Do any of these situations sound familiar?
Your new baby is 14 days old and you’ve finally got some sort of feeding routine in place. But then out of the blue they start fussing to be fed every hour.
Your six-week-old baby seemingly outgrows her brand-new sleepsuit overnight.
Your three-month-old baby who’s usually full of smiles is much grumpier than usual, and never seems satisfied even when they’ve just been fed.
Your six-month-old baby who has been gloriously sleeping through the night (well, almost) begins waking every few hours wanting milk.
If these situations do sound familiar, don’t worry. You’re not doing anything wrong. Your baby hasn’t regressed. They’re just likely going through a growth spurt. (And if these situations don’t sound familiar, don’t worry either. All babies are different and will do things at their own pace.)
Short bursts of growth
Like the Terrible Twos, baby growth spurts are something that all new parents have heard of, but when you’re in the middle of them they can be quite tricky to spot – and feel quite worrying, too. Rest assured, though, they are completely normal.
According to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the specialised agency responsible for international public health, an average baby will triple in weight, and grow between eight to 10 inches, during the first 12 months of their life.1 These impressive gains tend to happen in short bursts, known as growth spurts. (Which is why you’re not imagining it when your baby seemingly outgrows their new baby grow in a matter of days. They really have.)
“I bought my three-month-old baby a brand new, super-cute sleepsuit, with room to spare – or so I thought,” says Sarah, mum to Angus, 1. “Just a few days later it didn’t fit him. He was really fussy and hungry around the same time, so looking back it was definitely a baby growth spurt, but back then I thought I was losing my mind. How could it fit one day and not the next?”
Behaviour to look out for
Although it’s not an exact science, and no two little ones are the same, baby growth spurts tend to happen around the two week, three week, six week, three month and six month marks.2 At these times, babies can seem fussier, hungrier and grumpier, and their sleep patterns can be interrupted.
“By six months, I thought we’d crack it. My happy, smiley little one was eating at regular times and sleeping for fairly long stretches during the night. Then all of a sudden everything changed,” says Jodie, mum to Abigail, 2. “She was crying constantly for food and attention and was barely sleeping at all. I was so worried because I thought I’d done something wrong and that she was regressing. But it was just a normal baby growth spurt.”
Top tips for coping with baby growth spurts
The best thing to do during these spurts is give your baby exactly what they want. Let them feed as often and as much as they like, give them as many nap opportunities as you can, and if they are fussy and want more of your attention, don’t hesitate to offer them lots of cuddles. Like most things in this wonderful but tricky first year, it’s just a phase. They’ll get through it – and so will you.
And remember, when it comes to growth spurts, every baby is different, but if you’re at all concerned about your baby’s growth, reach out and speak to your GP or health visitor. They’ll be able to provide you with advice and guidance and help reassure you about any concerns you might have.