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Is your baby more hungry and clingy than normal? It could be a growth spurt!

There are certain times in your baby’s first year, often just when you think you’ve got a little routine going, that they will suddenly be (even more) hungry, grizzly, sleep less, and want to be held constantly. These intense periods of growth and development are called growth spurts. They tend to last for a few days and then everything calms back down again.

So when do they happen?

Although all babies are different… there does seem to be common ages when these growth spurts happen. These are around 10-14 days old, 3 weeks old, 5-6 weeks old, and then again at 12 weeks old. So yeah, there are quite a few in those first three months. Growth spurts are also common at 4, 6 and 9 months.

It’s important to try to recognise these growth spurts because it can help you to relax into them. They can be pretty stressful if your baby wants to feed constantly and is more clingy than normal and you’re not sure why (however if you’re worried about your baby’s behaviour always seek medical advice).

During these growth spurts, if you’re breastfeeding you may feel that baby isn’t getting enough milk because they’re continuously hungry, but the more you feed, the more milk you make, so if you can, make yourself comfortable, keep hydrated, and get ready to snuggle up for a few days together.

If you’re formula feeding, continue to offer the same amount of milk as usual, and if your baby drains their bottle, offer another ounce. It’s important to feed responsively- if they want more, go for it, but when they show signs of being full (turning their head away or getting irritated), try to respect that too!

Keeping your baby close to you during growth spurts can help them to relax, using a sling or baby carrier can help, or offer lots of skin to skin.

It’s quite common for babies to get little white ‘milk’ spots on their cheeks after a few days, which is (anecdotally) a sign that the growth spurt has finished!

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