Everything You Need to Know About Growth Spurts

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Are you seeing a lot of new changes in your baby’s behavior? Do they seem super hungry and ravenous? You finally got the feeding schedule down and all of a sudden your baby wants to eat all the time. These are signs of a growth spurt.

I’ve been there and know how scary it can be. Growth spurts are entirely normal. Understanding why growth spurts happen and what to expect is key to getting through this period. Here’s everything you need to know about growth spurts.

What’s A Growth Spurt?

This is a period where your baby increases dramatically in weight and height. This happens the most during their first year of life, and you’ll notice that this process is quick and dramatic. You may even see differences over a week or two.

You may notice an increase in the amount of sleep they get each night. Sleep is essential to healthy growth and development. A baby’s growth spurts are dependent on an increase in the total hours of sleep.

The best way to tell if your baby is experiencing a growth spurt is by observing their appetite. If there’s a sudden increase in feeding, your baby is undergoing a growth spurt, and you need to make sure you feed more consistently and frequently during this critical time.

Also, you will notice that your baby will be fussier during this time period and will wake up hungry and wanting to eat. Don’t be scared by this. Just adjust to the new feeding schedule. It’s not going to last that long.

When Do Growth Spurts Happen?

Well, growth spurts can happen at any time. There is an average timeline to follow that may give you some guidance as to when to expect it. 

Keep in mind that it will occur several times. Usually, you can expect the first one at two weeks old, then again at four weeks, six weeks, and then in three-month intervals until nine months.

However, not all babies follow these growth patterns, and the timing is different for each one. For example, my youngest son experienced his first growth spurt at around 10 days. While my daughter didn’t have a growth spurt until two and a half weeks old.

Don’t stress yourself too much about the timing. When it happens, you will know. The most important thing is to feed more frequently and understand your child’s needs during this time period.

How Do I Get Through It?

It’s really simple. First, take a deep breath and realize that this is a stressful period for all mothers—especially first-time ones! The most essential thing is to listen to your baby and pay close attention to their changed nursing habits. Forget about your old feeding schedule for now.

Growth spurts don’t last more than three days to a week. Make sure you feed your baby frequently. And I mean, frequently. Don’t underestimate how much your baby needs during this time period.

If you breastfeed, offer it on demand. Work to meet your baby’s growing needs. It might be physically draining for you because of the high demand of your milk supply, so make sure you’re eating well and drinking a lot of water. Breastfeeding can be taxing and the seemingly non-stop feeding that’ll happen during this period can be a little tough.

If you’re bottle-feeding as well as breastfeeding, you can also just up the amount of formula your baby is drinking per day. Also, if you don’t normally bottle feed, you could consider it in this case as a method of relieving you from the frequent feeding. It does take a toll on your body, so by all means do also bottle-feed.

Don’t Stress Out!

Don’t worry about underfeeding or if your breast milk supply is sufficient. As long as your baby appears to be growing appropriately for their age and gaining weight properly, you’re doing perfectly fine.

Lots of mommies get worried that their milk production isn’t enough because they’re not satiating their baby’s appetite. It’s natural for your baby to be hungry all the time. It’s also natural for him or her to tug and pull aggressively at your nipple. They’re just trying to get the most milk possible out of one feed.

As long as you keep breastfeeding, you will keep producing enough milk to satisfy your baby’s appetite. The more you feed, the more you’ll produce. Feed on demand and you’ll be fine. 

Just remember to eat nutritious and nourishing food and stay hydrated. The spurt will be over soon, and you’ll be back to your normal feeding schedule in no-time. It takes about a day or so to readjust. You’ll know the growth spurt is over when your baby is less fussy and less hungry.

What Is Cluster Feeding Exactly?

You might be wondering, just how frequently am I going to have to feed? Is there a standard amount? You might have heard about cluster feeding. Since your baby’s appetite has increased so dramatically, you might find that the feedings are bunched together and occur more frequently in a short span of time.

This is called cluster feeding, and you’ll find that it usually happens during the evening. Your baby might sometimes be more cranky or fussy in the evening time. 

Newborns need to be fed about eight to 12 times every day. It might seem like a lot, but it’s completely normal. Your baby needs as much nutrition as possible in the early stages of his or her life. Their main job is to grow!

Your growing little one might need to be fed almost every 30 minutes or so during the evening. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t being fed enough. It just means that your baby wants to be fed as much as possible before a long night of rest.

Growing In Leaps And Bounds

Growth spurts are critical periods for growth in a baby’s early life. This is where they grow the most in their life. It can be stressful and grueling on your body. 

Make sure to listen to your baby and understand their demands. Try to adjust to the more frequent feeding times. Most importantly, make sure to eat healthily and stay hydrated! This is essential for you and your baby’s health.

Cristin is a co-founder of Smart Parent Advice, and the loving mother of two wonderful children. In her free time, she can often be found in a yoga studio or catching up on her favorite shows.