Growth spurts in babies refer to your newborn’s sudden growth – there is nothing to worry about as this is a very normal process that every baby goes through. This blogpost will help you understand what a growth spurt is, the signs of a baby growth spurt, and how to manage it.
What Is a Growth Spurt?
A growth spurt refers to short intense bursts of growth that a baby goes through in their first 12 months. This results in the baby doubling and tripling their weight and growing 10 inches taller.
During this period, your newborn will feed more, be fussier, and may have a change in sleeping routine. They are a baby’s way of increasing your milk supply to fulfil their evolving needs. When you recognise a growth spurt, let your baby feed as often as they want. By giving unrestricted access, you may find baby’s demand increases your milk supply and settles back to their normal feeding patterns.
When Do Babies Have Growth Spurts?
Baby growth spurts can happen anytime during their first year. The typical growth spurt ages however are:
- 2 – 3 week growth spurt
- 6 – 8 week growth spurt
- 3 month growth spurt
- 6 month growth spurt
- 9 month growth spurt
Your baby’s growth spurt may happen slightly earlier or later depending on when they were born (premature, on time, or later than the due date).
Growth Spurt Symptoms
Change in Feeding Routine
As your baby goes through a growth spurt, their feeding pattern will tend to be disturbed as they’ll need to be nursed more frequently. Mothers can sometimes refer to it as a ‘feeding frenzy as babies tend to feed continually for almost 24-48 hours.
As each baby is different, some may feed for longer and/or more often – also known as cluster feeding. This is because they are changing the constitution of your breastmilk to meet their future needs and your body will adjust to this new demand in feeding by producing more milk, so your baby won’t be getting less milk than they need.
You will however need to make sure you are taking in enough calories and drinking plenty of fluids. Think about keeping some snacking foods handy and a bottle of water close to you while feeding. If you can’t constantly breastfeed your baby, we recommend expressing and storing your breastmilk for when needed.
Change in Sleeping Routine
Your baby’s sleeping pattern may change. They may sleep more or considerably less, or it may feel that way if your baby has had a calm, settled period just before starting a growth spurt. Sleep regression in babies during a growth spurt can therefore be expected.
Fussiness and Clinginess
At the start when your milk production is getting up to speed, your baby will throw some tantrums when latching or unlatching as they’ll want more milk. A disturbed sleeping pattern will also affect your baby’s mood resulting in them requiring extra cuddles and attention.
Excessive weight gain overnight is also another obvious sign of your newborn’s growth spurt. Some mothers may get worried when they see such a sudden gain, but it’s nothing to worry about as it’s just part of their growth spurt.
How Long Do Growth Spurts Last?
Typically, growth spurts last a few days. However, every baby is different, and therefore some babies may experience a growth spurt that is a little longer or shorter than the usual length. However, if you think it’s lasting longer or shorter than you expected – please visit your doctor.
How to Manage Growth Spurts
A growth spurt and the feeding frenzy that goes with it is without a doubt very exhausting for mum, but it is worth considering just throwing yourself into it and letting the baby feed totally unrestricted. This does not mean that there is anything wrong with your milk or your supply, rather it is the way baby communicates with your body to increase the amount they need in this growth phase. So, a few simple things you can do to help them through their spurt are:
- Feed them when they’re hungry – if their normal feeding pattern is after three hours but that has not changed into a shorter period, go ahead and feed their them for as long as they want.
- While their sleeping routine changes, they may not get enough sleep – so try to keep sleeping routinesas similar as possible, give them a massage or a warm bath.
- Take extra care of yourself – you’ll only be able to take care and feed your baby if you are healthy. So, keep hydrated and have a healthy balanced diet so your baby gets all the nutrition they need.
Get Help From Friends and Family
Getting help from friends and family at this time so you can concentrate on feeding your baby and resting, having a wash maybe even having time to get dressed but asking for help with meals, other children, and housework will take some pressure off you.
Find Comfortable Breastfeeding Positions
Think about using lying-down positions when feeding – putting in place all the safety factors for you and your baby. If you are happy with someone coming into your bedroom and putting baby into their Moses basket/cot after you have finished feeding, then you can continue to relax and have a nap as well.
Extra feeding will of course take its toll on your body too so make sure you’re eating healthily as well as soothing sore nipples with our HPA Lanolin Nipple Cream.
Growth Spurt Benefits
Growth spurts also help your baby to learn new things. If not already doing so you may find your baby is able to roll over. Try and encourage them to roll both ways. You can do this by holding their favourite toy just out of reach, so they have to roll toward you.
Some babies – and don’t we all wish we had this baby – sail through growth spurts and the only way you know it has happened is as they weigh more, or clothes are suddenly very snug fitting.
Growth spurts are a reality and a big factor in your baby growing and thriving despite the demands that go with them. Take care, know this will pass, and don’t hesitate to get some help from family and friends to make this time easier for you and to take some of the pressure off you.We hope our blog has helped you understand baby growth spurts. Shop our breast pumps and storage products for an easier feeding experience and don’t forget to check out our blog for information related to pregnancy and breastfeeding.