Of course you know that your baby will get bigger as time goes by, but do you know that baby growth spurts will cause it to happen practically overnight?
If you were expecting the growth to be slow and steady, you’re in for a surprise! The truth is that munchkins grow like weeds, and you’ll want to know everything you can about baby growth spurts so that you can be prepared when it happens!
What are baby growth spurts?
Baby growth spurts are just like a growth spurt that an older child or teenager will go through—only much more condensed! It’s a perfectly naturally and normal part of development. In babies, the growth in both height and weight usually all takes place in just a couple of days. In some cases, you can literally see the change overnight. No, it’s not your imagination! Your little munchkin can gain as much as 9 mm in only 24 hours.
When can we expect them?
Like you probably know, babies develop at their own pace. Don’t try to compare your little one’s growth with that of any other babies that are close to him in age because they will most likely not match up.
With that being said, there is a typical pattern that baby growth spurts tend to follow. The average number of baby growth spurts is 5 in the first 12 months of life. Typically, his body weight will triple by the time he reaches his first birthday! Here is when you can potentially expect these growth spurts to happen:
- At 10 days old
- When he is between 3 and 6 weeks
- At 3 months
- At 6 months
- At 9 months
How can we know if our baby is going through one?
There is clearly one obvious sign of baby growth spurts: they get bigger! And they do it quickly. However, there are also some other symptoms that you will typically notice a few days before the change in size, as his little body gears up to transform. Here’s what you can look for:
- He’s sleeping a lot more than usual. The process can be exhausting, even before there are any visible changes. Let him sleep... he needs it!
- On the other hand, he could be waking up more during the night. This will probably be because he wants to eat again, which leads us to our next symptom…
- He’s ravenously hungry! He can’t seem to get enough food, but don’t worry, your breast milk is giving him all he needs. As long as he’s gaining weight and going through 5 to 6 nappies per day, he’s getting enough nutrition. Just keep feeding him when he asks for it.
- He’s cranky and fussy. Are you ever grumpy after a long day? Well, that’s how your little one feels when his body is working so hard to get bigger!
Some of the same symptoms of growth spurts in babies can also be signs of other issues. For example, if your little guy has been extra fussy lately and he’s at least 3 months old, his change in behaviour could be related to teething. Also, if he’s sleeping much more or less than he usually does, it could be sign that he’s getting sick. If you notice any other symptoms like fever, runny nose, or diarrhoea, contact your paediatrician.
How can we deal with baby growth spurts?
There’s nothing you can do to stop a growth spurt. And you wouldn’t really want to if you could, would you? Fortunately, although your little guy is cranky, he shouldn’t be in any pain, so you don’t have to worry about that. The only things you can do are keep him well-fed and give him lots of affection and cuddles!
Even if it seems like the feeding is never-ending, he needs all the nutrients he can get. Growing is hard work, after all, and requires lots of calories. The best thing you can do is eat and drink enough for yourself so that you can stay energized enough to keep up with him, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Don’t stop breastfeeding now, if you were thinking about it, because this is just when he needs that balanced nutrition the most. On the other hand, if you are formula-feeding, make sure that he gets as much as he needs, but increase the amount that you give him gradually.
Even though the constant feeding and crankiness that come along with baby growth spurts can be grating, you may find that you actually enjoy these periods of rapid growth. You may marvel at how big your little angel has become in just a few days! It can really be quite astonishing to watch! And you’ll never get to see him grow so much in such a short time again, so enjoy it while you can!