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Know more about growth spurt

The first few years of your baby’s life are vital. Parents are always on the lookout for signs that may hinder growth or what’s to be expected as they grow. One thing that has gotten a lot of confusion is – growth spurts. Read on to know more about growth spurt.

What is a growth spurt?

A growth spurt is a period in time, multiple times as the child grows, where the child grows faster on average than in other periods of the child’s life.

What are the signs of a growth spurt?

Signs of a growth spurt typically include:

  • Increased appetite. Unlimited hunger, wanting to feed around the clock—whether they’re latching onto the breast at every opportunity or feeling dissatisfied even after a full bottle. Increased appetite. A child’s nutritional needs increase before and during periods of rapid growth.
  • Sudden bone and muscle growth. You’ll notice that the baby has suddenly gotten stronger or that they’ve grown more “boney” to feel.
  • Restlessness. Unable to sleep and irritable. The baby was, perhaps, a great sleeper but has suddenly become constantly restless and awake throughout the night and constantly hungry. 
  • Baby fat. There is an increase in the amount of fat stored in the body. Baby seems to have suddenly gotten bigger and are storing more fat in the body now than they used to.

What age do babies have growth spurts?

While every baby is different, there’s a recognized growth spurt timeline that newborns tend to follow, says California-based pediatrician and AAP spokeswoman Lisa M. Asta, MD. “The first spurt occurs around 7 to 10 days after birth, right around the time a breastfeeding mom’s milk supply is established and most babies are finally starting to put on weight,” she says. “The second happens between 3 and 6 weeks.” After that, the baby might experience more spurts at 3, 6 and 9 months of age. Do know that babies don’t read calendars, so your baby may do things differently.

Know more about growth spurt - baby smiling at camera

How to Handle Growth Spurt Symptoms

So you’ve recognized the signs of a baby growth spurt. Now what? Experts recommend resisting the urge to greet every sob fest with a meal: Asta says parents can be more liberal with feedings during the day (baby’s busy little body needs the extra fuel) but should hold off on an extra middle-of-the-night meal. Growth spurts can negatively affect babies’ sleep, and they need all the rest they can get.

Soothing with food can also lead to overfeeding. Before you brandish a bottle or breast, look for basic hunger cues, like rooting around for the breast or bottle, and respond accordingly, says Ian M. Paul, MD, head of general pediatrics at Penn State Children’s Hospital. “When babies turn their heads away from the breast or bottle, it means they’re done, yet some parents continue to try to get them to finish the bottle,” he says. “That’s not great behavior.”

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As every child is different and has their own and unique “growth chart” it’s still always best to be aware of what’s going on with them and what parents can do to assist in ensuring that they are growing healthily.

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