Babies grow rapidly in the first twelve months of their life. But during this period, there are times when their growth is exceptionally fast, and in the baby world, these times are called growth spurts. Your little one will put on weight, add some inches to his length, and increase his head circumference, sometimes literally overnight.
In this post, we tell you exactly what to expect during baby growth spurts and when to expect them so you are not caught off guard. Let’s get started!
What Is A Growth Spurt?
A growth spurt is simply a period, during your baby’s development when he experiences more intense growth. During this period, your infant may change his sleeping routine, want to breastfeed more frequently, or generally get fussier.
An infant growth spurt lasts anywhere between two to three days, while some can go up to a week. While this can seem like forever for most first-time parents, it is important to comfort your baby at this time to help him go through this challenging period easily.
“When do growth spurts occur,” you may ask?
Growth spurts can happen at any time during the first twelve months of your baby’s life. They are more common in the 2nd to 3rd week, 4th to 6th week, as well as in the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 9th months.
Signs of Baby Growth Spurts
If you are like most first-time parents, you may want to know, “How do you know when your baby is going through a growth spurt?”
To know when your baby is going through a growth spurt, look for the following signs.
Baby is suddenly insatiable. He can feed a full bottle of baby formula and still seem dissatisfied. It is normal for your little munchkin to want to feed more during this time because most of the nutrients he takes in are being used up to grow his vital organs and maintain essential body functions.
Change In Sleep Patterns
Even if the baby was sleeping through the night, he is now waking after every few hours, all fussy and demanding to feed. He is probably also waking early from daytime naps.
On the other hand, baby growth spurts may cause your little one to sleep than usual. That means longer stretches at night and more frequent naps during the day.
So if you were wondering, “Do babies sleep a lot during growth spurts?”
Yes, some babies can have long stretches of sleep during growth spurts while others can have shorter. Studies have shown that some babies can sleep up to three or four hours more during this period while others will sleep way less than their regular stretches.
You may be asking yourself, “Are babies fussy during growth spurts?”
Yes, babies can get a little fussy during growth spurts. Though the cause of crankiness and fussiness is currently not known, some experts have linked it to sleep interruptions, increased hunger, and growing pains.
Tips For Dealing With Infant Growth Spurts
Parents with infants may want to find out, “How can I help my baby through a growth spurt?” We have some ideas:
Feed Him On Demand
If your little one can’t seem to go for two hours or less without breastfeeding, go ahead and nurse him. A growth spurt will only last a couple of days, so your supplies should easily be able to meet the demand.
If you have already introduced solid baby food, make sure the baby is having at least three meals a day and offer an extra ounce of breast milk or formula between meals. Know how to tell when the baby is hungry so you can feed him accordingly.
Help Baby Sleep
As mentioned earlier, an infant growth spurt can cause your little one to sleep less or longer. Follow your baby’s lead. If he wants to rest a little more, let him be. If he is constantly waking to feed, nurse him, and soothe him back to sleep.
Make sure you are maintaining your regular bedtime routine during these brief sleep disruptions. It will help your baby get back on track quickly once the growth spurt is over. Here are more tips on how you can help your baby sleep through the night.
Show Some Love
When the baby gets fussy, offer extra cuddles and soothing. Try massaging, skin to skin, rocking, singing, reading, walking outside, bathing, shaking a rattle, or anything else your little one enjoys.
Get Some Rest
Your baby’s life is your life too, so he is not the only one who is going through these changes; a growth spurt can take a toll on you too. Take care of yourself by getting rest and nourishment whenever you need it. Let other family members help with baby care so you can give your body the break it deserves.
Also, don’t let this moment affect your confidence as a parent. Every baby experiences a growth spurt, so it has nothing to do with you or your abilities to raise your child. The only thing you can do now is support and comfort your little one and make sure you are getting some rest whenever you can.
Use A Baby Monitor
If your little one has his bedroom, get a baby monitor. An audio-visual one, in particular, will allow you to observe what is going on with your little person and know if he needs you. It will let you get the rest you deserve and still stay alert.
When To Be Concerned
Unfortunately, parents can’t speak ‘baby’ and therefore the first year can be difficult to tell whether what your child is going through is a growth spurt. Moreover, babies grow differently, which can make it even harder to know for sure when everything is okay.
If your little one is displaying other symptoms apart from what we have discussed above, you may want to discuss it with your pediatrician. Signs of illness like dehydration, fever, rash, or other issues will be better solved by a doctor.
How Do You Know Your Baby Is Growing Right?
The most effective way of keeping track of your child’s growth is to ensure that he is not missing his checkups. Your pediatrician will check the baby’s weight and length and look for trends and patterns. If your little one’s growth seems to veer significantly from his normal curve, that could be a sign of an underlying condition.
However, you do not have to wait until the next checkup to inform your pediatrician about your child’s growth. If you are concerned about growth spurts or other aspects of your little one’s development, talk to your doctor right away.
My Babies Planet Overview
Babies grow extremely fast during the first year of their life. Before you know it, that fully dependent newborn will transform into a completely independent toddler. But he has to go through a lot of growth ad development to get there, and sometimes it will not be easy. Luckily, your baby has you by his side to keep him fed and provide the love and comfort he needs during the challenging times of his growth.