Breastfeeding Through a Growth Spurt

Remember how I had Wendy from the 16 Minute Club write that post on Breastfeeding for Beginners? Well, it was so popular that I asked her to write a post on growth spurts. Check ‘er out!

– Amy

Babies grow the most within their first year of life. Instead of the growth being slow and steady throughout the first year, all babies will go through growth spurts, which include a few days to a week of rapid growth, never-ending feeds, and crankiness (for both the baby and mom).

Don’t worry, mama, growth spurts are just a quick phase. They will not last forever, even though it may seem like it right now.

Recognizing Growth Spurts

You can bet that your baby is going through a growth spurt if you are scratching your head and wondering where your angel baby went. Signs of growth spurts include increased hunger, unsatisfied after a feeding, increased fussiness, night waking (if they had been sleeping through the night), and sleeping more throughout the day.

The Best Way to Get Through Growth Spurts

Nursing through growth spurts can be challenging, but just let your baby lead the way. Feed on demand and let them sleep when they want to during the growth spurt. If your baby was originally on a schedule, don’t worry. They will come back to that schedule again. Right now it is just essential to let your baby eat as much as he wants and to sleep as much as they want. This will help them grow and minimize the crankiness.

Massaging Through Growth Spurts

Don’t let the title fool you, moms, you aren’t the ones getting a massage through growth spurt week. Wouldn’t that be nice! Instead, you can use infant massage to help settle your baby through a growth spurt. Regular infant massage can help promote relaxation, encourage better sleep, and help with digestion. Also, baby massage gives off endorphins so your little one will get some natural painkillers, which are helpful if they have any growing pains. Massaging your baby is just a nice time for both of you to bond.

Common Timing for Growth Spurts

The most common times for growth spurts are 1-3 weeks, 6-8 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months. Not every baby is on the same exact calendar for growth charts (because that would make motherhood way too easy, right?). So your baby may experience a growth spurt a week before or after the common timing window. Also, if your baby was born early, many times they will experience their growth spurts later.

Milk Supply Concerns

It is totally normal to feel as if you do not have enough milk during a growth spurt. You can expect that your little one will be fussy, frustrated, and wanting to nurse a lot. Many moms may see this as a sign that they are not producing enough milk. This is not the case at all, and you do not have to supplement with formula. It is also wise not to pull out your stored bags of breast milk either, as you need your baby to help your breast increase their supply naturally.

Know that growth spurts are hard, but they only last a few days, sometimes as long as a week. Your baby will then go back to nursing normally. If you are worried about your supply, try easing from strenuous exercise for the growth spurt week and upping your healthy fats, such as coconut oil and avocados. Growth spurt time should also be a time where you stop counting calories, if you were doing so for slow weight loss. Your body is going to need more calories and fluids during the time, so allow your hunger and thirst to lead you.

The best thing to do through your baby’s growth spurt is to have a positive attitude. The dirty laundry and dishes in the sink can wait. Change plans with friends or reschedule appointments to make life easier. Also, don’t be afraid to ask a family member or friend for help this week if you need to catch up on sleep.

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  • I found this very informative. I am 17 weeks pregnant and planning on breastfeeding. I never really thought about the baby upping their food intake for growth spurts. Obviously they would just never thought about it. Great tips. Thank you

  • Thanks, Wendy! This kind of info is precious when in the thick of a growth spurt with a fussy, off-schedule baby.

  • Growth spurts are hard!! My baby is only 7.5 months, but I have to say the only growth spurts that were noticeable to me (so far) were the 10 day and 3 weeks. 10 day wasn’t a big deal (1 day of extra eating followed by 1 day of extra sleeping.) The 3 week however was a doozy!!! It was harder because I thought it would be like the 10 day spurt – 1 day, but it ended up lasting close to a week. I just wasn’t mentally (or physically) prepared for it to last that long which made it much harder, but we got through it eventually. But the advice I give my friends who are expecting is to definitely mind the growth spurts!!

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