Is my baby still hungry or full? Responsive Feeding for Starting Solids

Even if they can’t talk yet, babies have all kinds of ways to tell us when they’re hungry & when they’ve had enough! 

These signals can be observed through their body language & as the adults, it is our responsibility to be RESPONSIVE to the signals our child is giving us.

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This is called Responsive Feeding & is an excellent way to set the foundation of feeding & trusting your child to listen to their body. 

Babies are born naturally intuitive eaters. As much as we might think we “know what is best”, the truth is that no one can FEEL another human’s hunger level. 

Oftentimes when adults attempt to make a baby eat “more”, they interfere with a child’s natural ability to self-regulate & start a habit of “eating past fullness” (ignoring internal cues) and establishes a habit of “eating for external approval” which can often lead to overeating.

These “Hunger Cues” & “Fullness Cues” are a great starting place if you are wondering if your baby is still hungry or not!

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Reaching for food, opening mouth, & looking around for more food? Keep on eating -baby is hungry!

Closing mouth, pushing food away, & throwing food off the tray? Time to end the meal- baby is full!

From 6-11 months old, breastmilk/formula will be a baby’s MAIN source of nutrition with solids being supplementary. When it comes to meals, don’t focus too much on the “how much”. Aim to keep meals pleasant for your baby by watching for their cues to know if you should continue to offer more/ leave them in their seat or end the meal.

Signs of Hunger

  • Opens mouth
  • Leans towards spoon/food
  • Reaches for spoon/food
  • Becomes excited to see food
  • Puts spoon/food in mouth
  • Continues self feeding
If your baby is showing signs of hunger, allow them to stay in their seat to explore and eat. Continue to offer more food as they eat.
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Signs of Fullness

  • Closes mouth firmly
  • Turns head away from spoon/food
  • Slaps food/spoon away
  • Spits out food, continually
  • Throws food, continually
  • Pushes food away
If your baby is showing signs of fullness, give them another minute or so to explore. If they begin to seem upset or frustrated end the meal. If this happens early into the meal, consider pausing the meal for a few minutes and starting back when your baby’s mood has improved.

Stick to a typical feeding routine, follow your baby’s cues, & remember that intake will fluctuate from day to day – even from meal to meal

Don’t compare today to yesterday or even breakfast to lunch! Each meal will be different but trusting your child to listen to their own body will benefit you both greatly over the years!

Published by snackswithjax

Sarah is the creator and mom behind "Snacks with Jax", a social media community of over 85,000 parents/caregivers, where she shares her son's meals, nutrition information, and evidence-based tips for feeding children. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist with a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition emphasizing in Wellness from Texas Woman's University and years of experience as a culinary instructor working with ages 2+. She has coached hundreds of parents & caregivers through the journey introducing solids to babies and also navigating picky eating with toddlers and older children. Her focus is on establishing a life-long healthy relationship with food for children while also empowering, encouraging, and educating their adult caregivers.

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