3 signs your baby is having a growth spurt

Dealing with a period of rapid growth can be intimidating. Spot the signs so you're prepared.

31 May 2016
by Candice Verwey

Are you starting to feel like a milk machine as you prepare to feed your hungry baby for the tenth time in one day? It’s likely that a growth spurt is at play. The good news is that growth spurts are temporary. The bad news is that they can be quite intense. 

Here are three telltale signs you’re dealing with a period of rapid growth. 

1. The time is right

“Common times for growth spurts are during the first few days at home and around 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months (more or less),” says midwife Elsabé Brusser. “Babies don’t read calendars, however, so your baby may do things differently.”

2. Your baby is crazy hungry

It goes without saying that a rapidly-growing baby is likely to be a very hungry baby. In order to keep up with the demand for milk, you might need to feed your baby as often as every hour. 

Brusser advises following your little one’s lead. “Baby will automatically get more milk by nursing more frequently, and your milk supply will increase due to the increased nursing. It is not necessary or advised to supplement your baby with formula or expressed milk during a growth spurt. Supplementing and/or scheduling feeds interferes with the natural supply and demand of milk production and will prevent your body from getting the message to make more milk during the growth spurt.”

3. Fussy behaviour

Your baby is experiencing many physiological changes during this time, with the result that they may be more irritable and cranky than usual. Babies generally triple their weight in the first year; it’s a period of incredible growth and development and it’s only natural that they will become very unsettled at various stages along the way.

4. Changes in sleep patterns

While some babies seem to need more sleep during this time, others need less sleep and may wake up more frequently at night and take fewer naps during the day (unfortunately you don’t have a say in which way this will go.) Whatever the case, a change in your baby’s usual sleep schedule is likely. This will be particularly frustrating if you follow a strict routine, but your baby should settle back into their usual routine once the growth spurt is over. 

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