One thing that babies do well is grow. During their first year of life, they grow more quickly than they will for the rest of their lives, according to Dr. Gregory Plemmons in "Parents" magazine. Many babies triple their birth weight by their first birthday. During that first year, your baby will have several growth spurts, which, while great for him, will most likely disrupt any feeding and sleeping patterns you’ve established.
When Growth Spurts Happen
Growth spurts tend to happen to all babies at around the same age. You can usually expect the first growth spurt when your baby is about 10 days old. His next growth spurt may happen when he is 3 weeks old and again at 6 weeks. You can also expect growth spurts at 3 months, 6 months and 9 months, according to What to Expect. Most spurts last a few days to a week.
Sleep Patterns During a Growth Spurt
One sign of a growth spurt is that your baby’s sleeping patterns will change. She may wake up every hour or so, demanding a feeding, even if she had previously slept continuously for hours at a time. Near the end of the growth spurt, your baby may sleep more than usual, since most growth hormones are produced while a baby is asleep. If you notice your baby sleeping longer than usual or at unusual hours, don’t try to force her to wake up or stick to an established schedule.
Other Signs of A Growth Spurt
A key sign that your baby is growing rapidly is that she will need to feed a lot, often every hour or so. Whether you nurse or give her formula, she will want more of it and more frequently. Since most babies don’t sleep through the night during a growth spurt, you may notice that yours is fussy. If you nurse, a lack of available milk when the baby’s hungry can also add to her crankiness.
Dealing With the Growth Spurt
While they are a good thing, growth spurts can be taxing on you. Growth spurts are definitely the time to rely on assistance from your partner or friends in dealing with day to day household chores. Drink plenty of water during the baby’s growth spurt so that you don’t get dehydrated or worn down. Continue to nurse your baby, since his constant feeding will cause your body to produce extra milk to feed him.
If It’s Not a Growth Spurt
Sometimes a baby will want to feed more or will change his sleeping patterns even if he isn’t going through a growth spurt. Some babies want to nurse more if they are getting sick, according to "Parents" magazine. They will also sleep more to buildup their body’s defenses. A baby’s sleep can be disrupted when his first teeth are coming in. Teething will also make a baby fussy.