Baby behaviour

How does a well-fed baby act?

A well-fed baby does not show signs of hunger after feeding, is happy and calm when fed and held, and accepts being put down for a few minutes. The baby will generally be relaxed without being too sleepy and will be interested in their surroundings. Well-fed babies smile or laugh easily, scowl infrequently, and don’t need pacifiers, depending on their age. Their muscles, language, social skills, and thinking ability should develop at the same rate as those of other babies of similar age.

A) Behavior of well-fed babies

A well-fed baby stretching.

Well-fed babies:

  • Do not show any hunger signs after feeds.
  • Will happily suck their hands after feeds.
  • Are happy when fed and held.
  • Accept being put down for a few minutes without screaming right away.
  • Often stretch.
  • Are generally relaxed.
  • Are not inactive or too sleepy.
  • Are interested in what is happening around them.
  • Smile or laugh easily, depending on age.
  • Scowl only occasionally.
  • Do not need a pacifier.

Normal babies will often fall asleep after breastfeeding but wake upon being placed down. We call this the down-up sleep cycle. It is normal but mothers may mistake it for signs that the baby is not taking in enough milk.

B) Other signs of normal development

Babies should develop at the same rate as other babies of a similar age. This includes development of their:

  • Muscle use (gross motor skills).
  • Hand and arm skills (fine motor skills).
  • Speaking and social development.
  • Thinking abilities (cognitive skills).