Baby Growth Spurts: What They Are, Signs, And 4 Tips For Surviving Them
Just when you finally settle into a good routine, your baby starts wanting to eat more and sleep less. If this sounds familiar, then you’re most likely dealing with one of many baby growth spurts that will happen over the next couple of years.
Specifically, your baby will have five to six growth spurts just during their first year. To help you survive these experiences, we’ll explain what growth spurts are, what signs to look for, and how you can deal with them.
What Are Baby Growth Spurts?
A growth spurt is a time when your baby requires additional calories for a specific growth. This usually happens because your baby’s body needs to restore depleted energy to the body cells that store energy.
Think of it like this. Your car’s battery sometimes needs to be recharged to function at full capacity. A growth spurt is a signal to your baby’s body that it needs to be “recharged” by getting extra calories.
When Do Baby Growth Spurts Happen?
Your baby’s most important job during their first year of life is to grow, grow, grow! Your little one should triple their birth weight by their first birthday. This doesn’t just happen by chance, though.
Enter: baby growth spurts.
The majority of your baby’s growth will come in these short, intense bursts and are sometimes unpredictable. This might be alarming to first-time parents dealing with a fussy baby who wants to eat all the time.
While growth spurts can happen anytime, generally, you can expect your baby to experience them around:
Signs Of Baby Growth Spurts
Growth spurts are biological responses that affect both the breastfed baby and the bottle-fed baby. No baby is exempt!
Your little one’s growth spurt will usually last anywhere from one day to an entire week. Here are a few signs that your baby is going through a growth spurt.
Waking Up From Naps Early Or Waking Up At Night
If your little one is waking up early from their naps or waking up in the middle of the night (assuming they’re already sleeping through the night), a growth spurt could be the reason.
But keep in mind that this could also mean your baby is teething, sick, needs a diaper change, or something else.
Pay attention to your little one’s mannerisms and patterns. If you’re noticing a pattern over a couple of days, then you’re most likely dealing with a growth spurt.
Seeming Extra Sleepy
On the contrary, sometimes babies sleep more than usual during a growth spurt.
If your baby is taking longer naps or sleeping more at night, no need to wake them — unless it’s during their first week or two and they haven’t gained back the pounds they lost after birth.
Otherwise, let them sleep. Their body needs the rest from all that growing!
Expert tip: to help your little get a restful night of sleep, try Mustela’s Stelatopia Skin Soothing Pajamas! These 100% cotton pajamas deliver soothing moisture all night long so your little one can sleep soundly!
Learning New Tricks
Your baby won’t be able to roll over immediately after one growth spurt. But, over time, these growth spurts lead to your little one’s new tricks, like grasping a toy, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, and walking.
In addition to their body growing during these spurts, your baby’s brain also grows, causing their skull to fuse together. That’s why your baby’s soft spot is closed (or nearly closed) by their first birthday.
Eating More Frequently
Showing hunger cues more than normal is a tell-tale sign that your baby is going through a growth spurt.
If your little one normally eats every three hours and then all of a sudden wants to eat every one to two hours, what should you do? Rule of thumb: feed your baby when they’re hungry!
This is especially important for breastfed babies. Your body produces your baby’s milk, and your baby will need more milk during growth spurts. Feeding them when they’re hungry allows your body (i.e., your milk supply) to adjust to their changing needs.
If you’re bottle-feeding, gradually increase the amount of formula you give your baby. Be careful not to overfeed, though. If you notice your baby is spitting up more than usual, they’re probably getting too much.
This is a tricky one. Your baby can be fussy for several reasons. Number one is that they’re a baby.
Babies communicate by crying. Your little one could be sick, hurt, hot, cold, wet, dirty, teething...just to name a few reasons they may be trying to get your attention.
But if your baby is fussy and showing signs of hunger and waking up early (or sleeping more), you can probably chalk it up to a growth spurt. But just like you did with their hunger cues, pay attention to your baby’s mannerisms.
Note: baby growth spurts are easy to confuse with other issues, like teething. For example, if your little one is overly sleepy or fussy, they could be sick. And constant hunger could indicate a low milk supply if you’re nursing.
Frequent wet and dirty diapers are good indicators that your baby is getting enough milk. For possible sickness, pay attention to your baby’s temperament and temperature.
4 Tips For Surviving Your Baby’s Growth Spurts
Because growth spurts require your baby to be fed more often than normal, these times can be exhausting for both you and your little one. Take a look at our tips below for surviving (and thriving!) during growth spurts.
This one is for the breastfeeding mom. As we mentioned above, your body is going to experience changes along with your baby’s during growth spurts.
It’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water! Aim to drink a glass of water during each feeding session to help keep up your milk supply and keep you healthy.
Call In Back-Up And Clear Your Schedule
If all you feel like you’re doing is feeding a baby, then you’re probably doing something right! This is all you’ll be able to do during growth spurts.
It’s exhausting, and it’s hard work. So call in back-up for things like household chores and cooking.
Remember, this will only last a week at most, so try to relax and understand that on those days, nothing else may get accomplished — and that’s OK!
All babies grow at their own pace, so don’t compare your baby’s size to another baby’s of the same age.
At your little one’s regular wellness visits, the doctor will measure their length and head circumstance and check their weight to make sure they’re growing as they should.
Your baby will have a wellness visit at one week (or before and possibly a little after), one month, two months, four months, six months, nine months, and 12 months. Do you see a pattern? Growth spurts usually occur around those milestone wellness visits.
That said, don’t hesitate to reach out to your baby’s doctor if you have any concerns between wellness visits!
Take Care Of Your Breasts
Frequent feeding sessions increase your milk supply, which can trigger uncomfortable engorgement for you.
Care for your engorged breasts by hand-expressing your milk or by nursing your baby. Breast pumping can also help alleviate the pain in extreme circumstances.
This soothing and restorative nipple cream moisturizes and protects your nipples, eases discomfort, and helps to replenish and restore your skin during and after breastfeeding.
Another treasure for your chest is our Bust Firming Serum. Both breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding moms will benefit from this serum. It provides bust support to give your skin a firmer look and feel!
Taking Care Of You and Your Baby
During your baby’s first year, they will rely solely on you for comfort and food. That means baby growth spurts affect you as much as they affect your little one!
Fortunately, you’ll get the hang of how to survive them after the first few growth spurts. And you can find relief knowing each one only lasts for a few days.
Mustela cares for you and your baby. We’re here to help you not only survive but thrive during your little one’s growth spurts. Take care of yourself with our skin care line for moms, and give your baby the best skin care with our Newborn Arrival Gift Set!
As your baby grows, choose from a variety of products designed to treat your baby’s specific skin needs during every phase of their precious life!