The secret cue to tell if baby’s getting enough milk

Have you ever worried that baby fell asleep at the breast or bottle still hungry? Have you ever been concerned that bub might not be getting enough milk if you’re breastfeeding?

These are common concerns. Fortunately, there is a simple way to tell if baby is still hungry before you finish feeding. And it lies in their fists.

Is baby getting enough milk?

You’ll notice that newborns tend to clench those tiny fists into little balls when hungry or tired. This is known as the grasping reflex and is one of the many reflexes your baby is born with.

Those itty bitty baby fists hold the secret to determining if your little one has had enough milk. As explained on La Leche League’s Facebook page, “When a baby is hungry, they tend to clench their fists tightly and bring them towards the face.

baby fists open and closed

“If he falls asleep hungry, his fists usually stay clenched. But when he gets milk, he relaxes, starting with his face. Then his shoulders relax, and finally, those fists unclench. Eventually, they’re as limp as the rest of him.”

Think of those hands as a built-in fuel gauge – a clenched fist suggests the tank is empty. As the tank fills up, the fist relaxes.

newborn fist in mother's hand

So, the next time bub falls asleep on the breast, save yourself the stress of wondering if they’ve guzzled enough milk and check those hands before putting baby down.

While we’re on the topic of feeding, you might like to read our other article full of helpful tips about breastfeeding.

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