When you have a baby, as much as you want to keep your little bundle small and cute forever, the truth is they are going to grow up quicker than you thought possible.
Although babies seem like they are always growing, there are periods where they really grow quickly and we call these growth spurts. Your baby will put on weight, grow in length and their head circumference will increase. Growth spurts often coincide with mental and developmental improvements. They may pick up new skills such as find smiling, rolling, crawling or walking!
When do babies have growth spurts?
Babies are constantly growing and developing and growth spurts can happen at any time and of course, every baby is different. Some experts suggest growth spurts will occur around:
As each child's growth patterns vary, do not worry if you do not notice your baby having growth spurts at these stages. Boys tend to be a little heavier and taller, and their growth pattern is slightly different to girls. Some children may have more or fewer spurts than the suggested points. If you do think your child is going through a growth spurt, check out the signs to look out for (see below).
It is not necessary for you to weigh your baby regularly or worry about their growth. The NHS recommends "After the first two weeks, your baby should be weighed:
- no more than once a month up to six months of age
- no more than once every two months from 6-12 months of age
- no more than once every three months over the age of one".
Your baby's weight and progression will be checked by health professionals throughout their early years. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and UK-WHO release growth charts that you can use as a rough guideline.
Baby growth charts:
Are baby growth spurts painful?
There is no evidence to suggest baby growth spurts cause your little one any pain. Sometimes your baby might seem unsettled or more grumpy than usual but this is completely normal. Growth spurts can make your baby seem out of sorts or irritable but they do not cause fever, extreme irritability or listlessness. If your baby does exhibit more extreme symptoms or they seem to continue for more than a few days to a week then it is a good idea to get the baby checked at the doctor or by a health visitor.
Other explanations for increased appetite, sleep changes and bad moods can be minor illnesses, teething or changes to their routine.
Baby growth spurt signs and how to deal with them:
This one is pretty obvious as if your baby is growing, they will be increasing in weight. Their weight is likely to be more noticable than the actual growth changes as they may just start to feel a little heavier when you pick them up or hold them. You don't need to worry about weighing them too often, once every couple of months is perfect for a baby over six months.
1) Weight gain
You may notice your baby is more tired and sleeps more frequently or for longer during a growth spurt. All this growing is tiring work and when your baby sleeps they produce more of the protein human growth hormone (HGH).
2) Sleeping more
Yep, they might sleep more or they might sleep less! It depends on the individual baby but they may be more likely to wake at night or nap less during the day. It is difficult to maintain routine during your baby's early life when they are going through several developmental changes so don't worry too much!
3) Sleeping less
You might find your baby is a bit more clingy than usual. The best thing to do is to cuddle them and soothe them until they feel more comfortable on their own. Often during growth spurts, the baby goes through development and it can be the start of new skills like crawling or walking.
The most commonly noticed symptom of a growth spurt is your baby feeding more. If you are breastfeeding, feed the baby whenever they are hungry even it seems like a lot more. If you are using formula, just add in an extra bottle. This increase in appetite usually only lasts throughout the period of the growth spurt.
5) Appetite increase
Sleep routines are not the only thing affected by growth spurt. Increases in appetite might mean your baby wants to feed at different times. Try and rest when your baby rests and don't be too preocupied about maintaining a routine as it is just important your baby is supported throughout the growth spurt.
6) Changes in feeding routine
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