Are you wondering why your baby has turned grumpy, unusually hungry, demanding or he can no longer sleep for more than a couple of hours at night? Your little prince or princess may be going through infant growth spurts which are normal for babies when they are under one year.
During these spurts, the child will gain weight faster and also grow taller rapidly. Although they will only last for about 48 hours, these are very trying times for a parent and having gone through several of them with my three children I know how challenging it can be, and this is more so for a first-time parent.
When I was pregnant with my firstborn son, I was always on the internet searching for information on various pregnancy and child growth related issues. But somehow I overlooked growth spurts or did not find them significant, but when my son went through the first one when he was only 21 days, my biggest regret was that I did not have enough information.
Just like any other responsible parent my first instinct was to visit a pediatrician. Luckily my doctor is a very understanding and friendly woman, and so she gave me all the information and guidance to see my baby through all his growth spurts. And for his sibling’s things were much better because I had the signs to watch out for in mind, I had the knowledge of when to expect them, how they affect a baby and most importantly what to do.
To cut the long story short, I will use this guide to share my experience on the signs of growth spurts, when they happen, how they will affect an infant and what to do. The aim of-of all this is to help make things easier for all those mothers out there that may be having trouble dealing with infant growth spurts.
What Signs Should You Look Out For?
The signs will vary from one baby to the other, and I know this because each of my three children reacted differently. Looking at the experiences that my kids went through I can say confidently that these signs will depend on the personality of a child and also how he or she behaves on ordinary occasions. However, some are general with most babies and below are some of them.
I breastfeed all my babies exclusively for the first six months, but when they are going through growth spurts things are very tough because they demand more milk. For instance, Aimee who is my second born daughter would want to feed after every 15 minutes or so and this was very hectic for me.
Baby Is Crankier
If you are not able to give your child enough food he or she will get crankier, and this is tough on a parent because he or she will not stop crying. The lack of enough sleep also contributes to the crankiness, but you just have to be patient with your child.
Baby Can’t Sleep Continuously
Aimee would not sleep for the usual five or six hours stretch at night when going through the growth spurts. In fact, she would not even go for two hours without waking up to feed.
Your Baby Appears Fatigued
Infants are not very active in their early age and so if you notice that your child looks overwhelmed or tired then this can be a sign that he or she has a growth spurt. For my kids, I would know when they are feeling fatigued by looking at the eyes and their behavior.
You will hardly be able to put your baby down during a growth spurt. And this is because the growth spurts come with clinginess and they also make the baby unsettled.
When Do The Spurts Happen?
You cannot be certain when your baby will go through a growth spurt because even medical experts cannot tell you the precise day. But, there are some distinct periods that they will occur and so knowing them is essential so that you can be ready for them. It is however still important to know that they vary from one child to the other.
My firstborn had his first spurt when he was 21 days, while Aimee was only two weeks during her first one and my last born did not go through a spurt until he was almost a month old. However according to research you should expect your baby to go through growth spurts during the following periods.
7 – 21 days
1 – 1.5 months
Will They Affect The Baby?
When Aimee was having one of her many spurts in growth, my mom was visiting for a couple of days. Although she has also raised three children, she still noticed the weight and height changes in my daughter.
And so one of the main effects is that your baby will gain more weight and also grow taller within a relatively short time. Another effect is that most kids will change their sleep patterns because the spurts in growth will interfere with how they sleep but this will only be temporary.
The appetite may also last for some days, and some babies will even change their feeding habits entirely. Some kids will tend to sleep for longer than before after the growth spurts go away, and some people claim that they are just compensating for the time that they were always awake to feed.
What Should You Do?
Knowing what to do is the most important thing when it comes to infant growth spurts. However, things are not always easy, and this is more so for first-time mothers. I remember that I had to visit a doctor when my firstborn son was going through his first growth spurt because it did not understand what was happening leave alone what to do. But over the years my knowledge base on infant growth spurts has widened and so I can handle them with ease.
The most important thing to do is to ensure that your baby is as comfortable as possible by always checking his or her diapers frequently. Apart from this, you have to let the infant feed as much as they want. If they are breastfeeding exclusively, you should not worry I can tell you with certainty from my experience that your milk supply will increase to match your baby’s appetite. Also, make sure that you stay hydrated and also eat enough food to ensure that you have the energy to cope with your child’s demands.
The last thing that always works for me is to go with the baby’s schedule such that we sleep and wake up at similar intervals. I also get someone to help around the house with chores such as cooking and cleaning the dishes so that I can have more time for my baby because it is at such time that he or she needs your attention most. You can hire a house help but for me, my husband was very supportive and did all these chores during the growth spurts for all our babies.
To sum it up the insatiable appetite and the sleepless nights will only last for a couple of days and so just be patient with the infant and let him have all the food and attention that he wants.