Is your baby going through a growth spurt? If he’s eating non-stop, waking up more, displaying signs of fussiness and mastering new skills, then yes – there’s a growth spurt going on! One of your baby’s most important jobs his first year is to grow, and he’ll probably triple his body weight by the time he’s 12 months. Much of that growth happens in short, intense bursts – so it’s not your imagination — your baby really did outgrow his adorable onesie in a day!
According to the Mayo Clinic, the average baby grows one-half inch to one inch every month in the first six months and gains five to seven ounces every week in the first six months. He’ll double his birth weight by the five-month mark and triple in weight by the time his first birthday rolls around. Although growth spurts can happen at any time, it’s common for them to hit at about 10 days, between three and six weeks, and several times afterward. Three month growth spurts, as well as six and nine month growth spurts, are especially common.
These bursts may be over in the blink of an eye (each growth spurt in babies lasts only a few days), but there are a few growth spurt signs you can watch for. Here are the common baby growth spurt signs to watch for:
Your baby wants to eat around-the-clock
Just when you have that feeding schedule down, your baby will suddenly want to eat around-the-clock. In a breastfed infant, this might mean two to four days of marathon nursing (ouch). And a formula-fed baby might be dissatisfied after finishing a bottle.
To address their needs, nurse your breastfed baby whenever they ask for more. You may increase breastfeeding from 8 to 14 times in a day especially to babies who are 1-7 weeks old. This is ok. The more often your baby breastfeeds, the more they stimulate milk production to keep up with their growing appetite.If your baby is formula-fed, add one or two ounces of formula to their usual amount.
Your baby’s sleep pattern changes
During a growth spurt, your baby will sleep more than usual or have a different sleeping pattern (some parents report that their baby is sleeping less). You may find your older baby waking up earlier from his naps, too. Sleep plays a vital role in the production of the primary growth hormone, appropriately named “growth hormone.” Try not to worry about sticking to your baby’s schedule during these challenging periods. The likelihood is that he’ll return to his usual self in a few days.
Your baby is crankier and fussier than usual
During a growth spurt, your baby may be more restless and clingy than usual and you may find that he wants to be held all the time, and cries when you try to put him down. At the breast he’ll be extra fussy, latching and unlatching because he wants more milk right away, and your production might not be quick enough. Plus, let’s face it – all those late nights don’t help his mood (or yours!) either. Besides indicating growth, It is also believed that your baby may see a developmental leap, which means that he may learn a new skill like crawling, rolling over or smiling during this period. Frequent fussing can be normal for a few days during a growth spurt, but it doesn’t last very long, and babies will calm down after their growth spurt.
Tips to deal with infant growth spurts:
- Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Your baby will want to feed very often and stay close to you all the time. At this point, you can consider using a sling to carry your baby around.
- If you’re using formula, increase the amount you’re giving very gradually—there is a danger of overfeeding.
- Recruit help from your partner or a friend to do dishes and other household chores, and settle in for the long haul.
- Rest whenever you can. You’re going to need it!
- If you have concerns about growth spurts or any aspect of child development, discuss them with your pediatrician.
More Newborn Advice:
- The Best Cloth Diapers for Babies That Moms Swear By
- How to Beat Boredom While Your Baby Is Cluster Feeding
- Breastfeeding: The Essential Guide for New Moms