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Babies grow very fast but this growth does not happen at a steady pace. Usually, babies go through a resting phase where they grow a little and then go through a rapid phase of growth, which is known as a Growth Spurt.
The growth spurt can be recognized by a sudden change in behaviour. The babies also put on weight during a growth spurt. They also grow in length and the circumference of the head also increases.
Another sign of the arrival of growth spurt is that the baby seems more hungry than usual. If your baby is breastfed, it may seem like he takes forever to feed. If your baby is formula fed, he may go longer without a feed than a breastfed baby, but may still ask for more feeds.
Some babies go through a phase of irritability and clinginess. He may be fussier and want to be held for long periods.
Babies may also have trouble sleeping and may be uncomfortable. On the other hand, there are babies who do not show any signs of growth spurts but you will suddenly realize that they have grown when they outgrow their clothes or when they hit a new milestone.
So, read on to know more about growth spurts in babies.
When Should You Expect Growth Spurts & How Long Is Their Duration?
There is no exact time that you can pin-point for growth spurts, as each baby has his own time of growing up. But the growth spurts can be expected during the following ages:
Not all children go through growth spurts during these periods but may have their growth spurts around this time.
What Are The Major Changes That One Can See During Growth Spurts?
Eating:You can expect a change in the baby's usual feeding habits. A baby is usually hungrier during a growth spurt because the baby needs more calories and energy to direct towards growing. You may see that both a breastfed baby and a formula fed baby do not seem to be very satisfied after a feed. They may want more even after the usual amount of food has been consumed.
Sleep Patterns:Most babies tend to be sleepier when they are just about to enter a growth spurt phase or are going through a growth spurt. It is said that babies grow when they are asleep. This is scientifically true. A growth hormone is produced in the brain during sleep that helps the babies grow. Babies may also sleep, so as to conserve the energy for all the growing to be done.
Behavioural Changes:Babies tend to be very fussy during a growth spurt. They become clingy and want to be held all the time. They will cry when put down and be irritable and uneasy during the growth spurt phase.
This may be because of all the energy that is devoted to growing up and the baby might feel tired by it. All the changes in the baby's body may overwhelm him too, causing behavioural changes.
How To Cope With A Growth Spurt?
As parents, growth spurts of babies can be a harrowing time to face. Just follow your instincts and keep your eyes open to what the baby needs. If the baby wants more sleep, let him sleep. Try to make his sleep as comfortable as possible.
Let him nurse longer if he is breastfed or make him an extra bottle of formula food if he is formula fed. Take care of yourself too.
As a mother, you must see to it that you have enough energy to meet the needs of your baby. Make sure that you don't confuse illnesses with a growth spurt. Presence of fever is an indicator of an illness. Be in tune with your instincts and contact your child specialist when in doubt.