When Can I Expect My Baby to Have Growth Spurts?
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Ketchum is a pediatric occupational therapist practicing in the neonatal intensive care unit and pediatric out-patient at Central Pennsylvania Rehab Services (CPRS) at the Heart of Lancaster Hospital. Also certified in newborn massage and instructing yoga to children with special needs, Ketchum is the owner/operator of Aimee’s Babies LLC, a child development company. Through Aimee’s Babies, Ketchum has published 3 DVDs and 9 apps which have been featured on the Rachael Ray Show and Iphone Essentials Magazine. Ketchum is one of the five finalists in the National Word Gap Challenge through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She will compete against 4 other large organizations and Universities in March 2017 in the finals of the Word Gap Challenge.
Ketchum has been working in pediatrics for 18 years and is currently pursuing her doctorate at Philadelphia University. Ketchum lives in Lititz, PA with her husband and two daughters and enjoys running marathons and half-marathons and directing elementary school musicals in her spare time.
You just bought the three-month-old onesie and it already fits your baby like a body stocking! Another growth spurt? . . . Probably. Believe it or not, there usually is a way to predict when these growth spurts will occur. Some babies have growth spurts randomly at any old time, but research shows that most babies fit their rapid periods of growth into certain points in their development.
The most common times for baby’s to have growth spurts:
- Two weeks
- Three weeks
- Six weeks
- Three months
- Six months
- Nine months
Growth spurts usually last for one to two days for babies under six months and up to a week for older babies. They may be very noticeable with weight gain and tight little onesies, or you may not notice at all.
What are the tell-tale signs that a growth spurt is imminent?
Your baby may require additional sleep. Some studies show that babies may sleep up to four additional hours in one to two days before or during a growth spurt. You may notice deeper, more restful sleep during the night and longer naps during the day. Human growth hormone (HGH) is produced in the brain during sleep and it is a critical component of your baby’s healthy growth pattern. It is also possible, although far more rare, for some babies to sleep less during a growth spurt. They may be more restless than usual and take shorter naps.
You may also notice that your baby’s behavior changes during a growth spurt, leaving them a little bit more irritable and clingy. This could be due to less sleep or just the exhaustion from the energy required for growing.
Change in eating habits can also be a sign of a growth spurt. Some studies show that feeding spurts when your baby wants to eat more often and for longer periods are associated with growth spurts and other studies show no correlation. Some babies will want to breastfeed up to 16 times in one day or every hour while awake. These are also called “frequency days.”
How to care for yourself during your baby’s growth spurt.
Baby growth spurts can be exhausting for mom and dad, especially nursing mommas! As always, take care of yourself first. If your baby is extra fussy or clingy, try to bring in some help for an hour or two so you can get a shower, hit the gym, or go for a walk. That fresh air will do you a world of good!
If your baby is wanting to feed constantly, maybe take turns. Daddy can bottle feed in between breastfeedings with expressed milk if your baby will allow it. There is no need to supplement with formula. Your body will produce extra milk if your baby is demonstrating a demand for it.
Whether you are breastfeeding or not, try to drink plenty of water and get really good nutrition for yourself. The vitamins and minerals found in whole foods will help you and your little one get through this transition time.
Try to sleep when your baby sleeps or at least lie down during her nap time so you are well-rested and ready for the next day.
The good news is that baby is growing and developing exactly the way she is supposed to and the growth spurt only lasts a few days, and then they are usually back to their normal selves. Of course, you will need to buy a few new onesies!