Babies are such a joy - we want them to stay little forever, yet we just can’t wait to witness each milestone. As your baby grows, you will watch him or her go through many growth spurts. Knowing what’s to come can be exciting. Not to mention, knowing ahead of time can prepare you for a potentially extra-fussy baby, so let’s dive in.
First, What Exactly is a Growth Spurt?
A baby growth spurt is a sudden burst in the growth of your baby for a brief period, which typically results in increased feedings. Have you ever thought to yourself, “Wow, she just fit into this onesie three days ago?” It’s because she most likely had a growth spurt, and yes it can really happen that rapidly.
Aside from eating more, your baby may seem more fussy than normal and might even be waking up more than usual. Thankfully, growth spurts don’t last long, so hang in there.
When to Expect Growth Spurts
It’s important to keep in mind that growth spurts can happen at various times for different babies. However, a general guideline for growth spurts is around 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months. Growth spurts typically last around 2-3 days; however, some can last up to one week.
Signs of a Growth Spurt
Constantly Dreaming Away
Around a day or so before your baby goes through a growth spurt, she may sleep more. Sleep is important because there are critical physiological changes that happen while your little one is asleep, which is vital for growth. Unless your baby is a newborn, you shouldn’t wake her for feedings because she needs all the rest she can get, unless your pediatrician says otherwise. Don’t worry, she will let you know when she is hungry.
Forget Snoozing, She May Want to Eat
Some babies would rather eat than snooze away during a growth spurt. Even if you just got into a routine where your baby would sleep most of the night or all night, she may suddenly want to eat at specific times around the clock again. If you use formula, try to only gradually increase the amount because it’s very possible to overfeed.
Babies are usually quite fussy during a growth spurt. This is usually due to her lack of sleep, so try and be patient (imagine going a few days without your regular sleep). It’s not all about lack of sleep, though - when your little one starts teething you will notice more fussiness.
Baby Just Wants to Snuggle
You may not mind this one so much, unless you have a pile of dishes or laundry to fold. Some babies tend to be more clingy when they are going through a growth spurt. When you try to put him or her down, you won’t hear the end of it - she will likely cry every. Single. Time. You may have to invest in a baby carrier during this time so you can get stuff done.
How to Handle All of This
Now that you know the signs and can be prepared, it’s important to know how to handle the growth spurts. First, try not to feed your baby each time she cries, especially during the night. Of course, don’t starve your little one, but it’s important to try and get your baby eating more during the day so she isn’t eating so much at night as they need their rest. Also, if you try soothing her with food, this can lead to overfeeding.
If possible, try to stay home during growth spurts so you can let your baby sleep as much as she wants. It’s important not to mess up naptime routines in general to maintain a consistent schedule.
How to Tell if Your Little One is On Track
During your pediatric appointments, your baby will be measured and the numbers will be entered into a chart for her height and length. The pediatrician will go over the progress with you and you can see how much she is growing. If at any time you have a feeling something is off, you should contact the pediatrician sooner, just in case. Only you know your baby.