminate cat napping forever!

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Mar 1, 2021

Transitioning from Two Naps to One

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

Feb 28, 2021

The 12 Month Regression

Is My Baby Waking From HUNGER or COMFORT?? This is something I get asked all the time, so below are some points you can reference to if you are not quite sure if your baby is waking out of co...

FREE
SLEEP
TIPS
1

You have successfully subscribed!