A growth spurt is a babies way of increasing your milk supply and changing it’s nutritional value. They can come at any time but are generally they happen between 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months. All babies are different so here is what to look out for:
- Your baby may seem hungrier than usual
- Feeds might take longer
- Feed requests might be more frequent
- Your baby may nap or sleep longer than usual
- Your baby might be clingier than usual
Growth spurts do not mean that your milk is running out! This is one of my big subjects to rant about – the baby food industry cash in on mums who are worried that their babies are hungrier than they can supply milk for. Just keep breastfeeding because topping up with formula or introducing solids can cause problems with the breastfeeding relationship. Babies have no other way to change your milk than to feed a lot.
Remember you can always ask for help if you are worried about your baby and there are some fantastic online resources:
www.kellymom.com on growth spurts
www.kellymom.com if you are worried about milk supply
www.llli.org the LLL faq about growth spurts
Here are some tips from the lovely mums on the Lactivist Facebook Page, if you have any others please add them!
- Be patient, sure its tiring but they are growing and thats great! It doesnt last more than a few weeks and before you know it they are back to normal
- The thing that helped me the most was seeing the chart that details the weeks most likely to have developmental & growth spurts – bad weeks marked by thunder clouds and settled weeks marked by suns! Made me realise it does all fall into a broadly identifiable series of phases… Each one does pass…
- Remember babies can’t read the calendar and may start spurts earlier or later than the “lable” given to them.
- What helped was talking to other mums, Breastfeeding cafe’s, online forums etc. For me generally the worse of the spurt would be the first three days whilst my body catches up, having lots of snacks, drinks to hand and a good stock of tele to watch and a good forum to chat on helps. Having friends with babies help who I can go and visit and not have to worry if baby feeds the whole time cause they understand too.
- I think the most imporatnt thing to know is that they are normal, and the easiest way to get through them is to follow the baby’s cues. The baby will direct what they need and fighting against it will make everyone miserable, but going with it and following their lead will be the best way through it to the other side.
- For me it helped to know when to roughly expect them and that it doesn’t mean you don’t have enough milk or that your milk isn’t enough for them anymore, just that your baby wants to make more as it can be a confusing time when people worry about their supply and might give up or supplement.
- To trust your baby knows how much they need, that it is normal. That your baby won’t just want to be feeding all the time but may also be unsettled, more tired, cry more, be grumpy, until they get more of that milk! And to prepare for it and enjoy it as time to chill out with your baby and read/knit/do anything you like to do as soon you won’t get so much of all that lovely time to rest and do something for yourself. Good excuse to be lazy and looked after.
- And you need to eat and drink more, I lose a few more pounds during each growth spurt so love them!
- You do not need to top up with formula x
- Have support from other moms who have either been there or are currently nursing.
- Stay positive and patient.
- Some signs of a good supply are lots of wet nappies, weight gain, etc so youcan be confident that it’s not low supply.
- Milk booster tips are choosing oaty snacks or drinking fennel tea - may see a slight increase the next day
- Sleep when you can,
- Have lots of snacks and quick cook food to hand,
- Get in lots of DVDs!
- You could be lucky and have a baby who goes through one day growth spurts or ones that last weeks! X
- That they don’t last forever. and its normal during a growth spurt to have baby on your boob all day and night!
- Babies eat and sleep more when going through a growth spurt.
- The 4 month growth spurt is big and baby doesn’t need extra food, mummy milk is just fine!
- Just like a flower needs sun and water BEFOR it grows, your baby will feed and feed and feed for no obvious reason dont fret, you are producing enough, within 2 weeks your see they have bloomed and grown loads.
- Growth spurts don’t come at specified intervals, so just go with the flow (pun not intended) and let the baby at the breast as long as he/she wants… your supply will catch up- it’s another beautiful thing about BF, your body knows what to do!
- The length of each growth spurt extends as baby gets older, so each one lasts a bit longer than the previous, as I kept think this can’t be another groth spurt its too long!
- We had cluster feeding from 6pm-11pm for 1-2 weeks at a time and every hour feeding round the clock! Just relaxing and telling myself it was normal helped me along with the hubby realising it was non negotiable and he had to help out more!
- The knowledge that my baby is going through major neurological development and that it’s just as difficult for him like it is for me. Plus that when it’s over, he will have new skills or perceive the world differently. Fascinating!
- What helped me was a bottle of water / snacks always at the side of where I nursed in case I got stuck there for a while, and having meals ready prepared!
- Sit back with some dvds or the tv remote and relax! They last for as long as they last – just nurse nurse nurse and use the excuse for a rest ))
- I found Kellymom to be my saviour. Huzzah for her. Bec*
- I remeber DS feeding what felt like constantly for his first 4 months. I think the key with growth spurts is to just feed as often as baby wants to and try not to worry about myths like ‘I’m not making enough milk’, it’s all supply and demand.
- Don’t be tempted to top up with formula
- Ignore all those that tell you baby MUST need PROPER food as it’s obviously not satisfied *rolls eyes*
- I’ve always been told “if in doubt, get your boob out” and its worked for me. Especially 2 o clock in the morn where we have tried every possible thing, he has just finished a feed, is clean, warm etc offered him the boob again and he took some more! A week later he grew out of one clothes size and into the next.
- Trust your baby to let you know what they need : )
- They happened and i didn’t really notice until after when i thought phew that was a tiring few days! lots of feeding and sleeping so more excuse for feet up
- They are Normal, Nessecary, Not gonna last forever!
- My daughter seemed to have a growth spurt from birth – 5 months I would of liked to have been told that some babies just need to feed a lot she took a long time to gain weight then at 5 months she gained 3 lbs in 2 weeks and I now get a break I’m pleased I kept it up but there were times when I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel
- If u go with it and feed feed feed your milk supply catches up much quicker so the whole thing will not last as long Mums that still try to stretch their babies to ‘every 3 hours’ during a growth spurt means they will be just extending the period of time the baby is unsettled! I tried it with my twins Learnt very quickly not to and go with the flow a bit more
- The baby is feeding so frequently for so long in order to increase your supply, NOT because you don’t have enough milk! Growth spurs seem to be times when mamas stop breastfeeding, either because it’s too tiring or because they are convinced they don’t have enough milk, or both.
- Often once baby has increased the duration or amount of feeds- they dont let you supply decrease, they simply adjust the duration of their future feeds, or your milk will flow in vast quanities.. Guess what im trying to say is – Dont expect that the feeds will decrease after a growt spurt.
- Expect cluster feeding/fussy time in the evening. We had fussy time from 5-8pm every evening I could set my clock by it!
- What you can express is NOT an indication of milk supply!!!!!! This is such a common mistake: “I can only express 1oz if I’m lucky therefore I don’t have enough milk” is such a commom myth. Baby is the best at getting milk out if you can’t express successfully
- When your sitting watching the telly, offer baby snuggles and the breast, often comfort feeding in their sleep is a great way of increasing feeds during a growth spurt… Or indeed any other time, remember your baby is constantly developing.
- Trust your body. It’s normal for your baby to be more unsettled during a growth spurt. Don’t give into temptation to give formula to ‘satisfy’ them. It will only hinder your breastfeeding relationship. *You* are everything your baby needs.
- I would say that growth spurts can happen at any time. If your baby suddenly wants feeding a lot more often, it’s probably a growth spurt and don’t panic, your boobs will catch up to their demands if you just keep feeding them – it might seem like you don’t have enough milk but don’t be fooled, it’s a booby trap, you DO!
- Learning to enjoy it really helped me get through them! When we have growth spurts my tiny person is up all night feeding, the first few times was really really hard but now I enjoy it! It’s special quiet time for just me and my little boy when the rest of the world is fast asleep and nothing else matters. Seeing him staring lovingly into my eyes for feeding him at stupid o clock makes everything worth it
- Trust your baby AND your body, when breastfeeding they work together like a miraculous well oiled machine and every feed is for a reason. Our longest so far has been 3 weeks though I barely noticed until it was over, letting baby and body take over works for me and seeing him thriving from mummas milk only makes me so proud and shows me just how important letting him lead the way is
- That it is okay to feel overwhelmed during a spurt, and that everyone else does too! That they happen at all, as no-one mentioned them when my ds was born and I did the ftm freak about not enough milk! That everyone thinks the same about that too, even 2nd time round!!
- The 4 month one is NOT a cue for food….a spurting baby needs full fat milk not steamed carrots to fill them up xx
- It won’t last forever! With my first daughter I got really depressed and wanted to give up. Second time round you know it gets better so I’m just trying to enjoy it more!
- That your baby needs you to sit on your bum, relax, look into their eyes & enjoy been fed on demand. That it won’t last forever and before you know it they’ll be running around doing somersaults, with your nipple in their mouth still! Your meant to be a Mom, not a robot cleaning woman making ta for strangers. Feed feed feed & enjoy it!
- I think any info on growth spurts helpful as I didn’t know about them at all from our ante natal classes, that it’s normal for them to feed more and especially at night due to prolactin which stimulates milk supply being highest then so it’s best way of upping supply to meet the demands of a growing child.
- It’s temporary, it’s necessary, it’s healthy. Ride it out.
- It can feel like you are feeding non stop, go with the flow and spend some quality time and lie down in bed to feed/ try different positions and enjoy that bonding time as they need their mummy.
- Don’t take too much on yourself and commit to a load of things you’ll feel bad about not getting out of.