Baby Growth Spurts: Expectations in the First Year

Breastfeeding Your Baby During a Growth Spurt

Baby Growth Spurts cause serious concerns for parents & nursing mothers to wonder if it will ever end. Read all about it in this informative guide.

Baby Growth Spurts

When some people hear baby growth spurts, especially new parents, they tend to dismiss it as just someone’s imagination. Some others believe that it is a way that some parents try to explain away a baby’s fussiness, but the truth is that growth spurts are real and can be spontaneous. 

Many first-time parents find it challenging to settle into parenthood because they quickly discover that it may not be easy to understand babies after their baby’s arrival. A baby can act in many ways that a mum may not know how to help him; an instance is when they cry for long hours and refuse everything you do to soothe them. Growth spurts can be a reason why your child could act in such a manner.

Growth Spurts Definition

Simply put, a growth spurt is a period of fast growth for babies and these periods come a lot during a baby’s first year. Although growth spurs are not just for babies, it occurs at different times as a child grows.

For instance, teenage boys experience growth spurts when they get to the age of 14/15 years, and the experience takes some time to complete.

Growth spurts for both babies and growing children such as teenagers are very natural, and it does not just happen to a set of people; instead, everybody experiences it and acts the same way when they get to a growth spurt.

When Do Growth Spurts Happen in Infants?

For newborns, growth spurts happen at different times during their first year. It could begin around their second week and proceed to their third week, then again in their sixth and ninth weeks. After the ninth week, it also happens in their third, sixth, and then a ninth month. However, all babies may not take this pattern as different babies develop in different ways and practices. 

What is the Duration of Growth Spurts?

Most times, growth spurts in babies last for just a few days each time they occur. It can stay only a day in their first few months but may last up to several more days or even a whole week by the time they grow older.

Signs of Baby Growth Spurts

Increased Food Intake

One of the most visible signs of growth spurts is an increased intake of food. You will notice that babies require more breast milk than usual during a growth spurt, and a formula-fed baby may not be satisfied after finishing their standard bottle quantity.

They may want to drink as often as every one hour, and with that, some new mums begin to feel that the reason for such frequent milk demand from their baby is because they are not bringing out enough milk for their babies. 

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They are often producing enough milk, but the baby’s body makes use of the milk they take in faster this time than other times. 

Fussiness

Babies also become much fussier during a growth spurt, usually because they feel uncomfortable and cannot understand the things that are going on in their bodies. The reason for being fussy could be the additional need for food or the tiredness that comes with the frequent use of energy.

Also, some pain levels can accompany fast growth, and babies do not have other ways to express the pain except by fussing and crying. Even teenage boys experience much pain when their feet start to grow to the extent that walking might become difficult.

Excess Sleep

Excessive sleep is another sign of a growth spurt that some parents may not take seriously. Such rest usually happens a day or two days prior to the growth spurt, where the baby sleeps much more than they usually do.

Well, there is no need to panic if you notice this. Just know that your baby’s body is preparing to handle the changes that are about to happen because while sleeping, the pituitary gland receives signals from the brain for the production of the Human Growth Hormone that brings about growth in children.

Noticeable Increase

You may also notice that your baby’s head will increase in circumference. The baby also gains more weight and increases in height. 

New Tricks

A baby may be able to learn a new trick like clapping or grasping a toy during growth spurts. The process involves the physical enlargement of a baby’s brain alongside the other parts of the body. The child begins to know how to leave through her world, which causes the skull’s growth. This is what makes a baby’s soft spot close by the time they are one year old. 

What to Do During Growth Spurts?

It can be draining to cope with a baby going through growth spurts as the baby can be both demanding and moody. But, a parent can always do something to reduce the stress that comes with growth spurts. One of such things is to watch out for what the baby may want at any time. 

Be Available to Feed Them

As a mum, always be readily available to feed your baby when they require constant feeding because if they don’t get as much food as desired at that period, they may become fussier. It is also essential to let your baby be the one to decide to stop feeding instead of stopping them by yourself. If you are formula-feeding, try to increase the quantity but gradually. You can work on your feeding schedule to fit this season for your baby’s good. 

Feed Them Regularly

Another thing to note about feeding your baby during growth spurts is that you need to feed him regularly as it will help you produce more breast milk to meet your baby’s demand. Your baby might begin to cry after just about half an hour of feeding him; still, feed them again as that might be how much food their body requires at that time. Still, if your baby begins to spit out the feed more than they usually do, then you may stop giving them for that moment to avoid overfeeding.

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Some mothers also think that a baby’s cry and fussiness half an hour after feeding may not be food-related, but, surprisingly, it may be that the baby needs to be fed again. You can feed the baby even if you are not sure what the fussiness is about, and if the baby declines, then you’ll know that there is another reason.

Take in More Fluids

You should also try to drink lots of water during your baby’s growth spurts as your baby’s need for breast milk might drain your body fluids, and your body needs to stay hydrated so that you can feed your baby well.

Be Patient and Give Them More Love

Your baby needs all the love and patience that they can get during growth spurts. You could try to soothe him by more cuddling and being closer. To help calm them, you could try bathing, rocking, singing, reading, taking a walk outside, skin-to-skin, or other things that your baby likes.

Help your Baby to Sleep

This period can make your baby fussy, and helping them sleep and get more rest is one way you can help. You may need a lot of patience to achieve this because it will not be easy to make them sleep at night but try to maintain your baby’s sleep routine at night even during the growth spurt to be easier to adjust when the growth spurt is over. 

Care for Yourself Too

Your baby might be the one going through growth spurts and the changes it brings, but there is no denying the fact that it is a challenging time for you too. Therefore, you must try to attend to your nourishment. You should feed well and find time to rest. This is where dads and other people around you can come in to help take care of your baby. It would help if you also delegated duties like household chores and running of errands to other people around you so that you can rest.

Visit Your Pediatrician

We all know that it is not easy to understand what is wrong with a baby when they cry so much because they cannot say what is happening to them or how they feel. But if your baby shows other symptoms aside from the ones mentioned, then the baby may be experiencing something else that is not growth spurts. So, if the baby is dehydrated, which you can notice through dry diapers, has rashes and fever, or other signs that bother you, schedule a chat with your pediatrician to check your baby’s overall health.

Growth Spurts and Feeding Spurts

Both growth spurts and feeding spurts have babies showing the same sign of frequently demanding more food, but they are not the same. Growth spurts lead to rapid growth, but feeding spurts only makes your baby require food more than usual, but it does not make the baby grow rapidly within a few days.

Baby Growth Spurts may come with lots of concerns that stress both mother and child. Some mums worry and wonder if this phase ever passes; it sure will because it lasts for just a few days. All the baby needs is your patience, extra care, and love. It will be over before you know it, and you can go back to your usual routine.

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