Baby Growth Spurts
During the first year of your baby's life, you will hear the term "Growth Spurt" several times. You will sometimes notice sudden changes in their appetite, sleep patterns, and even their mood. This can indicate a growth spurt.
What are baby growth spurts?
Don't be shocked if you suddenly see your baby's weight shoot up. Baby's growth spurts refer to a period when your baby will experience the most intense growth not just in size and weight but also in terms of other developmental milestones. Your baby will learn new skills and amaze you during these growth spurts.
When do baby growth spurts happen?
Every child is different and thus might experience a growth spurt at different ages. When your baby is born, the paediatrician and hospital will provide you with a chart to keep track of the baby growth stages. This is based on WHO chart that keeps track of babies' height, weight, and head circumference as per their age.
As per the average data, typically, your baby will experience a growth spurt during the following stages during their first year –
- 1 – 3 weeks
- 6 – 8 weeks
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
What are the signs of baby growth spurts?
The signs mentioned here may not necessarily point towards only growth spurt. But most babies going through a growth spurt will experience these.
- Crankiness/Fussiness – Your baby will be hungrier than usual. If it takes time latching and unlatching, they will feel fussy and cranky at the breast. In addition, because of other signs such as disturbed sleep, your baby will be fussier and crankier than usual during the growth spurt.
- Additional feedings – As the name suggests, your baby's body is going through sudden growth and thus needs some extra food and nutrition. Babies also feed to calm themselves when they feel fussy. The combination of these two would mean that your baby might be at your breast as often as every 30 minutes at times.
- Frequent night waking – It maybe due to hunger, or it may be due to body aches some babies experience during the growth spurt. The regular naps and longer night sleep might go for a toss, and your baby will keep waking up for feeding more frequently at night.
What can you do?
No parents like to see their little ones in pain and suffering. The growth spurt period can be a little tough on the babies too. Here are some things you can do to comfort and help them through this phase.
- Help them sleep – Your baby might need some extra snuggles and cuddles to get back to sleep if they are up due to a night of interrupted sleep. However, make sure you do not change the sleep schedule and bedtime routine. It will be easier for kids to stick to it once the growth spurt phase has passed.
- Feed them when hungry – It might be a little irritating to cluster feed your baby again and again for hours, but you need to understand that your baby needs the milk as well as the comfort of your breast to pass this phase. So feed them as frequently as they ask to be fed. If the growth spurt is later in their first year, and they are on solids, you can offer them some snacks in between meals when they are hungry.
- Be patient and loving – It will neither help the baby nor you if you get agitated at the situation. So instead, be patient and offer some extra comfort to your baby in the form of cuddles, longer baths, skin-to-skin contact, walking them outside, singing and talking to them, anything that your baby enjoys and helps you both bond.
- Take care of your baby's overall health – Do not overlook any signs or symptoms indicating a doctor's visit, assuming that it might be due to a growth spurt. Also, keep an eye on the diaper – the frequency, colour, and constancy of the poop, frequency of pee, etc.
How long do growth spurts last?
The days your baby experiences all the signs mentioned above of growth spurt might seem never-ending, but hang in there. Growth spurt hardly lasts for a few days at a time. But, once it passes, life will be back to normal again!
Before you know, your little newborn will be a toddler running all around, making you chase them. So enjoy this newborn phase, and comfort and help them through any painful growth spurt days with a little extra dose of love and care.