If your baby appears to fit that sweet little onesie one day and have it exploding at the seams that the next, it may not be your sleep-deprived eyes playing tricks on you. She might be having a significant growth spurt–among many that infants experience in their first 12 months.
Though growth spurts can occur at any time, it is typical for them to hit at approximately ten days, between three and six weeks, and several times afterward. Three-month growth spurts, as well as six and nine-month growth spurts, are especially common. And when a development spurt strikes, it may be fast and furious; infants can measurably gain weight and length in only 24 hours, says Michelle Lampl, a physician and growth researcher at Emory University in Atlanta. Her studies demonstrate that tots can sprout up to nine millimeters in length in just one day. Here is what you could notice.
1. She will sleep like a log (or be up all night)
At the day or so before a big growth spurt, a few babies sleeping longer than usual. “There are significant physiological changes that occur during sleep which are essential for development,” says Peter Nieman, a pediatrician and assistant clinical professor at the University of Calgary medical school. Do not wake her for feedings unless it is within the first week and guided by your maintenance provider. “She needs her rest, and she’ll make up for milk or formula she missed at her next feeding,” he says.
2. She will be hungry
Some infants prefer food to snooze during a growth spurt. Even if she had been starting to sleep longer stretches at night, your baby may suddenly want to eat round the clock again.
“I thought that there may be something wrong with my milk supply because she seemed complete.” If you are breastfeeding, don’t worry, your body will keep up with the baby’s desire. (If you’ve got real concerns that you are not producing enough milk, then speak with your doctor.) Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and recruit your partner or a family member to assist with everything which can not be done using a babe in arms before the spurt passes. If you’re using formula, increase the amount you’re giving very gradually–there is a risk of overfeeding. “If your baby begins spitting up more than normal she’s probably getting too much,” says Nieman.
3. She’ll be cranky
Frequent fussing may be normal for a few days during a growth spurt. “This can seem rather dramatic at the moment, but it doesn’t last quite long, and infants will calm down following their growth spurt,” says Lampl. Lots of cuddling and reassurance in the meantime can help soothe her.
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This too will pass
You will feel like this growth spurt won’t ever end, but it will. Most only last a few days. Shifts in mood, feeding habits and sleep schedule may also mean that she is getting sick, starting to teethe (if she’s older than three weeks ) or simply needing extra relaxation due to a change in routine. Speak to your doctor if you are worried that her symptoms may be something more, but do not stress about precisely how much your baby is increasing, or when, and do not compare her size to that of other babies. As long as she’s gaining steadily and proportionally there’s no reason to sweat exact ounces or inches,” says Neiman. “All infants grow at their own rate and speed–they know what they’re doing.”