The first growth spurt can be seen from day 2 of life itself.
But what are baby growth spurts?
During infancy, babies undergo a lot of changes pretty fast. Just when a parent feels the baby is getting used to one pattern, everything changes. Most of these changes are accompanied with growth spurts. Parents are not prepared for such changes and may need some help in understanding that such changes are in fact, normal and absolutely healthy.
When do infant growth spurts happen?
Every baby is different from the other. It is unfair to assume that they will all grow at the same rate. They do not come with calendars or clocks; so it in all likelihood their growth rate may differ from the standard charts. But that does not mean that it is a sign of abnormality.
In general, baby growth spurts occur during the following periods:
- Day 2: This is usually considered to be a sign of protest after leaving the mother’s womb than an actual growth spurt. During this period, the babies’ gut flora becomes more prominent. It also coincides with the end of colostrum and appearance of mature breast milk.
- 2-3 weeks
- 4-8 weeks
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 1 year
What happens during a growth spurt?
You will notice these key signs in a growth spurt.
- Increase in appetite: An increase in the length and weight of the baby demands a higher supply of calories. During a growth spurt, the baby demands to be fed frequently, sometimes even every 30 minutes. As exclusive breastfeeding is recommended in the first six months, one might worry that the breastmilk will not suffice for the growing appetite of the baby. However, supplementing breast milk is generally not necessary as milk production also increases in proportion. Doing so can interfere with the supply-demand balance, and hence, is not recommended.
- Increased crankiness: Parents often complain that their child is getting cranky more frequently, or is becoming difficult to soothe. Some babies are also fussy during breastfeeding, and it is difficult to latch and unlatch them. Parents assume that the baby is refusing breast milk or milk production has come to a halt. Actually, the babies are tired due to the extra feeding sessions that have resulted in shorter naps and sleeping patterns.
- Changes in sleep pattern: After the growth spurt has ended and the baby is well stocked with the important nutrients, many infants spend the next few days in extended periods of sleep. This is because the endocrine system releases hormones when the babies are at rest. It is essential that the baby must not be awoken during that time. During these periods, babies can grow up to 1 cm in length and gain 1 to 3 pounds in merely 24 hours! Parents will notice that the baby’s clothes are getting tighter or there is an extra roll on their chubby knees.
Growth spurts are a normal, physiological phenomenon and should not worry you. However, if parents are noticing these baby spurt signs, but they are persisting for days and weeks, other factors are to blame. Babies can present with changed eating and sleeping patterns when they are under stress or getting sick. It is important to consult a paediatrician to understand whether these symptoms are due to a growth spurt or not, to ensure that your baby remains heathy.
Also read: Different Types of Birthmarks
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