A growth spurt is a sudden increase in the growth rate of an infant. Babies usually grow faster during the first couple of years of their life. The average spurt that happens during the first year is about ten inches.However, for new mothers, it may seem strange at first and cause panic. This is because growth spurts are characterized by sudden behavioral changes.
It’s a normal occurrence that is bound to happen multiple times. During the first year of the baby’s life, a growth spurt may happen about five times i.e. around 6 and 8 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and also 9 months. These are the most common periods when most parents should expect an increase in growth rate. However, all children are unique and there’s no need to worry if nothing happens on the above-mentioned timelines. But how will you know if your baby is undergoing a growth spurt? Outlined below are some of the common signs of growth spurts.
1. Constant Hunger
Just when you think you have the perfect feeding schedule for your baby, they suddenly want to eat more and constantly. If you are breastfeeding, the baby might not even want to leave your chest. You might end up in a three-day breastfeeding marathon which may leave you sore. If its formula, they may end up feeling dissatisfied right after they have finished their bottle.
However, this is normal, and it will subside after a couple of days. What usually happens is an increase in the rate of metabolism which causes an increase in food utilization. The body needs more calories for growth in order to facilitate the production of hormones, development muscles, and bones etc. The result is constant hunger pangs. Besides feeling constantly hungry, the baby’s feeding routine may also change.
2. Change in Sleep Patterns
During a growth spurt, most parents tend to notice a change in sleep pattern. Babies tend to sleep more. However, in some unique cases,babies may end up sleeping less during the growth spell. According to medical reports, sleep helps to enhance the production of the growth hormone. If your baby is sleeping more, let them lie.
3. The Baby Is Fussier Than Normal
Fussiness is usually caused by fatigue or the extra hunger pangs. Additionally, physical growth is kind of a painful experience. The muscles and tendons in the body are being stretched and this can make the baby cranky. To deal with fussiness, cuddle your baby more and give them hugs, this will help to soothe them.
4. The Baby May Get Clingier
Your infant may want to be constantly held or carried. Oftentimes, they may cry when you try to put them down. Simply be there for your baby because this is something that will last for a few days only. According to expert, a growth spurt is often accompanied by a certain development skill. So, be ready. Your baby may start crawling, rolling over etc.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SICKNESS AND GROWTH SPURTS
Often, growth spurts normally get confused with sickness and vice versa. The truth is that these two conditions are not the same. For new mothers who are navigating through the complex baby phase, it might be very hard to distinguish these two.
For starters, growth spurts are not accompanied by signs of illness such as vomiting and fever. In case your baby sleeps all the time or they are cranky and their body temperature feels higher than normal, then they are sick. If the baby is eating a lot but they are throwing up, ensure that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Don’t forget to check the baby’s diaper count. Remember that what goes in must come out. So if the baby is eating more, they will end up with increased bowel movements. You can also do a weight check and if the scale is going up, then this is a sign that your baby isn’t sick but they are just growing.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO DURING A GROWTH SPURT
During this period, the best thing to do is to increase the rate of feeding your baby. If you are breastfeeding, eat highly nutritious foods and constantly hydrate to ensure that you have adequate milk supply. Note that a growth spurt usually happens for a couple of days only and your baby will calm down again.