Growth spurts are not just a figment of your imagination. It isn’t some made up the story that was created to justify a fussy baby’s behavior. Growth spurts do happen, and they can catch a parent off guard.
Being a first-time parent is probably one of the most intimidating things that any human goes through. It’s just because babies are so complex, and you always seem to be one step behind. If only they could tell you what was wrong when they cry and scream for hours on end. One of the reasons why babies act up is because of growth spurts.
What are growth spurts?
The short answer is that a growth spurt is the rapid growth period for your baby. However, these growth periods aren’t just reserved for babies. There are some typical growth spurt periods during the first year of baby’s life. After that, these growth spurts become less frequent, but they last for much longer.
If you think of teenage boys, they tend to hit a growth spurt between 14 and 15 years, and it lasts for a good long while. The good thing is that these spurts are entirely natural and everyone goes through them. Everybody behaves the same when they hit a spurt.
What are the signs?
The most obvious sign you can look out for is an increase in food intake. Breastfed babies tend to drink way more during a growth spurt than usual. They can drink as frequently as every hour during this time. You might be thinking at the time that you aren’t producing enough milk, to begin with. Luckily, you are producing enough milk. It is just that baby uses the milk at a much faster rate.
Other than the feeding schedule that gets turned on its head, when babies go through a growth spurt, they tend to be way fussier. This is mainly because of the discomfort in the body. Growing at a fast pace can be painful. Ask any teenage boy whose feet started to grow.
Sometimes, the pain is too much, and they have trouble walking.
The last sign that is probably overlooked the most is excessive sleep. In the day or two leading up to the growth spurt, your baby might go through a period when he or she sleeps way more than usual. This is just because of the changes the body needs to undergo to be able to cope with the change.
What should I do?
Dealing with growth spurts can sometimes be very taxing due to the baby’s moods and the tight feeding schedule. However, there are a couple of things that you can do to alleviate the stress of a growth spurt.
The first thing that you should always try and do is to keep an eye on baby and follow their lead. When it seems like they are feeding way too much, then all that you need to do is to make sure you are available for feeding. They might become even fussier if you don’t feed them enough. In cases like these, you should never try and stop your baby from feeding. Instead, time the gaps between feeding and adjust your feeding schedule accordingly.
Supply and demand
When your baby goes through a growth spurt, you need to provide the milk (if you breastfeed). It is then a clever idea to ensure that you produce enough milk. There are many ways in which you can do this, but the most important one is to feed regularly.
If your baby cries half an hour after his or her last feed, give them the boob. Many moms tend to think that they might overfeed their babies, or they believe that the baby has an entirely unrelated issue that is causing the fussiness. When you are in doubt, always opt for feeding. The worst that can happen is that your baby could decline the offer.