Does it seem as if your baby is hungrier than normal? Is she fussier at the breast? Is she waking at night suddenly, ready for a meal?
Sounds like a growth spurt might be to blame. Babies going through a growth spurt tend to eat more and more often, wake more frequently during naps and at night, and may be fussier than usual.
The good news is these intense bursts of physical and/or mental or developmental growth are temporary. Growth spurts usually only last between a few days to a few weeks.
“It’s no surprise your baby is cranky, just like you she’s suffering from lack of sleep,” said Dr. Emma Raizman, a pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics in Medina. “Breathe! This doesn’t mean that your baby is regressing, is dissatisfied with your breast milk or that you are doing anything wrong. Just remember, it is a natural process – and it happens to all babies and parents.”
After all, your baby’s biggest job this year is to grow bigger. On average, most babies double their birth weight by 4 months and triple it by their first birthday. Growth spurts can happen anytime in the first year, but they likely occur:
- Between 1 and 2 weeks
- Around 3 or 4 months
- Around 6 months
- Around 9 months
- Around 1 year
Though growth spurts can be tough to tackle in the moment, Dr. Raizman offers 5 tips to help you and your partner weather the storm — of tears and hunger pangs. Soon enough the growth spurt will end and things will settle back to normal, that is until the next one hits.
- Eat well and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and nourished, especially if you’re breast-feeding. Your body will need to be prepared and ready for the high demand on breast milk and/or energy your baby is going to require.
- Make time for extra rest. Again, you’ll need the energy for the nighttime wakings and restless sleep you’re going to encounter with your baby.
- Recruit help from your partner or a friend to assist with household chores, errands or anything else that’s impossible to accomplish one-handed. That way, you can give your baby the extra comfort she needs.
- Be patient, and offer your baby extra cuddles and physical contact to soothe her. Remember, this isn’t forever and it will end soon. Plan for some quiet time at home, perhaps with a good Netflix binge or DVD to pass the time.
- If you are unsure or concerned about your baby’s sudden change in behavior or mood, make an appointment with your pediatrician to discuss. Things like caregiver changes, teething or illness could also be to blame.