Surviving the growth spurts of a breastfed Baby

Within the first year of their life is when babies grow the most.

All babies will go through growth spurts instead of it being slow and steady through the year.

This will include a few days to a week of never-ending feeds, rapid growth and crankiness (for both mom and baby).

Don’t worry too much, growth spurts are just a quick phase and they won’t last forever.

Although, it might feel like they’re going to last for a life time.

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Recognizing growth spurts

If you find yourself scratching your head and wondering where your little angel went, they might be going through a growth spurt.

They are a complete normal part of your baby’s development, although a new and inexperienced mother might think they have the fussiest baby on the planet!

Related: Do I have low milk supply?

The signs of a growth spurt include:

• Sleeping more throughout the day

• Unsatisfied after a feed

• Night waking (if they had been sleeping through the night)

• Increased fussiness

Once you’ve recognized that your baby is going through a growth spurt, there are a couple of things that you can do to help your body make more milk, such as;

• Eating lots of good fats

• Eat lactation cookies

• Stay hydrated

• Take a fenugreek supplement

• Eat oatmeal

• Drink mother’s milk tea

Related: How to Increase Breast Milk Supply in 48 hours

The best way to get through growth spurts

It can be one of the most challenging things if you’re nursing through a growth spurt, but the best thing you can do is let your baby lead the way.

Let them sleep whenever they want and feed on demand. There isn’t a certain amount of time your baby should be sleeping, so just let them do what they would like. Don’t even worry if your baby was on a schedule.

When I had my first baby, I was so adamant that not one thing could be out of place because of their routine.

I didn’t want anything to go wrong at all, especially if it would alter their sleeping and nursing pattern.

I began to learn that actually, during a growth spurt, everything about routine was thrown at the window and completely pointless.

So, as soon as all 5 of my babies had finished with each growth spurt, they fell back into routine and schedule pretty quickly.

It is more essential for you baby to eat as much as they want and sleep as much as they want during this growth spurt than worrying about anything else.

Allowing them to do this will help them grown and minimize any cranky behavior.

Related: Can You Overfeed a breastfed baby?

Massaging through growth spurts

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were the one getting the massage as your baby goes through a growth spurt?

Unfortunately, is isn’t. Although, if you’re extra nice to your partner, they might do one for you too!

To settle your baby, you can introduce infant massage. If you do this regularly, your baby will become more relaxed, encourage better sleep and help with digestion.

Not only that, but a baby massage releases endorphins which gives your little one a natural pain killer. This is helpful towards any growing pains.

Doing this is also a nice thing for you both to bond over.  Plus, your body was designed for this!

Related: Hands Down The Best Online Breastfeeding Class Ever

Related: 10 ways to relieve clogged milk ducts FAST!

Supply and demand

The more your baby breastfeeds (which they definitely will be doing during a growth spurt) the more milk your body will supply.

As soon as the baby has finished nursing, it sends signals around your body to let it know that you need more milk. Your body responds in an amazing way!

Common timing for growth spurts

1-3 weeks, 6-8 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 9 months are the most common times for growth spurts.

Although, not every baby is the exact same on the calendar for growth spurts, but of course, if that was the case, motherhood would be way too easy!

It is completely normal for your baby to experience a growth spurt either a week before or a week after the common timing window.

If your baby was born early, there will be many times in which they experience growth spurts later on.

Related: Best Bassinet for Breastfeeding

Milk supply concerns

You might begin to feel as if you don’t have enough milk when you baby is going through a growth spurt, especially when it feels like they are constantly feeding.

Your baby will be frustrated, fussy and wanting to nurse more than usual.

This is usually seen by moms as them not producing enough milk, but this isn’t the case at all, so don’t think about supplementing with formula – it isn’t needed!

It also isn’t necessary to pull out your stored bags of milk either because you’d need to keep your baby on the breast so they can increase the supply naturally.

Settle in for a few days

Even though baby growth spurts last for a short period of time, you might want to just take a couple of days to settle in with your baby, watch your favorite films and get some projects done that you’ve been keeping off.

Related: There is Blood In my Breastmilk. Should I be worried?

How else to survive a growth spurt?

• Be confident with your body. Your milk won’t be drying up, your baby won’t be starving, they are simply growing, and growing means hungry.

• Stock up on snacks! Baby won’t be the only one who’s hungry.

• Rest when you can, it’s exhausting for you to go through a growth spurt. Try and have someone there who can do the other baby duties like nappy changes.

• Plan your feeding stops if you’re going out, you will probably need a few.

• Drink LOADS of water

Don’t give up on breastfeeding just because of a growth spurt. Power through it!

You need to remember how much changes for your baby (and you) within the first year of their life. A lot of growing is involved, so no wonder they need to eat more sometimes.

Related: How to Increase Breastmilk in a ‘Slacker Boob’.

How long do baby growth spurts last?

They don’t last long at all, usually between 24 and 48 hours. Although, there are times when they might last as long as a week to run their course.

Remember to increase your water intake and breastfeed on demand when your baby is going through a growth spurt. This will allow for your breasts to produce enough milk.

Once your baby has been through their growth spurt, your baby will most likely sleep for a couple of days and your breasts will feel fuller for a day or two and your baby will have more wet diapers than normal, but they will calm down on the breast.

Related: Moms Ultimate Guide: Foods To Avoid while Breastfeeding

How do I handle it for that long?

This is definitely the hardest part of breastfeeding, and maybe even one of the hardest parts of being a new mom. You’ll end up over worrying and that’s when your self-doubt will begin to creep in.

Stay calm, trust your body and don’t let it get to you! If you do, then you’ll notice an decline in mood completely.

If you’re relaxing and nursing often, this is probably the best way to handle your baby’s growing spurt, especially if you’re offering your breast often and drinking lots of fluids.

By your nursing chair, keep some of your favorite snacks by the side for when it seems like your bottom is stuck to it. We all have those days, don’t worry!

Listen to your baby’s cues because they will tell you when they need to nurse and you’ll be able to tell by the amount of weight they are gaining and number of wet diapers if they’re getting the nourishment they need.

This time passes by so quickly that it isn’t worth getting or remaining stressed over it. Even though it’s hard, use some distraction techniques when you have that time.

Remember that baby’s grow, a lot and the growth spurts can be brutal. It is a nice feeling once it’s over and you realize that your baby has grown in height and weight in just a matter of days. The not so nice part is the fact you’d of just spent a good couple of days with a cranky baby.

Look on the bright side, it’s a good thing that your baby is growing, even though It’s a pain for you at the time. Also, once the growth spurt is over, you could expect a long stretch of sleep for your baby. So, it’s always worth what you have endured beforehand.

It sounds a bit strange but enjoy it. Your baby will be clingy and they don’t spend forever cuddling into you the way they do when they’re going through that spurt. Your body would probably be in agony if it grew at the same pace as a baby’s does.

It won’t last forever, and you will soon have your old angel baby back who seemed to never do any wrong. The time will come, it’s all just a case of patience and following the inconsistency that comes along with a growth spurt.

https://www.iow.nhs.uk/

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