What are baby growth spurts? As a new parent, you will probably have heard the term “growth spurt” thrown around by other parents, pediatricians, or even in parenting books. But what exactly are growth spurts, and what should you expect when your baby goes through them? I’ll share my insights as a mother of 3, Occupational Therapist and author of 8 parenting titles into baby growth spurts, what they mean and what to expect.
What are Baby Growth Spurts?
Baby growth spurts refer to periods of rapid growth that occur during the first year of your baby’s life. These periods are marked by a sudden increase in your baby’s weight, height, and head circumference. Growth spurts can happen at any time during the first year, but they are most common around the following ages:
- 2 to 3 weeks old
- 6 weeks old
- 3 months old
- 6 months old
- 9 months old
- 12 months old
During a growth spurt, your baby’s body is working hard to develop and grow, and this can lead to changes in their behaviour and feeding habits.
What to Expect During a Baby Growth Spurt
During a growth spurt, your baby may seem more irritable, hungry, and fussy than usual. They may also be more tired and sleep more or less than usual. This is because their body is using a lot of energy to grow and develop, and they need more food and rest to support this process.
Your baby may also want to nurse or bottle-feed more often than usual during a growth spurt. This is normal and necessary, as they need more nutrients to support their growth. If you are breastfeeding, you may notice that your baby is more demanding and wants to nurse more frequently. This can be exhausting for you, but it’s important to remember that this is just a temporary phase and will pass.
Common Myths and Misconceptions About Baby Growth Spurts
Baby growth spurts are periods of time when babies experience rapid growth in height and weight. They typically occur during the first year of life and can be accompanied by changes in behavior, appetite, and sleep patterns. However, there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding these growth spurts that can lead to unnecessary worry and confusion for parents. Here are some of the most common myths and misconceptions about baby growth spurts:
Myth: Growth spurts only occur during the first few months of life
Fact: While growth spurts are most common during the first few months of life, they can occur throughout the first year and even into toddlerhood. Babies may experience a growth spurt every few weeks or every few months, and they can vary in intensity and duration.
Myth: Growth spurts are always accompanied by a loss of appetite
Fact: While some babies may experience a temporary decrease in appetite during a growth spurt, others may actually eat more than usual. It’s important to follow your baby’s hunger cues and not force them to eat if they’re not interested.
Myth: Growth spurts are a sign that your baby is not getting enough milk or formula
Fact: Growth spurts are a normal part of development and do not necessarily indicate that your baby is not getting enough to eat. It’s important to trust your baby’s hunger cues and not worry too much about the exact amount they are consuming.
Myth: Babies who experience frequent growth spurts will be taller or heavier than average as adults
Fact: While babies who experience frequent growth spurts may be taller or heavier than average during childhood, there is no guarantee that they will be taller or heavier than average as adults. Genetics and other factors play a much larger role in determining adult height and weight than early growth patterns.
How to Manage Baby Growth Spurts
The best way to manage baby growth spurts is to be prepared and flexible. Here are some tips to help you and your baby get through this phase:
- Feed your baby on demand: During a growth spurt, your baby may want to eat more frequently. Be prepared to feed them on demand, whether you are nursing, bottle-feeding or weaning.
- Get plenty of rest: Your baby may be more tired than usual during a growth spurt, so make sure they are getting plenty of rest. This may mean adjusting their nap schedule or letting them sleep longer at night. It also means not exposing them to lots of prolonged stimulation so they don’t get into a sensory overload.
- Be patient: Easier said than done! Growth spurts can be tough on both you and your baby. Be patient and remember that this is just a temporary phase.
- Watch for signs of hunger: During a growth spurt, your baby may show signs of hunger more often than usual. Look for signs such as rooting, sucking on their hands, or making smacking sounds.
- Take care of yourself: Ha! You say. But you are doing yourself a favour by acknowledging that taking care of a growing baby can be exhausting. Talk to your partner to make sure you are both getting enough rest, eating well, and asking for help when you need it.
Baby growth spurts are a normal part of your baby’s development during the first year of their life. While they can be challenging, they are a sign that your baby is growing and thriving. For more help adjusting your baby’s routine during growth spurts or for sleep, feeding and milestone development tips, download Parent Sense. It’s the all-in-one baby app that takes the guesswork out of growth spurts.