The sure sign of your baby going through a growth spurt is that he suddenly starts eating every hour. He will be crankier and fussier than usual. Though he's done, he would still act like he's ready to have more, making you wonder if he is getting enough milk. But don't worry, he's not starving even though he's acting like it! About five baby growth spurts can happen anytime during the first year, and perhaps, he's just hit his first growth spurt. Here is how to recognize growth spurts in babies.
Signs of Growth Spurts
Doctors say that growth spurts happen soon after the birth, the first one between one and three weeks, and the next one between six and eight weeks. After that, you can expect your baby's growth spurts at three months, six months, and nine months. But a baby may have more growth spurts than that. The time and duration of the growth spurt may vary from baby to baby.
During the first year, the baby grows fast. Your baby might triple his body weight by the time he celebrates his first birthday. Do you know that a lot of that growth happens in short, intense bursts? The growth spurts account for drastic changes in the height and weight of the baby; and have the greatest impact on a nursing mom. The good news is that infant growth spurts usually last only 2-3 days, so your baby (and your life) should get back to normal soon. Here are the signs and symptoms of growth spurts in infants.
- Your baby may want to eat nonstop. It may happen that the well set breastfeeding schedule is disrupted due to the growth spurt in your baby.
- Changed sleeping patterns may affect your routine. Your baby may howl for a midnight snack, then perhaps after every two hours, at 2 A.M., 4 A.M., and so on. Older babies too wake up earlier from their naps.
- Your baby may start clamoring for frequent feeds. All those late nights disturb his moods and he might be extra fussy at the breast. Latching and unlatching can be noticed and you might be wondering why he is acting so. But he is expecting more milk and perhaps he might not be getting it, as the production might not be up to speed yet. The baby wants to feed for longer periods and more frequently.
How to Deal with Growth Spurts in Babies
Insufficient sleep may affect your mood; but remember, babies also have a hard time settling in. I can understand how exhausting it must be to have a newborn who suddenly treats breastfeeding like a 24 X 7 all-you-can-eat buffet. But don't give up on breast-feeding now. According to the nature's law, breastfeeding itself stimulates the production of milk. So to keep up with the growing appetite of the baby, you should breastfeed your baby as many times as possible. In case of older babies who can eat solid food, you need to take extra care regarding baby feeding. Don't introduce baby formula to the newborn, thinking that the milk supply is insufficient. Continue feeding, the supply will be increased according to the demand.
You should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. You should follow a healthy diet. You may recruit help from your partner or a friend to do household chores. You should have enough rest, otherwise you won't be able to feed your baby frequently.
If your baby is gaining weight and you need to change his diapers five or six times a day, he's doing just fine and there is nothing to worry. Baby growth spurts end soon. His hunger pangs will also be over then and things can settle back to normal. As growth spurts end within 2-3 days, you can easily find out if 'low milk supply' is upsetting the baby. Just be patient and stay focused on baby's needs at this stage. If you think that the baby is not hungry and is being fussier, then you may take a walk outside. If the baby is not hungry, he will fall asleep as soon as he gets fresh air.
Growth spurts in babies are natural and essential part of physical development. In some cases, growth spurts last for more than a week or even longer. You can adjust your feeding schedule accordingly. It is your responsibility to feed your baby whenever he gives out hunger cues.