4 Signs Your Baby is Going Through a Growth Spurt

File this under things they don’t tell you at the hospital: your newborn will grow like crazy in the first 12 months! In fact, she will grow more during the first year than she will ever grow in her whole life. Michelle Lampl, a doctor and growth researcher at Emory University in Atlanta told Today’s Parent that babies can gain noticeable weight and length in just 24 hours. “Tots can sprout as much as nine millimeters (around ⅜ of an inch) in just one day.” And while growth spurts can happen at any time during that first year, there are some things you can watch for that indicate a spurt is on the horizon. Here are 4 signs your baby is going through a growth spurt.

She’s hungrier than usual

Consider this: a baby usually triples her weight in one year. And during the first 12 months, she can sprout a whopping 10 inches in height. All of that means to compensate for the massive amount of growing, her appetite increases as well. If you feel like suddenly no matter what you do, she’s constantly hungry? This is one of the big signs your baby is going through a growth spurt. And if you’re feeling like you just figured out an adequate feeding schedule only for your baby to want to eat around the clock, you can blame in on the revved up metabolism. If you’re breastfeeding, she may go from nursing eight to 12 times a day to between 12 and 14 times a day during a growth spurt. If your baby drinks formula, she may act hungry after she just finished a bottle. The best thing to do is nurse her whenever she’s hungry or add an extra ounce or two of formula to her bottle. Some moms describe their babies as “inconsolable” unless they were eating. Two things to keep in mind: one, your body will compensate and produce more milk to match your baby’s appetite. And two, if your baby starts spitting up more than usual from formula, it may be a sign that she’s getting too much.

She’s snoozing 24/7

At first glance having a baby that’s snoozing more than usual feels like a godsend. The best thing to do? Take advantage of it! Little ones will experience a shift in their sleeping patterns, which is another sign your baby is going through a growth spurt. Your baby’s brain produces a protein called human growth hormone while she sleeps. And sleep plays a vital role in the production of that hormone. In the day or so before a big growth spurt, don’t be surprised if she sleeps more than usual. It’s best to let her sleep rather than wake her for feedings because she needs the rest. And she’ll get plenty of nutrients at her next feeding.

She’s uber fussy

One of the downsides of your baby growing is that she’s often extra fussy during this time. She may cry when you try to put her down, or seem extra clingy. She may fuss at your breast or cry after her bottle. If it seems as though she’s irritable no matter what you do, it’s another sign your baby is going through a growth spurt. The good news is that this time frame won’t last long and can usually be soothed with extra cuddling and reassurance from mom. And it makes sense that a baby may be fussier during a growth spurt: major growing means muscles and tendons can get stretched, which can be associated with a little bit of pain. She should pass this fussy phase in a few days.

She’s learned something new

While it’s hard to pinpoint a specific growth spurt that led to a new skill, overall development occurs often during that first year as her brain physically enlarges to match the rest of her body. It’s no wonder that this results in her learning to navigate her world better. Some experts believe that a growth spurt is a precursor to a developmental milestone so don’t be shocked if she surprises you with a new trick, like rolling over or crawling.

Typical growth spurts don’t last any longer than a couple of days. Changes in mood, eating and sleeping could also be a sign that she’s getting sick or beginning teething. If you are concerned her symptoms are more than a growth spurt, talk to your doctor.  

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