A baby growth spurt can take a toll on new parents.
Looking back, it seemed like our baby had rather frequent growth spurts. And it was overwhelming.
I won’t say it’s easy, but it does have an amazing reward:
Your baby’s development!
If you feel like things suddenly changed for the worse, and you just can’t catch a break. Your baby may be going through a growth spurt.
Let’s see what this is all about.
What’s a Baby Growth Spurt, Anyway?
A baby growth spurt is a short period of time in which your baby is increasing his weight, height, head circumference, or reaching a developmental milestone.
During the first year, your baby will have several growth spurts.
And this makes total sense.
In the first year, your baby will grow at the fastest rate ever. Typically, babies have tripled their birth weight by the time they reach their first birthday.
And that’s not all, your baby will likely grow around 10 inches in length!
Think about all the stuff your baby will learn in the first year. She’ll probably crawl, start walking, develop her organs, start growing a whole new set of teeth, and begin eating solids.
Every time your baby gains a new skill she’s been practicing for a while, it’ll look like she mastered it overnight. This rapid gaining of skills are cognitive leaps and they are another form of growth spurts.
That’s a helluva lot for a year!
So, if you think about it, to accomplish all that your baby is going to need frequent, short bursts of growth (either physical or developmental), and these are the baby growth spurts.
When Do Baby Growth Spurts Happen?
Well, each baby will have their own rhythm. So it’s a bit counterproductive to try to standardize it.
In fact, if you Google it around, you’ll find lots of contradicting information. So, if your baby is showing signs of a growth spurt outside of these milestones, it probably is a growth spurt.
During the first year, we can typically expect a baby growth spurt:
- 2 weeks
- 4 weeks
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 12 months
Here’s what our growth spurt timing actually looked like:
- 2 weeks
- 3 weeks
- 5 weeks
- 6 weeks
- 2 months
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 7 months
- 9 months
- 12 months
Yes, I kept track.
Growth spurts typically last from a couple of days to a week. So they will be intense but short!
How to Know if Your Baby is Going Through a Baby Growth Spurt?
At this point, you may be wondering. Can’t a baby just be extra hungry?
Yes, and that is called a feeding spurt.
Usually, a baby feeding spurt and a baby growth spurt are confused to be the same thing. But they aren’t necessarily the same.
Your baby can just be extra hungry.
Although eating more will lead to faster-growing, and that’s how babies can turn a feeding spurt into a baby growth spurt.
So, to tell that it’s actually a growth spurt, check out for these signs:
# 1 Your Baby is Super Hungry
The first sign of a baby growth spurt is that suddenly your baby seems to be extra hungry.
If you’re breastfeeding, this means that your baby will want to nurse longer, and more frequent than before.
You may need to breastfeed every 20 minutes is some cases.
If you’re giving a bottle to your baby (either with mom milk or formula), it will seem that he’ll want more after he finishes his bottle. And you may have to give him another one.
If your baby is eating solids, he’ll want more food.
Remember how hungry you were as a teenager with the hormone changes and the growth spurts?
Your baby is now going through a rapidly growing phase, so, like a teenager, he’ll need more calories to accomplish that. And his body will demand those calories through hunger.
This is the most overwhelming symptom of a growth spurt for new moms. You’ll feel like you’re always feeding your baby.
Seriously, Oliver’s growth spurts were quite intense, I felt like I was feeding him most of the day.
I had to stay home and dedicate myself to feed him. Add a little of baby colic to the mix and you’ve got the recipe for an over-exhausted mom.
Just remember that this shall pass, it’s just a phase, and it’ll do lots of good to your little one.
# 2 Your Baby is Fussy and Cranky
Well, who wouldn’t?
Imagine you’re hungry all the time. You wouldn’t be your happy, cheery self, would you?
Your baby will cry more often, and be excessively clingy and moody.
These changes have also been linked to the hormonal changes in the body.
On the plus side, you’ll get extra baby snuggles for a couple of days.
Some times, you’ll see your baby practicing a new skill over and over again, this also can indicate she’s going through a growth spurt, and she may feel frustrated while she learns how to master it.
# 3 Your Baby Has Suddenly Changed Her Sleeping Habits
As it happens with the extra fussiness, the hunger and hormones will change your baby sleeping patterns.
Typically, your baby will sleep more during growth spurts (so you can get that extra time to rest, too).
Since babies mostly grow when they sleep, this makes sense.
However, in some cases, your baby may want to sleep less.
How to Handle a Growth Spurt
Baby colic and baby growth spurt are usually the two greatest challenges of early parenting.
I won’t lie, it’s overwhelming.
But the reward is completely worth it of course!
Here are a few tips on how to handle your baby growth spurt:
#1 If You’re Breastfeeding, Feed Your Baby On Demand
You’ll start believing that your milk is drying.
It’s not, you’re probably producing more milk! And the best way to keep your body producing milk is to give in to your baby’s new crazy schedule.
It’s better to encourage more frequent feeding, than longer feedings, if you can control it.
Your baby’s sucking will signal your body to produce more and more milk, to meet your baby’s growing demands.
So it’s a two-way process, you’ll be producing more milk because your baby will demand more milk.
Feeding your baby on demand might also mean having to clear your schedule for a few days.
#2 Get Your Significant Other On Board
You can lay on your significant other (or a family member) for help, so be sure to explain to them all about growth spurts.
You can get some extra sleep while your partner feeds or soothes the baby.
Asking for help running for errands is also a good idea so that you can dedicate yourself to your baby.
It’s difficult, but you don’t necessarily have to do it alone.
#3 If Your Baby is Under 6 Months Old, Try Skin to Skin Contact
When we were out of the NICU my baby used to need skin to skin 24 7.
Yes, you read that right, we had to wear our baby all the time.
And among the many, many benefits, we found out that whenever he was being cranky or fussy, he was soothed when he got to snuggle with us.
If your baby is a bit older, you can babywear. This will also soothe your baby and will give you a certain degree of freedom.
#4 Enjoy The Moment
I know I say this a lot, but babies grow so fast.
And you’re experiencing precisely this growth.
Get ready for some milestone celebration soon!
Whether it’s an increase of weight or height, or a developmental milestone, in a few days you’ll have your happy baby back.
Looking back, every moment of parenting has a certain degree of magic in it. Yes, some moments are more magic than others, but that doesn’t mean we are going to ignore all the good stuff of a baby growth spurt!
- It’s a healthy process.
- You’ll get to spend more time with your baby.
- If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll produce more milk in a few days.
- Your baby will grow!
That’s a wrap
Overwhelming as it can be, a baby growth spurt is a natural, healthy process that gives your baby all the energies he needs to keep thriving!
And, isn’t that every mom’s dream?
Talking about keeping up with baby milestones, you should totally check out my baby milestone tracker, complete with warning signs and month by month trivia.
Did I say baby milestone tracker? Well, it goes from 0 to 24 months!
Is your baby going through a growth spurt? Let us know all about it in the comments.