How many growth spurts will my baby have?
During the first year, your baby’s body weight will triple and he will have grown 8 to 10 inches. (1, 2) All this growth happens in short bursts, lasting two or three days.
Your baby will have five of these growth spurts by the time he turns 1 year old, usually between one and three weeks and six and eight weeks, then at three months, six months and nine months. (1)
One doctor has reported seeing babies gain one to three ounces and grow almost a centimeter in 24 hours. (2)
What are the signs of a growth spurt?
You will begin to notice the following signs that usually indicate a growth spurt is coming:
1) Increased feeding
Whether your baby is breast fed or formula fed, your baby will want to feed more often. Some breastfed infants have been known to nurse 15 or 16 times a day. (2)
2) More waking at night
Your baby may wake up more during the night to feed, or wake up earlier from a nap.
3) Extra Sleepiness
After all this extra feeding, your baby may sleep longer and more soundly than usual. Research has shown that the body releases 80% of growth hormones during sleep.(2)
“Growth spurts in length tended to follow increased sleeping and nap time. Growth spurts usually occurred within two days of the increased sleep…”, and a May 2011 study reported that “the chances of a growth spurt increased by a median of 43% for each nap and…increased by 20% for each additional hour of sleep….”(3)
How to cope with growth spurts
1) Some women may take the increased feedings as a sign that their babies aren’t getting enough milk and decide to stop breastfeeding. Actually, babies demand more food because they just need more, more often.
Both breastfed and formula-fed babies need calories to grow. So feed your baby as much and as often as he/she demands.
2) Forcing a baby to stay awake or adhere to her normal sleep schedule during this time will only make her cranky. (2) On average a baby will sleep 4.5 hours more over the course of the day during a growth spurt.