Baby’s Growth Spurts: When They Happen & What To Look For
When babies are first born, all they really do is eat, sleep, poop — and cuddle. All that eating and sleeping helps them grow, and babies do a bunch of growing in their first year, especially in those first few weeks of baby development.
As a new parent, you’re probably wondering when your little one will go through their growth spurts. After all, you need to be ready with clothes and diapers in the right sizes for each of the general baby milestones. So, when do babies go through periods of teething and growing?
All babies are different, but there are loose guidelines for when most little ones will get bigger.
What Are Baby Growth Spurts?
A growth spurt is what it sounds like. It’s a period of time when your baby grows, experiences weight gain, and probably needs lengthier nap times. Usually, it seems like it happens overnight. One day they might fit in their cutest onesie, and the next day, you can’t even snap it closed.
What Are the Signs of a Growth Spurt?
Most babies will gain a little bit of weight every day, but when they hit a growth spurt, they shoot up. They become longer and heavier — and even increase head circumference — without losing their cuteness.
By the time your little one reaches their first birthday and goes on the scale at their wellness visit, they will be around ten inches taller and usually have tripled their birth weight.
How Long Do Growth Spurts Last?
Depending on the baby, growth spurts can last for a few days, or they will happen overnight. Growth spurts for teenagers can last up to a week, but a long growth spurt for a baby usually lasts around three days.
However, babies will have growth spurts more often than older children since they have much growing to do in their first year.
Is There a Difference Between Growth Spurts and Developmental Milestones?
You’ve probably heard the phrase developmental milestones when discussing your baby's growth. Are these the same things as growth spurts?
While growth spurts occur when your little one is physically growing, developmental milestones are one way of measuring your baby’s growth in skills. Part of growing is learning new things from language to social skills to motor skills, aka getting where they need to go.
Hitting developmental milestones is just as important as growing physically, but they don’t necessarily mean that your baby has gained weight or grown an inch.
When Will My Baby Grow?
Predicting when your little one will hit a growth spurt is difficult, which is why many experienced parents recommend buying some baby clothes a size bigger than what your baby needs. That way, you have some clothes ready when your baby grows overnight.
Every baby hits their growth spurts in their own time, but here are the most common times for your baby to grow:
- Around one to three weeks
- Around six to eight weeks
- Around three months
- Around six months
- Around nine months
Your baby may start growing a little before or after these times, but you will notice when your little one is getting ready to grow.
Is My Baby Telling Me They’re Growing?
Most babies have a few signs to tell you that they’re getting ready to grow. You’ll probably notice that your little one has started eating all the time. You’ll finish feeding and burping them, and then two minutes later, they want some more.
Babies need extra nutrition when they’re hitting a growth spurt, so they’ll ask to eat more frequently. Newborns especially have a tendency to cluster feed, where they nurse often within a few hours. This gives your baby enough food to grow and, if you’re breastfeeding, helps boost your milk supply.
Cluster feeding can help support growth supports but is also associated with comfort feeding. Look for signs like “flutter sucking” to decipher the difference in feeding patterns.
If your little one has started eating solid foods, they’ll usually ask for more solid food on top of wanting to nurse more often.
Another sign that your baby is ready to hit a growth spurt is sleep regression. Although your baby usually sleeps through the night, they will start to wake up in the middle of the night to eat, disrupting their sleep patterns. It’s also possible that your baby will nap more during the day, at least until they get hungry again.
As babies get older, they usually sleep through the night unless they’re going through a sleep regression. Newborns have smaller stomachs, so they need to eat more often (often needing to be woken up to feed), but older babies don’t have that problem.
However, when your little one is about to hit a growth spurt, you’ll probably notice that they’ve started waking up in the middle of the night again, which can be frustrating. How should you handle night feedings at this point?
With a newborn, caregivers typically feed them every two to three hours, even if it’s the middle of the night. That way, they’re getting what they need.
With a baby around six months or older, you may want to talk with your baby’s pediatrician about night feedings. If your little one is growing well, they shouldn’t need to eat in the middle of the night, and the doctor might have advice on how to handle a baby going through a sleep regression.
How Do I Know If They’re Getting Enough Food?
If you’re a breastfeeding mom, you might be worried if your little one is getting enough to eat. After all, they’re fussier, and they are trying to eat more often. With a bottle of formula or bottles of pumped milk, it’s easier to see how much your baby is getting, but it’s trickier to know with breastfeeding.
The easiest way to tell if your baby is getting enough to eat is by keeping track of their diapers. Food that goes in will come out.
After the first few days and your milk comes in, your newborn should produce between five and six soaking wet diapers per day. When your baby is five days old, you should notice stools about three to four times a day.
If your little one is consistently gaining weight, pooping regularly, and has no symptoms of constipation, they should be getting enough to eat. If you notice anything odd, you can discuss it with your baby’s doctor.
Babies don’t tend to go around the same time every day, so when you’re keeping track of the number of dirty diapers, remember that a day is a 24-hour period.
If you don’t see the right number of soiled diapers by bedtime, that’s not usually cause for immediate concern; your little one will probably make it up at night.
Of course, some of these stools could be a diaper blow-out — which means it’s time for a tactical diaper change. A onesie like the Tabeeze Bottom-Up Baby Bodysuit unsnaps at the (fumble-free) shoulders and comes down feet first. This minimizes the mess and the stress of both regular diaper changers and even the most extreme diaper blowouts.
When To Visit Your Pediatrician
During a baby’s first year, they’ll have several appointments to measure their growth and get any necessary vaccines. Unless your little one is sick or there are other issues, you probably won’t be heading to the pediatrician that often.
Usually, your baby’s grumpiness during a growth spurt can be caused by an increasing appetite, impatience when trying to get milk, or late nights trying to eat as much as possible. If your baby’s fussiness continues or they have trouble calming down after a week, you may want to call the doctor, just in case.
If the cause of irritability is difficulty latching and your baby has trouble getting enough milk after the first few days, your doc may refer you to a lactation consultant. They can help you with latching and evaluate whether or not enough milk is coming in.
Getting Bigger Every Day
Your growing family is growing! Babies are learning day by day, and soon enough, you’ll wonder how your teenager got to be taller than you.
Growth Spurts & Baby Growth Spurts — What They Are & What To Do | Cleveland Clinic
Understanding Baby Growth Spurts | Verywell Family
Breastfeeding Your Baby During a Growth Spurt | Verywell Family
What is "Cluster Feeding" and Is It Normal? | Fed Is Best
Comfort Nursing: Definition, Concerns, and Benefits | Healthline