Infant-led cue-based feeding

  • Infant or baby-led cue-based suck feeding describes feeding that is guided by your baby's cues (signals).

    It happens when caregivers change their own behaviour during feeding based on the infant’s cues. This helps babies to establish feeding at their own pace and level of ability.    

    When using this approach to feeding, the caregiver tunes into the baby’s 'stop' and 'go' signals:

    Stop & Go Feeding Cues

    You may see Disengagement (stop) Cues if your baby needs a break or wants to stop feeding. If you see these, pause the feed for as long as it takes for your baby to show signs of readiness to feed again. They may need a change of position or to be “burped” or settled before they are ready to continue. If they do not show any “Go” signs again, they may be telling you they do not want to suck any more of that feed or they are full (see below).

    If your baby is full and has had enough milk they may show “Fullness or Satiation Cues”, which include:

    • Their suck becomes very slow
    • They may hold the teat or nipple in their mouth but stop sucking
    • Closing their mouth
    • Turning their head away from the breast, bottle or carer
    • Putting a hand up
    • Gagging
    • Pushing the nipple or teat out of their mouth with their tongue
    • A rapid transition to sleep

    If you see these cues, you should stop the feed and settle your baby if needed.

    This may be a good time to play for a while (10–15 minutes) or change their nappy before swaddling them and getting them ready for a sleep. 

    If you are not sure what cues they are showing you or what to do about them, please ask the bedside staff for help.