Just when you think your baby has some sort of natural pattern of sleeping, waking, and eating – you may find yourself exhausted by a feeding marathon, or, more blissfully, you may find he has slept extra hours during the last day or so. Why the sudden break of patterns? Your baby may be undergoing an infant growth spurts!
Infant Growth Spurts, What does it mean? What to do?
While you should track a newborn’s patterns more closely with an infant growth spurts chart, to ensure that he is not getting dehydrated or otherwise in need of urgent care, sleeping an extra hour or two more before the next feeding may be just what your baby needs to grow and it is one on our infant growth spurts symptoms. (Of course, if your baby seems lethargic, or you are otherwise concerned, consult your doctor immediately. Also, unlike teething, a fever does not normally accompany a growth spurt, so this would be a clue that something else is going on.)
Infant growth spurts occur about 5 or 6 times before baby’s first birthday, and each growth spurt lasts a couple of days. Somewhere between 10 days and two weeks, the first one will occur. Other growth spurts occur around 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months – but you will definitely recognize a growth spurt by your baby’s changes in behavior, even if he is on his own unique schedule.
Sometimes, in between growth spurts, your baby may feed more frequently for a day or two, without much noticeable gain – and these are called feeding spurts. But with a growth spurt, your baby may appear to outgrow her clothes and diapers overnight. Growth spurts usually have a period of eating more, and a period of changed sleep patterns. Other signs include restlessness, particularly clingy behavior, and dissatisfaction after feedings.
During sleep, the body produces a special hormone that helps babies grow. This hormone is simply called the human growth hormone (HGH). Your baby needs food and rest to grow – if you are wondering what you can do during a growth spurt to help your baby, follow her natural cues, and allow her to sleep when she needs to sleep, and eat when she is hungry. By the first growth spurt, you’ll probably know her feeding cues; if you’re thinking, you can’t possibly be hungry still / again, you may just be surprised! It won’t last for forever, though.
Especially if you are breastfeeding, the first few growth spurts can be extremely taxing physically for a mother and can lead to exhaustion both emotionally and physically for the new mom who tries to do everything herself. Allow yourself some grace! You’re still figuring all of this out, and it is perfectly normal to ask others around you to help out by giving you a break or taking care of a few tasks. You may also need more fluids, an extra snack, and to take advantage of napping while your baby is sleeping. Don’t be afraid to guard your time and communicate your needs.