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Infant Growth Spurts

Updated on October 3, 2013

Doctors maintain that growth spurt in babies occur soon after birth. Babies will undergo the first growth spurt between 1 and 3 weeks, and the second will fall between 6 and 8 weeks. Post the first two growth spurts, parents can expect their babies to have a growth spurt at 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months. It is also possible for babies to experience additional growth spurts. The duration and time of the growth spurts differ from one baby to another.

A baby generally grows rapidly during the first year. The infant may gain three times the weight before the completion of a year. Most growth spurts in babies occur in short, strong bursts. The radical changes in weight as well as height can also have an effect on the nursing mother. It may however be noted that a majority of growth spurts tend to last for just two to three days. The situation will then return to normalcy.

Symptoms of growth spurts in babies

One of the primary signs that the baby is experiencing a growth spurt is the drastic increase in the frequency of meals. The baby will also become fussier and crankier than normal. Even though the baby may have had its stomach fill of milk, it will still act as if the meal was insufficient. This however does not mean that the baby is starving.Generally, a baby will undergo about 5 growth spurts during the first year.

Some of the signs and symptoms of growth spurts in babies are listed below:

  • Changed appetite: The baby may have the urge to eat continuously. It may perennially feel hungry and voraciously intake food. Growth spurt in babies is most likely to disrupt your well-set breastfeeding schedule. It is important for parents to assuage the baby’s elevated appetite. You may breastfeed at frequent intervals or increase the ounces.

  • Changed behavior: Babies tend to become more restless during growth spurts. They may get easily irritated and cranky. The sleeping pattern changes and the rest hours reduce. Occasionally the baby may wake up in the middle of the night and feel extremely hungry. This desire for nighttime snacks may often continue after every 2 hours. The late nights may also result in excessive fussiness and mood disturbances. You may also observe your baby to constantly latch and unlatch onto the breast. This may be due to its need for additional milk whose production speed does not match the demand. The baby will want to feed more frequently and for longer durations. Parents need to keep a lookout for the changes and read into the baby’s moods. Alter your daily routine to attune to its changing needs. You only need to keep up the patience for a few days. So ensure that the baby remains comfortable.

  • Unusual sleeping: The baby may also sleep for prolonged durations when undergoing a growth spurt. It may be noted that older babies may awake a little earlier from their naps. Do not wake up or disturb the baby when it is sleeping, for feeding or any other purpose. Babies tend to grow during the sleeping process. Sufficient physical development only occurs when the baby avails of adequate sleep.

What can parents do during growth spurt in babies?

Growth spurt in babies can be a very exhausting time for parents, especially the mother. It may however be noted that babies also have a hard time adjusting to such sudden bodily changes. The increased appetite of the baby should not prevent you from finding other sources of milk. The more your breastfeed, the more milk will be produced in the breasts.

Parents also need to take extra special care about the diet of older babies who can consume solid foods. Milk formula need not be introduced just because the breast milk supply is thought to be insufficient. Continue breastfeeding your baby, and the supply will naturally increase to meet the demands.

It is natural for the baby to put on weight during a growth spurt. You may also need to change the diapers 5 to 6 times a day. The excess workload can take a toll on the mothers. Hence, you also need to take care of yourself. Keep your body hydrated and eat a healthy diet. You can also ask your partner to help with the household chores. This will allow you to get enough rest and also happily take care of all the baby’s needs. Mothers can also take a nap when the baby is sleeping and program the daily schedule around the baby’s timings. If the baby is not hungry but fussy, then go for a stroll in the park. The fresh air will soothe the baby and refresh its mood.

In most cases, growth spurt in babies tend to last for two to three days. It may however be noted that some babies tend to continue experiencing the growth spurt for even up to a week. Hence, parents should be prepared for all eventualities.

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