All mothers remember that first day when they held their little bundle of joy. And all moms would agree that they all grow up so fast. Time flies with babies!! Babies grow over a period of time but there are some growth spurts which most babies go through. Growth spurts are days when the baby changes his pattern of daily activities. The growth spurts in babies are also known as frequency days and are very eminent during the first 12 months of the baby. It is usually the period during which the need for breastfeeding your baby is very frequent and your baby will suddenly exhibit some type of fussiness in their behavior.
After the arrival of your newborn, there is a particular pattern or routine related to her/his feeding and sleeping which you must be following; then suddenly you will notice certain changes in the feeding requirements. Your baby will need more nursing frequently and will even be willing to sleep for longer hours. This happens because of the growth spurt in babies.
During the period of growth spurt, usually your baby will grow around 3 times of her/his birth size. The height, weight and head circumference of your baby will increase during growth spurts. However, growth spurts are somewhat different from food spurts when it comes to the growth of the baby during that period. Both during growth spurt and food spurt; there is an increase in the food intake of the baby but during food spurt there is no such rapid growth in the baby’s body as compared to that occurring during growth spurt.
With growth spurts, your baby, will seem to be much hungrier than usual times. In case your baby is being breastfed, you will notice that there will be longer breastfeeding sessions and the time gap between the breastfeeding sessions tends to reduce. This clearly indicates that your baby is going through a period of growth spurts. If your baby is not on breastmilk and is formula fed; then due to growth spurts, she/he will feel hungry even after feeding session. During this period, most nursing mothers think there is less lactation in their body but actually it is the growth spurts which are responsible for this.
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Usually, most of the growth in babies occurs while sleeping and during growth spurts, your baby will need more sleep. While your baby is sleeping, the brain of the baby will signal the pituitary gland to secrete the Human Growth Hormone which facilitates the process of growth in the baby’s body. Some babies sleep for long hour’s altogether while some take short naps throughout the day. Also, most of the babies during the period of growth spurts wake up numerous times during the night.
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There are some behavioral changes that you will notice in your baby during the growth spurts. Increased fussiness and crankiness in your baby are the most common ones, that you will be able to notice during this phase. She/he will be somewhat irritable or clingy and would cry very often. This might be because of the increased hunger and growth that the baby feels tired and is unable to bear it. Holding the baby and cuddling them during this time makes them feel better. They are too small to express and the only thing that comforts them the most is the mother.
Baby Growth spurts come with development leaps. Your baby will learn some new skill or activity during this time. These new activities could be crawling, rolling over, smiling, clapping or grasping things etc. But however, these activities may come during growth spurts or even may come naturally during a time period.
Even after the first year, growth spurts keep on occurring in toddlers within some monthly intervals and it further leads to teenage growth spurts
In most babies, growth spurts last for a few days i.e. like 2-3 days. However, when the age increases; duration of growth spurts also tend to increase and can last up to a week sometimes.
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During a growth spurt, the baby will not only be cranky but will also be feeding more frequently. The baby can breastfeed as often as one hour and also for a longer duration of time. Most mothers feel that their supply is going down and they will not be able to match the demand. However, take a cue from the baby and feed them as often as they demand. The demand will increase the supply. Remember, this is a phase and will last a few days, after which the baby will go back to a normal routine. Frequent feeds can be exhausting for the mother and thus, you should stay hydrated and rest as and when possible.
In cases of growth spurts in formula fed babies, you can increase the amount of feeds for your baby. But this increase in feeds can be done gradually and not too fast and should be practiced for a few days i.e. during the growth spurt period only.
Sometimes, there may be situations in which you notice the symptoms are same as that of growth spurts but they prevail for a longer period of time. In such a scenario, you should see a pediatrician immediately as there might be some other health issues make the baby cranky. Growth spurts can be exhaustive for both the mother and the baby; but it is only a matter of couple of days and the time will pass quickly. By proper care and some support, you can definitely overcome this period easily and swiftly and enjoy seeing your baby grow and do new things.