Baby Growth Spurt Sleeping

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on January 16, 2012

A week or 10 days after your baby is born you may feel that baby has suddenly grown overnight and all the newborn clothes are too small. You may get this feeling again and again at intervals, especially throughout the first year. Well, you are not imagining it. Your baby, like all other babies, does have growth spurts. This lasts for 2-3 days and is the time when they achieve certain growth milestones.

What is interesting to note is that baby's normal schedule gets overturned during these growth spurts. "Do babies sleep a lot during growth spurts?"...

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Typical Baby Growth Spurts
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...ask many worried parents. Yes, baby growth spurts and sleep do go together. See also baby growth chart

Babies also tend to feed more during these growth spurts. If you have been breastfeeding at three hourly intervals, you will find your baby wants to feed more frequently, may be every two hours, or sometimes even hourly. This is called 'cluster feeding', and usually occurs during the evening. They may also wake up at night for another feed. All this long hours of feeding and stocking up on food tires them out, and they tend to sleep more during a growth spurt.

Baby Growth Schedule

The most important job for baby in the first year is to grow bigger. A baby triples her/his body weight in the first 12 months, and this growth happens in short intense spurts, rather than gradually as we tend to think. There are about 5 growth spurts in this first year. While the first one happens 7 to 10 days after birth, the next one will usually be at 3 weeks, and again at 6 to 8 weeks. This will be followed by more growth spurts at 3 months, at 6 months and again at 9 months. Baby growth spurt sleeping and feeding are normal occurrences, and are usually followed by a significant weight gain.

A few babies tend to become a bit cranky and fussy during these growth spurts. They tend to fuss while feeding and may even wake up many times during the night, so you should be happy if yours is going through a sleepy baby growth spurt.

6, 9 Months Infant Growth Schedule

Since the growth spurt is accompanied by more feeding, you may also have to deal with more diaper changes. So keep a stock of diapers handy, and be ready to breastfeed on demand. And if anyone happens to ask you,"Do babies sleep more during growth spurts?" you can confidently reply that they do, and not to worry, it'll last just two days.

Growth spurts in infants are periods during which an infant appears to grow fast, has his/her sleep patterns affected, is fussy, and requires more feeding (breast milk or formula) to fuel the growth. A spurt in growth can occur at any time as each baby carries an individual set of genes, and the phases and pace of growth will be determined by the inherited DNA. Generally, it has been observed that babies tend to have a growth spurt around 3 weeks to 6 weeks, then a 3 month growth spurt, followed by spurts at 4 and 6 months, where the baby shows signs of his/her sleep patterns being disturbed and the mother spends more time breastfeeding the baby. Growth spurts have been noted at 9 months in some infants.

Parents can become aware of growth spurts in infants when the infants are not satisfied with their regular feed and seem to wake up hungry more often or cry often for a feed. This is particularly true of breastfed infants, because the quantity of breast milk does not increase instantly on demand. It may take a couple of days for the breasts to start producing the additional milk that the child needs, and until then, the infant may have to be fed more often. This phenomenon is called cluster feeding, and it is considered to be one of the easily recognizable baby growth spurt signs. Newborns have really tiny stomachs that get filled easily, but breast milk is also easily digested, and hence, newborns are fed more often than older babies. Initial growth spurts may occur in the second or third week after birth when babies regain their birth weight after the initial weight loss in the first week. By that time the baby gets used to suckling and learns to settle into a rhythm of eating and sleeping, and the nutrient rich breast milk adds strength to the process of growth. Along with babies' growth spurts, their capacity to suckle increases, and they consume more milk; their sleep patterns also get affected. This automatically increases the time gap between feeds. Every day, young babies fed on formula consume about 2.5 ounces of milk for every pound of their body weight. This may be spread over eight or ten feeds per day, depending on how much the baby sleeps at night and how frequent the feeds are.

After a 3 month growth spurt, a baby needs to be nursed longer by the mothers as the babies consume more milk at one go and sleep for longer stretches at night, in between feeds. Maintaining a baby sleeping chart will help in drawing the correlation between longer naps and increased quantity of formula or longer nursing time at each feed. Obvious results of the growth spurts can be seen in the change in the measurements of the length of the baby, the circumference of its head, and in the weight gain. When it comes to how long a growth spurt lasts, it must be understood that whether it is a baby's 3 week growth spurt or growth spurt at 3 months or a baby showing 6 month growth spurt signs, the length of a typical growth spurt is just a couple of days or a week at the most. Once the mother and child adjust to the new feeding routine and sleep schedule, life goes on at a smooth pace until it is time for the next growth spurt.

While infants tend to grow dramatically in the first few months of their life, toddlers also gain weight and height steadily between the ages of two and five. Toddler growth spurts symptoms, like those of infants, include sudden increase in appetite, lots of activity, and lots of sleep. Sleep is conducive for the secretion of growth hormones, and toddlers tend to take longer naps when they go through growth spurts. Forcibly waking a baby from an afternoon nap so that the baby can sleep soundly at night can make the child cranky as it is not getting enough rest. Just like an infant sleep schedule chart, one can be maintained for a toddler too, particularly when the child appears restless and irritable. Growth and sleep in infants are closely connected. The relations between growth spurts and sleeping can be noticed in the chart when weight and height of the toddler over a 2 or 4 week period are compared and matched to sleeping patterns.

A growth chart allows parents to compare the development of their child with that of other children of the same age in the population to ensure that their child is doing well. Milestones reached in terms of activity like sitting up, standing while holding on to support, walking, and talking as well as gains in height and weight can be compared to that of other children, allowing parents to be reassured about their child's progress. It is also common for babies to have growth spurts more often in spring than during other seasons.

Diet is another important factor in the growth of infants and toddlers. Infants on breast milk or formula need to be fed cereals or baby food after 6 months to supplement their feed. Iron fortified baby cereal is recommended for growing babies. An important sign of growth spurt is when the baby appears dissatisfied even it is fed the correct amount of formula based on its weight and age. Some infants may need to be weaned on solid food earlier than 6 months to fuel their growth.

Similarly, toddlers who are growing need to be introduced to a wide variety of food including fruits and vegetables to get them into the habit of eating balanced meals. Care should be taken to ensure that the carbohydrate in their diet comes from healthy sources like whole grain breads and cereals, fruits, and vegetables and not from sugar and refined flour. This is because whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are packed with other nutrients like minerals and vitamins. Fiber in these foods is filling, preventing over eating. Growth spurts in toddlers may make them hungry in between meals, and it is best to give them nuts and fruits to snack on during this time, rather than giving sugary candies and fizzy soft drinks. Colas, candies, and chips may be easily available, but it must be remembered that they supply no nutrients. In fact, avoiding obesity starts with healthy diets for toddlers undergoing growth spurts.

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