Does your baby want to eat continuously for 24 hours? 48h? This is surely the sign of a growth spike! Don’t panic, we’ll explain how to hold out during these difficult times which are a prerequisite for baby’s development …
The growth of the baby, then the child, is characterized by weight, height, head circumference and body mass index (BMI). These elements change over time and each child has their own pace . The newborn is on average 50 cm, weighs 3.300 kg and has a head circumference of 35 cm. During the first months of his life, growth is very rapid and tends to slow down around 2 years, to increase from 4 years until the onset of puberty.
What is a growth spike?
From birth to 1 year, the infant will go through several growth peaks, kinds of indicators of its good development.
Spurts or spikes in growth can result in a constant demand to breastfeedfrom the child, whether breastfed or bottle-fed. They usually last 24 to 48 hours but can last for several days. The infant then often asks for his mother’s breast, even if his weight is within the norms. He shows a surprising need for sucking and cuddling. This period is also called “peak days” . The baby requires special attention and frequently desires to be reassured by his parents. Don’t panic, after these busy days, baby will start to have a more usual number of feeds.
The growth peak is generally a moment of regression of the baby, which then gives way to a period of acquisition.
In fact, in the days following these outbreaks, the baby develops his motor and intellectual capacities . In short, he makes huge progress: the appearance of a smile, he begins to turn around, grab things, etc.
When do the growth peaks take place?
Growth spikes are numerous and unique to each child, but fortunately some are not even noticeable. Most of these begin at the end of the infant’s first week. The first growth spurts usually appear between the 7th and 10th day of a baby’s life. Then, they occur at 3 weeks and 6 weeks , at 3 months , 6 months and 12 months. Some babies may also have growth spurts at 9 weeks and 9 months . Note also that they can take place a little before or a little after, nothing is fixed. Many parents talk about growth peak at 3 weeks , because at this point the baby can really ask for the breast all the time. You have to be patient to manage the various peak days of baby and manage to accompany him during these complicated periods.
While some peaks go completely unnoticed, others will demand stamina.
Signs of peak growth
- Your baby has more of an appetite . He asks for more milk at any time of the night or day. His sleep is choppy since he never seems to have enough to drink.
Which is not always easy to manage, especially when you are exclusively breastfeeding. Do not be demotivated by these complicated times, it is only temporary! Even though babies have an insatiable appetite, they do not necessarily gain weight during these growth peaks.
- His eating routine is disrupted
During a growth spurt, breastfed infants are in much more demand than usual and may call for a feed every hour, day or night. Don’t worry, baby doesn’t miss a thing! He just needs your presence to appease him. During the growth spurts of the first few weeks of life, baby may have colic, which is why he may cry bitterly and ask for more tenderness. When it comes to how much milk baby seems to need, know for breastfeeding moms that lactation is designed to suit your little one’s needs. In order to satisfy the baby’s appetite, do not hesitate to alternate the breasts. Stimulation of the breasts by the child increases the amount of breast milk produced.
The growth spurt simply shows a period of transition that will allow the mother to adapt her milk production to the growth of the baby. A baby fed formula will also be more demanding. This one is growing, and will need more milk. It is therefore normal that he asks for more bottles.
- Growing up is exhausting
During periods of growth, your child may become more invasive. He doesn’t want to leave your arms , he cries every time you put him in his crib. He may become more grumpy than usual. Or he’ll want to sleep all afternoon, like a little groundhog. Each baby has their own way of dealing with growth spurts. One trick that could change your life during these difficult times is to use a baby sling or baby carrier. Thus held against the warm and comforting chest of mom or dad, the infant will have a closeness allowing him to sleep soundly.
When your child is sleeping, their brain makes a protein called growth hormone (hGH). So it’s only natural that he needs more sleep during a growth spurt. Take the opportunity to rest also when your little one is taking a nap !
- Have confidence in your baby and in yourself!
Throughout your child’s life, you will need to be patient. The best attitude to adopt is to listen to your child to best meet his needs.
Regarding breastfeeding: breastfeed on demand, day and night if possible. This will allow you to increase your milk production and thus meet its new nutritional needs quickly. As your breastfeeding frequency increases, your lactation will increase. These periods can be very tiring for your baby and for you, you will have the impression not to produce enough milk, the feeling of having empty breasts especially at the end of the day … But do not let go. Everything will be in order very quickly. It is also important to give your baby plenty of hugs to soothe and reassure him. Placing your baby against your bare skin is also recommended to calm him down.
Peaks of growth: tips for living this period well
HY-DRA-TEZ YOU. Drinking a lot will help you feel less tired and also increase milk supply. You can also try breastfeeding herbal teas, prefer organic products .
It is also recommended to eat a variety of fresh foods, including foods rich in calcium and phosphorus, to promote the flow of milk for breastfeeding mothers.
E-COU-TEZ baby and if he needs it, increase the number of feedings or the dose of the bottles, let him sleep if it is necessary for him. Trust him and trust yourself .
DE-TEN-DEZ YOU. Dedicate a few days to being with your child to foster a relaxing environment. These periods will be just as difficult for baby as for you, take the opportunity to fill up with hugs, skin to skin . While many mothers are anxious during these growth spikes, stress can negatively impact breast milk production. We must therefore take care to relax and let go to live these moments as serenely as possible.
PRE-VO-YEZ. Baby is growing up, he needs you, he also needs to feel good and this also involves details which may seem trivial but which are nevertheless essential. Watch that he is always comfortable in his clothes, his shoes but also (and especially) his layers. A baby that is too tight will be cranky and sleep less well. So opt for diapers like Lotus Baby diapers (link) which, by their safe and certified composition, will not irritate your little one’s skin. Check regularly that the size is the right one by sliding two fingers between the diaper and the stomach of your little one. Your fingers do not pass anymore? It’s about time to move up to the next size diaper!
Do not hesitate to ask your darling, grandparents or neighbors for help in order to relieve you of certain burdens to devote yourself fully to your baby and his needs.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your doctor or a lactation consultant.
Moms testimonials on growth peaks
We asked you on Facebook if you have experienced this phenomenon with your babies. Testimonials.
“I remember my daughter had over 20 feedings during the day. 5 at night while she was sleeping normally for two / three days. I was happy to go back to the normal ‘schedule’. ‘is less seen for my son on the other hand “, Liine Khha Lly.
“Peak growth for 15 days. It’s long and exhausting.”, Elodie Elo.
“It is a subject hardly ever addressed by professionals in maternity and which often leaves mothers destitute. One of the main reasons for abandoning breastfeeding …” , Julie Durin.