New parents tend to worry about their baby going hungry and may get formula milk ready just in case the mother’s breast milk would not flow.
However, most newborns are generally sleepy in the first 24 hours. They may wake up a few times to nurse but they are usually not very hungry, said Dr Christelle Tan, a specialist in paediatric medicine and consultant at Raffles Specialists’ Holland Village centre.
Recognising a baby’s hunger cues can also help parents ensure they do not overfeed their child. Studies have found that infants who gained weight rapidly are more likely to be obese during their childhood and beyond.
This is commonly followed by fidgeting, restlessness and being fussy, said Dr Tan.
Parents should start feeding the baby once they identify early hunger cues. There is no need to wait till the baby starts to cry.
Crying, which is a late hunger cue, can make the feeding process – of either breast or formula milk – more difficult and stressful, said Dr Tan.
A version of this article appeared in The Straits Times.