Ever feel like your baby is hungry ALL the time! Is your infant becoming a permanent fixture to your breasts? Do you feel like you don’t have enough milk? Are you tired? Do you think, Surely he can’t be hungry again? If so, your baby may be experiencing a developmental or growth spurt.
What is a Growth Spurt?
Growth spurts are times when the baby puts on add weight, grows longer, and may even meet a developmental milestone. Babies are more hungry and may be more irritable and fussy and or more ‘clingy’. Fortunately it only lasts for about 48 hours. During a growth spurt the baby may breastfeed more often and longer. Growth spurts are predictable. So stop reaching for the formula bottle or the rice cereal and breastfeed the baby. More breastfeeding equals more supply.
- Two week – This first growth spurt catches many moms by surprise. You have made it through engorgement and now baby is acting hungry. Do I have enough milk? The answer is yes! Your baby is just growing! The journey has begun.
- Three week – Baby is learning to snuggle and lift his/her head. Your baby is enjoying looking at mom or dad. He or she can focus about 10-12 inches, just far enough to see your face. So snuggle into a comfy chair or pillow, breastfeed and enjoy!
- Six week – Baby is starting to interact and smile. Babies become more social and fun. Baby may have a crying time so look for disengagement cues that baby is ready for a break. You may be going back to work so the temptation is to introduce formula. Keep breastfeeding and/or pumping and supply will increase to feed baby while you are away.
Three, Six, Nine Is Growing Time
Just prior to a growth spurt, babies may be sleepier than normal. Extra cuddles and breastfeeding is what the baby needs and wants. This is a time to take care of yourself as well. Increase water intake, rest and put the chores on hold. Now is a good time to elicit family help with the laundry!
- Three month – Baby will swipe at objects, lift his/her head while on his tummy. Baby will also maintain eye contact and follow moving objects. Babies smile at the sound of mom or dad’s voice and they will begin babbling.
- Six month – Baby will ‘find his feet’ and begin to sit up on his/her own. Baby is using a raking motion to grab at toys. How fun!
- Nine month – Let the crawling begin. Baby may even try to pull to stand. Baby may also say ‘mama’ and ‘dada’. Baby may also use hands to ‘wave bye-bye’.
Encouraging Words for Moms
The journey through growth spurts can have its ups and downs, but be encouraged, your body was made to provide milk for your baby. You can do it.
(sources: Nurse Family Partnership, 2016, http://www.babycentre.co.uk, http://www.healthychildren.org, http://www.momsmakemilk.com, http://www.whattoexpect.com, )
I am often asked, ” Why should I breastfeed my baby? ” We hear that breastfeeding is best. It is nature’s nutrition. Breast milk is often called liquid gold. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and then continuation of breastfeeding with baby/table food until the baby is at least one year or longer. But why is it best and what are the benefits? Well here is just a short list of benefits:
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom
Breastfeeding benefits for mom are associated with the cumulative duration of breastfeeding. Which means that if breastfeed for 3 months one child and 6 months the second child, mom reaps the benefits of breastfeeding for 9 months.
- Breast and ovarian cancer. Reduces the risk of certain types of breast cancer. Breastfeeding for cumulative duration longer than 12 months is associated with 28% reduction in breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
- Immediate postpartum benefits. Mom’s who breastfeed have less postpartum blood loss. Bleeding after delivery lasts shorter than those who do not breastfeed. The mom’s uterus returns to normal size quicker.
- Loose weight. We all want to fit into those jeans we wore prior to pregnancy. Breastfeeding moms at six months weigh less than moms who didn’t breastfeed.
- Diabetes. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 4-12% for each year she breastfed.
- Arthritis. Incidence of rheumatoid arthritis is reduced with a cumulative breastfeeding of 12 months.
- Heart disease. Women who breastfeed have a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
- Depression. Studies show a reduction in postpartum depression among those who breastfed vs those who did not or who weaned their baby early.
“I am not telling you it is going to be easy– I am telling you it is going to be worth it” (Art Williams)
Breastfeeding is a mother’s gift to herself, her baby and the earth. ~Pamela K. Wiggins
“Breastfeeding reminds us of the universal truth of abundance; the more we give out, the more we are filled up, and that divine nourishment – the source from which we all draw – is, like a mother’s breast, ever full and ever flowing.”
― Sarah Buckley
You entered the world;
Hungry for warmth of mother;
My milk sustains you
—Jennifer L Miller
“I lost most of my weight from breastfeeding and I encourage women to do it; It’s just so good for the baby and good for yourself.”- Beyonce
Post written by: Blair Creekmore, RN, IBCLC
(References: “Breastfeeding and the Use of Human Milk”, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/129/3/e827)