Just when you are settled into a new routine with your baby, you suddenly realize that it has changed overnight. Is it something to panic about? Well-no. It’s all likely that your baby is undergoing a growth phase.
What Is Meant By Growth Spurt In Babies?
To put it simply, the growth spurt is a period of rapid increase in height, weight and head circumference in babies. These changes are more visible in the first year after they are born. Of course, they occur at other times too, during a child’s life, but may be less visible.
When Does Growth Spurt Occur In Babies?
There is no fixed rule as to when the growth spurt actually happens. It can happen at any time and could last for either a day or as long as a week. Normally, they are known to take place during the first 2 or three weeks or even at 6 weeks. Sometimes they may be visible during the third or the sixth month. Each baby follows a different pattern of growth. So, there is no need to watch out for growth spurts during these times alone. It has been noticed that some kids have fewer or more growth spurts. In fact, it is also possible that this phase goes completely unnoticed. There is nothing to worry or panic about its presence or absence.
What Happens During Growth Spurts?
Here are some signs to watch out for during growth spurts. If you are aware of the physical signs, you can be assured that it is normal and can deal with it in the most appropriate way
- Variation in sleep patterns: In the days before or following a major growth spurt, there is a visible variation in the pattern of sleep. Some children tend to sleep longer and some might wake up in the middle of the night for a feed. Older children might wake up earlier from their usual nap time. In fact, it is believed that during sleep babies produces a protein called human growth hormone (HGH), especially during the early part of the night in deep sleep. Strange as it may sound, babies grow overnight
- Hungrier than usual: You may suddenly feel that despite feeding a lot, your baby still ends up feeling hungrier. This is completely normal. The more often your baby breastfeeds, the more he/she stimulates milk production needed for his/her increasing appetite. The feeding patterns and timings might undergo change too
- Cranky and clingy: Changes in sleep and feed patterns tend to overwhelm your baby and make them crankier. They may tend to get clingier to get that extra reassurance and attention from you. Sometimes, the moment you put them down, they may start crying and get consoled only when you hold them up again. It is believed that babies may be tired because of using up all the energy for feeding and growing. It is also held that the fussy behavior may be an indication of an upcoming growth spurt or a signal for a milestone that may be soon achieved
How To Deal With It Growth Spurt In Babies?
The good news is that growth spurts are merely phases and will soon pass. You must not get agitated or overwhelmed during these times, but stay calm and help your baby pass through this stage as smoothly as possible. Here are some things that you can do:
- Stop worrying that you may not be producing enough milk to meet the growing needs of your baby. It happens naturally
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
- If you start on formula feed for the growing needs, don’t go overboard. Talk to your doctor before you decide on anything
- Get some help from people at home so that you can spend extra hours with your baby. Long feeding hours will be exhausting for you as well and you need rest too
- Keep an eye on the diapers. If he is soaking 5-6 a day, he/she is normal. Also, watch out for the weight. If the weight gain is steady during your regular visit to the doctor, you can rest assured that everything is fine. If not, discuss this with your doctor
- Give enough comfort and cuddles to your baby. He/she needs more of it now than at any other time
- Try to catch up on some sleep when your little one is asleep. You really need it
When To Call The Doctor?
- Growth spurts in babies can make them more sleepy and cranky but if it is accompanied by fever, listlessness, and irritability then check with your doctor as it can be signs that you baby is not feeling well
- If you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby and are concerned that your baby is not getting enough breast milk, then check with your doctor
- If there is a sudden change in your baby’s sleeping, feeding habits or behavior and you are worried about the same, do check with your doctor
- Just remember growth spurts in babies are not always responsible for your baby to be cranky or hungry. Teething, any change in the routine or any kind of illness can also lead to your baby behaving out of sorts
- There may be times when there is a change in your baby’s routine. This can make then unsettled and they may take to your breast more often just to feel secure and reassured of your presence
A growth spurt is as normal as any other phase of your baby’s life. With a little bit of attention, care and rest, both of you can sail through it easily.
So all mommies out there, do let us know how did you deal with growth spurts in your baby? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.