Now that your baby is born, you’ve established a rhythm for bath time, bedtime, wakefulness and feeding. Everything is perfect. And yet, one day, he is more irritated, his sleep is agitated and he asks for more milk. This is the growth spurt. And there will be several of these during the first years of your child’s life! What is the growth spurt? How do you spot them? When do growth spikes occur in a baby? How long do they last? What to do during growth spikes? We answer all your questions!
What is a growth peak?
From conception through adolescence, your child will experience growth spikes. Also called “peak day”, these particular episodes result in an increased need for energy intake. This is because his little body is growing every day. But so do his physical abilities, his sensory reactivity, and of course, his brain. At times, your child’s body requires additional nutritional intake, especially calcium.
Although the frequency of growth peaks is generally regular, it is important to keep in mind that each child is unique. Therefore, your baby may have his or her own unique growth pattern.
How do you spot a growth spurt?
Regardless of the age at which a growth spurt occurs, the signs are always pretty much the same. Because the body has a sudden need for energy, your baby is feeding more than usual.
If you are breastfeeding, your baby will increase the frequency of feedings and stay at the breast longer. Take advantage of this moment to prolong this magical time. Your baby may also be excited or more energetic than usual. The same is true if your baby is bottle-fed. We just recommend that you respect the doses he asks for, because you may be surprised by the amount of milk he needs during this growth peak! Above all, don’t deny him this occasional appetite, whatever the time of day or night.
When do growth peaks occur in a baby?
In a non-linear way! In fact, it is customary to use the 3-6-9 rule. These numbers correspond to ages in weeks, months, and then years. These periods can correspond to several types of growth: teething, psychological development, new learning, discoveries of the environment. You may also observe an increased need for food during a psychological upheaval that your child is going through: moving, back to school, vacations, change of daycare, etc.
You will notice growth peaks at the ages of :
- 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years ;
- 6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years;
- 9 weeks, 9 months, 9 years.
How long do growth spikes last in a baby?
The duration of a growth spurt varies greatly from one baby to another. That’s why it’s important to observe his needs and demands. The most important thing is to follow his rhythm, without worrying about giving him too much to eat or not enough. Your child will make you understand it by himself! However, rest assured that growth spikes last less than 2 to 3 days, depending on the episode.
What to do during your baby’s growth spurt?
The first thing to do during your baby’s growth spurt is to take care of all his needs. His appetite should be satisfied as much as necessary. This may seem confusing when you’ve already established a set breastfeeding or bottle-feeding schedule, but your baby’s body needs this extra nutrition.
It’s also quite possible that your child’s attitude will change during these growth spurts. He or she may become more irritable than usual and sleep may be disturbed. There’s only one thing you can do at this time: reassure him, because all these physical changes are also very exhausting for your baby.
The main points to remember: your baby is growing. And for that, he needs energy. This energy supply comes mainly from food and this results in episodes during which your child is insatiable! This is a growth peak. By remaining attentive to these periods, you give your baby all the strength to grow serenely! So keep smiling, everything is going well!