Newborn Growth Spurt – Thoughts on Your Little One’s Development
When you are a parent, you become more and more observant with almost everything that you see, hear and witness. This is even more so when it comes to your little ones. But this kind of mannerism that you will attain is a good thing, especially when you are to perceive your baby’s growth and development.
One of the many milestones that you will sooner or later experience with your baby is what we commonly call a newborn growth spurt. This particular milestone can be well observed, especially when you are very much attentive to your baby’s moves, routine, feeding, behavior and most especially, their physical appearance.
In addition to this milestone, there can be several other memorable moments that your baby will be experiencing. It can be as simple as longer naps or even more active “awake moments.” But always keep in mind that not all babies are the same. So you should expect the unexpected when it comes to your tiny bundle of joy.
If you are not that keen on spotting whether your baby is already undergoing this change, you need not fret. There are other signs that can confirm that your baby is actually experiencing it. So you better take some notes as we go along this topic of ours.
Signs of Newborn Growth Spurt
If I could sum up all the possible signs that you can experience, I would say it would all boil down into four main categories. These are physical appearance, feeding, sleep pattern and finally behavior. Now to make it clearer, let’s talk about them one by one.
- Physical Appearance
Do you think that your baby suddenly grew? When you carry them, did they suddenly become heavier? Did their clothes suddenly shrink? Yup, you are not imagining things. It actually is real. These are the sudden physical development of the newborn growth spurt that you thought was just your mind playing tricks on you.
Feeding the most common cue that your baby is experiencing a growth spurt. Like what I have previously mentioned, they will have a very “un-routinely” feeding pattern. They will also become more fussy and hungry during these times.
There is also a difference when it comes to a baby’s growth spurt in formula fed babies and breastfed newborns. For breastfed ones, they will demand more feeding time from you. It can be a total of almost twice the times you usually feed them. For formula fed babies, they tend to become insatiable even after finishing their bottle.
But do not let these sudden changes lead to an overfeeding fiasco. Keep them at their usual feeding amount, and if ever they would want more, make sure that they have a short pause from feeding. You can do so by burping them or changing their soiled diaper.
- Sleep Pattern
The sleep pattern changes of your baby correlate to their increased hunger episodes. They will most probably wake up more often in the wee hours of the night too because they are hungry. Just be patient and attend to their cues and needs.
A hungry plus sleep deprived baby equals a fussy and irritable baby. You will see that they become clingier and would want to be carried more often than usual. I would not blame them. I would get grumpy as well if I am always hungry or if I lack my much-needed sleep.
Once again, they will probably demand additional feeding just to “soothe” their irritability. Don’t give in to it, especially if you know that you have just fed them. You can use other methods of soothing like rocking them to sleep, cuddling them or even putting on their favorite lullabies to help send them to sleep.
Baby Growth Spurt Timeline
We cannot pinpoint exactly the specific timeline as to when you would experience these growth spurts. But what we know for sure is that all these growth spurt episodes will happen within the first year of your baby’s lives. Since each development is unique, your experience with your child’s growth spurt may differ from mine and other moms as well.
But usually, we can safely say that we can all be able to observe these in as so-called “six-month growth spurt” stage. This means that you can, more or less, be able to observe (for the first time) these signs within the first six months of your newborn’s life.
- Growth Spurts – As Told By Me…
The most common times that your baby may experience these signs are during the first two, three, six weeks, three months and finally the sixth month. For me, my daughter had her growth spurt during the first sixth week and the third month of her first year. I also remembered that she had just two days of a growth spurt for the sixth week and around three to four days on her third month.
Each growth spurt experience of hers was different from the other. The first one was purely about fussy and sleepless nights and non-stop feeding demand. I had two completely sleepless nights (and days) when she had her first growth spurt.
Her second episode was less stressful. She maintained her feeding routine, but she was still waking up during late nights wanting to be fed. What I did was I only gave her a minimal amount of milk just enough to satisfy her, but not too much as to overfeed her.
What I noticed on the second growth spurt was that she really grew. When I said really, I mean really grew in length, weight, and size. She suddenly was unable to fit in her onesies overnight and I am not exaggerating on this. I even called my husband so that he can see as well that our baby suddenly grew. When I carried her, I also felt she got heavier. I thought it was just my arms getting too tired at first. But when I asked for my husband to substitute for me, he also felt our baby girl was heavier.
- Timeline Tips
Of course, each and every growth spurt differs from one baby to another. My experience with it can differ from yours and other moms as well. But it is not a bad idea to learn “scientifically” what we can expect during that event and when we can expect them to happen. That is why I have shared a simple yet detailed timeline when growth spurts are “expected” to happen within the first year of your baby’s life.
- First 7-10 days
This is the time when you are most busy because you are just adjusting form becoming a single body to a new mommy. That is why sometimes, moms do not notice that a growth spurt is already present.
If you have noticed that your baby’s feeding schedule suddenly get all jumbled up and they need more feeding than usual, this is your first sign. The second is that your baby’s sleep pattern becomes lesser. This is because of their increased demand for feeding. Finally, to top it all off, your baby gets more irritable and fuzzy. The combination of continuous hunger and lack of sleep makes anyone, including babies more moody and irritable than usual.
- 4th Month
During the fourth month, you may be able to pick up on the feeding, sleep and mood changes of your baby. This time around, although you have the same growth spurt cues, you are able to pinpoint them more accurately. This is because, by this time around, your baby will have had a more stable and constant feeding and sleeping pattern that you can actually follow.
When you feel a “de javu” type of scenario during your baby’s fourth month, then it is a growth spurt cue. You will experience a similar situation to the “chaos” you felt during the first few weeks. Include an increase in height and weight during this time and you get your second dose of growth spurt memory.
- 6th Month to 9th Month
The sixth and ninth month growth spurt would be focusing more on your baby’s sleep and feeding pattern. How you baby suddenly sleeps less during the night and eat more than their usual feeding is you a sign for their third and fourth growth spurt.
Like what happened during the first few weeks, your baby’s sleep and feeding will once again be altered. Fussiness and irritability can also appear because of hunger and lack of sleep. But the difference this time around is that your baby’s weight and length growth will not be affected. In fact, some studies suggest that weight and length during these times actually slow down.
- 12th Month
By the 12th month or during your baby’s end stretch to their first year, you will have your last dose of growth spurt series. But this time around the focus is more on their actual growth in length and weight. This means that their growth hormones (HGH) which are activated during sleep and their feeding are the main “stars” of this final spurt.
Do not be surprised if your baby suddenly weighed three times more than their original weight. They may even outgrow their “used to be” oversized outfits overnight, literally!! This is no joke, this can actually happen and can happen all too frequently. So if you feel that you baby suddenly got heavier when you carry them or their length suddenly peaked up, well it is actually happening.
The Wonder Weeks
There is another way of “observing” whether your child is having a growth spurt. Some studies suggest monitoring a child’s growth episode based on weeks. This is what we call the wonder weeks. In general, the “wonder weeks” timeline shows both the developmental milestones and expected behavior a child will show based on the week they are in. It will also show the activities that they will usually learn to do once you teach them or help them learn on their own. For now, let us focus on the “behavioral cues” that we need to know in order for us to become aware of it.
- First “Leap”: About 5 weeks
Expect you, baby, to have increased crying episodes and will have trouble sleeping more than usual. They will also be clingier and will want more skin-to-skin contact with you.
- Second “Leap”: About 8 weeks
Your baby during this time will want more attention from you and will demand more than usual. This includes being clingy, increased crying, decrease in appetite and more of thumb and finger sucking.
- Third “Leap”: About 12 weeks
Despite still being clingy, your baby will have less fussy and irritable moments. Also during this time, they tend to have more instances with lack of sleep and decreased appetite.
- Fourth “Leap”: About 19 weeks
Their need for attention once again increases during this week. They can also become clingier and would once again cry a lot. In addition, mood swings start to appear and manifest from them.
- Fifth “Leap”: About 26 weeks
Apart from their increased demand for attention, you can expect to have a clingier and crankier baby. They tend to sleep poorly and will now realize that they do not like diaper changes and will fuss around about it.
- Sixth “Leap”: About 37 weeks
Despite the possible clinginess and lack of sleep from your child during this time, they start to become calmer and quieter than usual. They also have sleep issues and seem to not get enough at all.
- Seventh “Leap”: About 46 weeks
Moody is the “keyword” during this time as you baby tends to cling more to you and would not want to let you go at all. They will also sleep poorly during the night. The plus side to this is that they are still quieter and calmer than before.
- Eight “Leap”: About 55 weeks
This time around, your baby shows signs of jealousy and would want to be held by you all the time. They also can be moody due to the lack of sleep and loss of appetite they are experiencing.
- Ninth “Leap”: About 64 weeks
Physical contact is a must during this time because your baby would want more of it from you. They can get moody and would have lack of sleep once again.
- Tenth “Leap”: About 75 weeks
During this time, your baby can now become clingy due to them being jealous. They can also express moody occasions more often than usual. They will also have poor sleep instances as well.
How Long Do Baby Growth Spurts Last
This is probably the first thing that you will think of if you are observing a newborn growth spurt. Basically, these growth spurts are very fast. So fast that sometimes you might not notice it and think of it as just a “not-so-good” day with your baby.
- My Growth Spurt Finish Line Story
I remember when my daughter had her growth spurt, I had two totally sleepless nights with her. I recall that she was really, really, REALLY clingy which is weird because I did not spoil her with too much carrying. Another thing is that she immediately gets hungry and for the whole two days, her feeding was so way off her usual schedule.
These are just some of the experiences I had with my daughter. And according to other moms out there, they also experienced the same thing with their little ones. So better observe for these sudden changes in your baby’s routine so that you will keep a tab on when doing baby growth spurts happen.
- Scientific Growth Spurt Ending
Each growth spurt length differs, depending on your baby. It can last for just one to two days. For others, it can take as long as a week’s time. If you ask other moms, they did not even notice a growth spurt episode at all.
But based on scientific findings and research, the longest growth spurt that a baby can experience is a week. Normally, a baby can experience a growth spurt of two to three days. The good news is that once the growth spurt ends, your baby, and yourself, will once again go back to your usual daily routine.
Finally, all in all, a baby can experience around a total of five growth spurt episodes all within their first years. There is no actual date or time as to when it can happen. All we can expect is that every two to three months, a growth spurt can occur and this is based on studies as well.
Final Thoughts on Baby Growth Spurt
These are all normal and natural changes that your baby will encounter. It is their body’s way of saying “I am growing fast and healthy”. But it does not mean that a baby who does not experience it is not healthy or might be sick. This is why I keep on reiterating that each and every developmental growth of a child is unique and special.
Some babies may experience all of these signs and some with no signs at all. They would just become bigger and heavier without any accompanying signs that you can observe. The best way to know that your baby is on track for their growth is your routine Pediatric checkups. There you will have concrete data that assures you’re that your baby is healthy and growing properly.
The best thing that you can use in gauging your child’s health and development is your gut instinct. Our own “mommy instinct” is always right. If you feel that your baby is as healthy as a horse even though there are no signs that manifest growth spurt, then they probably are. Just trust your “mommy senses” and you can’t go wrong.