Is your breastfeeding baby nursing all the time? It may just be another one of their growth spurts!
If there is anything that makes mom’s worry about their milk supply, this is it. Moms are thinking they are doing great, the baby seems happy and full and then all of the sudden….baby seems to ALWAYS need more. Ahhhhh!
What are Growth Spurts?
They are a very normal part of development in a baby’s life. They happen. A new, inexperienced mother may wonder why her baby is more fussy than usual or why she needs to nurse more often. She may question her supply is failing but the truth is that a spurt is simply when the baby’s body grows more rapidly than normal. There is no need to worry! A moms body is made to adjust.
In fact, your child will experience growth spurts all throughout his childhood. Your baby, however, will have these spurts more often because babies grow more rapidly than children or adolescence. Think about it…how many times in life do we double in size in a matter of weeks?
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We get it. This is often when breastfeeding moms start to worry. They worry that they are not making enough milk for their babies. That is most likely not the case. Your baby is just growing and that is a good thing and means things are actually going well!
And guess what? Your body was designed for this! If you nurse your baby on demand through a growth spurt, this signals your breasts to make more milk…AND THEY WILL. Just let your body work like it is supposed to.
However, your body will adjust quickly even if you take no other steps other than to just nurse, nurse, nurse…
When Do Growth Spurts Occur?
Your baby will most likely experience a growth spurt a few days after birth, one to three weeks, six to eight weeks, three months, six months and between seven and nine months. Each baby, however, is different and there is no rule that state when a baby will go through a spurt. Babies do not watch the calendar! They may come more randomly…and often do! All babies are a little bit different.
When a baby is growing, he may be more fussy than usual. He may wake several times at night to nurse and he will be nursing more during the day. Don’t worry if your infant wants to breastfeed more often than usual. He’s is getting what he needs.
Babies hunger increases during a spurt. Chances are you are producing enough milk for him and by nursing more often, you are signaling your body to produce more! Keep doing that!
It’s All About Supply and Demand
Breastfeeding works on supply and demand. The more the baby breastfeeds, the more milk their mom’s body will produce. Every time the baby nurses, the body gets a signal that it needs to make more. If less milk is removed from the breasts, the body will make less. So during a growth spurt, the baby is letting your body know he or she wants more milk. Your body will respond. (It is actually quite amazing!)
This is why we say not to try to supplement with formula at this time. That will work against you because you will not send the signals your body needs to make more milk and this will actually last longer. Resist the urge to do that.
If your baby is gaining enough weight, has five to six very wet diapers a day and is having regular bowel movements, chances are good that your baby is getting enough milk. (However, if your child does not seem to be gaining weight or keeps a dry diaper for unusually long periods of time, make a visit to your pediatrician to assure all is well with your child.)
How Long Do Growth Spurts Last
They usually last 24 to 48 hours. However, they can sometimes take as long as a week to run their course. During your child’s growth spurt, increase your water intake and breastfeed on demand. This will assist you in producing enough milk.
After a growing spurt babies have been known to sleep more for a couple days, you will feel fuller for a day or two, baby may have more wet diapers than normal, and he will calm down at the breast.
“How Do I Handle This?”
For many moms, this is the hardest part of breastfeeding. It really is because it makes them worry and let’s self-doubt creep in.
Don’t let it get to you. Stay calm. Trust your body.
The best way to handle your baby’s growing spurt is to just relax and nurse often. Offer your breast often and drink lots of fluids. Keep some snacks by your favorite nursing chair for when it seems like you ALWAYS stuck there. We have all had those days!
Just listen to your baby’s cues. He will tell you when he needs to nurse and you will be able to tell by his weight gain and number of wet diapers if he is getting the nourishment he needs.
Don’t let this be a stressful time for you. It passes quickly. Instead, enjoy your baby and take these extra little opportunities to snuggle, bond and enjoy your child.
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