Has it ever seemed like your little one grew overnight? That may be because they actually did! Babies experience short periods of growth spurts in which they measurably gain weight and length in just 24 hours! Whether you are a first time Mama or have a new little one to love on, here is everything you need to know about baby growth spurts.
What is a Baby Growth Spurt?
First, what is a growth spurt? A baby growth spurt is a sudden burst in your infant’s growth (can be physical or developmental growth) that is accompanied by a brief period of increased feeding. You finally feel like you have figured out your newborn and being a Mama and then your baby changes their sleeping pattern, is fussier than they have ever been, and wants to eat or nurse constantly! According to a study, periodic growth spurts are perfectly normal for babies, and that is the most likely explanation for the changes that you are noticing with your little one.
When Do Baby Growth Spurts Usually Happen?
Babies are most likely going through a growth spurt when they are hitting developmental milestones such as rolling over, crawling, walking, or even talking. Most growth spurts happen during the times listed below but it is important to keep in mind that every baby is different and they all develop on their own schedules.
The General Growth Spurt Schedule:
- 2-3 weeks
- 4-6 weeks
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 12 months
Growth spurts don’t just stop after the first year, however. Most moms notice growth spurts every few months during the toddler years and periodically through the teenage years as well.
What To Do
If you are breastfeeding:
During this time it is best to follow your baby’s lead and not worry too much about sticking to a feeding schedule. Instead, feed on demand and nurse as often as your baby wants to. You may hear comments that your baby is just using you as a pacifier, but that is okay! Letting your baby take the lead and nurse as needed will automatically help you produce more milk by nursing more frequently, and your milk supply will increase due to the increased nursing.
It is also common to worry that baby is not getting enough milk during this time, but it is important to trust your body and know that the increase in nursing sessions will also increase your supply. As long as your baby is having enough wet diapers and gaining weight then you are producing enough.
In the early days, your baby will typically have one wet diaper for each day of life (1 on day one, 2 on day two). Once your milk has come in, expect 5-6+ wet diapers every 24 hours. It is advised against supplementing during baby growth spurts however. Studies show that “Supplementing interferes with the natural supply and demand of milk production and will prevent your body from getting the message to make more milk during the growth spurt.”
If you are formula feeding:
If you formula-feed your little one you shouldn’t need to make any big changes to your baby’s feeding routine. You will still make sure you’re using the right daily amount for your baby’s weight, but trust yourself to respond to your baby’s needs.
During growth spurts and times whenever your baby seems especially hungry, follow his or her hunger cues and feed on demand. You can increase the amount of formula you give as needed for a couple of days or as your child’s pediatrician advises. Giving him extra milk for a day or two is okay, but be careful not to overfeed which could cause spit ups.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Mama Too
During this time, it is important to stay hydrated and consume healthy foods so that you can produce healthy milk for your little one and keep yourself going strong too. Remember that all babies grow at their own rate and speed and you can talk to your child’s pediatrician if you are concerned about the changes you are noticing and if they could be something more.
Remind yourself that this is temporary! Most baby growth spurts only last a couple of days. Your baby will sleep again and you will as well. Hang in there Mama and enjoy those extra cuddles with your little one.
WANT TO READ MORE?
If you are breastfeeding, it is important to make sure you are consuming healthy, nutrient rich foods for both you and your little one. Here are some tips and meal ideas for Eating Healthy While Breastfeeding.
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Sources: Growth Spurts, Baby Growth: Baby Growth Spurts, Baby Growth Spurts: Timeline, Signs, and How to Cope
Photo Credit: Unsplash,Tiffany Cox Photography