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Most babies go through several growth spurts (also called frequency days or wonder weeks) during the first 12 months. It’s important to be aware of these so you understand and don’t doubt yourself (or your milk supply) when you experience them.

What is a growth spurt?

During a growth spurt, breastfed babies feed much more often than they may have been (sometimes as often as every hour or what feels like constant feeding) and often act fussier or grumpier than usual. You may feel like baby is suddenly “attached” to you, is really fussy, not sleeping as well and hard to settle or you suddenly feel like you don’t have enough milk.

Baby is actually working to increase the amount of milk (because of their own growth) and the content of the milk also changes! Just as babies grow and change, so does our breastmilk to adapt to them- another huge benefit of breastfeeding as formula can not do this!

Physical growth is not the only reason that babies may have a temporary need for increased breastfeeding. Babies often exhibit the same type of behaviour (increased breastfeeding with or without increased fussiness) when they are working on developmental advances such as rolling over, crawling, walking or talking. Breast milk is for growing the brain as well as the body!

When do babies have growth spurts?

Common times for growth spurts are 2-5 days old and around 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months (more or less). Babies don’t read calendars, however, so your baby may do things differently.

How long do growth spurts last?

Growth spurts usually last 3-5 days, but sometimes last a week or so.

What is the best way to handle a growth spurt?

Follow your child’s lead. Baby will automatically get more milk by breastfeeding more frequently, and your milk supply will increase due to the increased breastfeeding.

It is not necessary (or advised) to supplement your baby with formula or expressed milk during a growth spurt. Supplementing (and/or scheduling feeds) interferes with the natural supply and demand of milk production and will prevent your body from getting the message to make more milk and change the content during the growth spurt.

Some breastfeeding mums feel more hungry or thirsty when baby is going through a growth spurt. Listen to your body — you may need to eat or drink more during the time that baby is nursing more often.

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