Your baby will grow exponentially during their first year of life, and sometimes you'll suspect that your baby has grown over night! Find out what baby growth spurts are, what are the signs of baby growth spurts, and how to deal with them.
What Are Growth Spurts?
Growing spurts are periods of intense, rapid growth in short periods of time. You may notice an increase in the height and weight of your infant or toddler overnight.
In the first year of a baby's life, his or her length (height) and weight are two of the most obvious indicators of growth. The average newborn gains about 25 centimeters in length and triples the weight he or she has at birth. Babies' heads also grow quite a bit, especially during the first four months. Your baby is likely to grow steadily, but it is possible your infant will experience what's called a growth spurt in their development. A growth spurt normally lasts 3-7 days, then your baby returns to normal.
When Do Babies Have Growth Spurts?
A baby generally loses about one tenth of his or her birth weight during the first five days after birth, and then regains it within the next five days. When your newborn has returned to her birth weight, you may observe that she grows rapidly and goes through another growth spurt between three and six weeks later. It is possible for babies to experience growth spurts at different times. If you have any questions or concerns about your baby's development, check with your doctor.
Growth spurts are much rarer in toddlers. After age 1, children typically grow slower, and by age 2, they start to grow more steadily until just before puberty. A major growth spurt is common between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls, and between 10 and 15 for boys.
Baby growth spurt signs
- Your baby seems extra hungry
During this time, your baby wants to eat at least every hour or every 30 minutes. There are some mums who worry about not producing enough milk, but don't worry, your body will naturally adjust to the new requirement within a few days. The more you feed your baby, the more he stimulates milk production to keep up with his growing appetite. You'll know your baby is getting enough breastmilk if they are alert and happy, producing wet and dirty nappies. Don't 'top up' with formula milk as that can reduce your milk supply, exactly the opposite of what you need to be doing! Older babies also tend to nurse more often and increase their solid food intake.
- Frequent night wakings
During this period, your infant may wake up a lot during the night, ask for feeding, or cry without reason, because growth spurt affects your child's feelings and increases his sense of hunger, thus making him attached to you and in a mood that is volatile and does not want to play as usual.
- Increased fussiness
Just before a growth spurt, your baby may appear cranky or even cry a lot. In some cases, fussiness or crankiness can be caused by other conditions, such as colic, especially if the crying happens at the same time every day. Also, You might not be producing enough milk at this point, so he will be fussy at the breast and might latch and unlatch in order to get more milk right away.
- Your baby is sleeping more than usual
Mothers report that their babies sleep longer or deeper, or sneak in an extra nap just before, during, or just after a growth spurt. The logical conclusion is that your baby should sleep more if their bodies are spending so much energy growing. Growth hormone, which our bodies produce while sleeping, is essential to healthy growth, though we do not fully understand how it works. Research has also shown there is a link between how long babies and young children sleep and their growth.
How to Deal With Infant Growth Spurts
If you notice that your infant is about to have a growth spurt, you may want to:
- Feed your baby more often if he seems more hungry than usual
- Get your baby to sleep better
- Soothe your fussy baby.
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Don’t be surprised if your baby seems to have grown overnight when he goes through a growth spurt! Baby's growth spurts are normal and natural in the first few months. It's nothing to worry about, if your baby seems hungrier than usual or even a little cranky, then you may wake up with a bigger baby. You only need to be patient and calm, and assure yourself that the changes will end soon.