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.
Wendy Wright is an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant approaching the lactation consultant’s role with a unique perspective. After breastfeeding two children during her career as a bio tech marketer, she decided to pursue lactation consulting as a second career. This diverse background provides a unique approach for anyone interested in learning about the demands currently faced by modern moms and their infants.
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