Babies have a ton of physical growth in the first year. Most of this growth occurs during a growth spurt, and these growth spurts happen at predictable times. Obviously, babies don’t have a calendar out in front of them, but they can hit these marks give or take a week or two fairly consistently.
Notice the pictures above, how much Caroline has grown in just 2 months! Her doctors appointments revealed she had grown just over 2 inches from month 1 to month 3.
How much babies grow
In the first 6 months of life, babies can grow anywhere from 0.5 to 1.0 inch every month. They can gain up to 7 ounces a week (this is about half a pound as there are 16 ounces in 1 pound).
These are big numbers if you think about it. Your baby could be 6 inches taller (half a ruler length) at their 6 month appointment. That’s a lot of growing!
Caroline was 20 inches when she was born, and at her 6 month appointment she was 26 inches long. Right on that 1 inch every month mark.
She was 7 lbs 6 oz at birth, and at her 6 month appointment she was 16 lbs 2 oz. At 6 months she was about 26 weeks old, and she had gained an average of 5.4 ounces per week.
In the second 6 months of life, babies can grow up to 3/8 of an inch each month. They can gain up to 5 ounces a week.
When growth spurts happen
Growth spurts happen around the same times for all babies give or take a week on either side. An easy way to remember it is 3-6-9. Growth spurts happen around the 3 week mark, the 6 week mark, and 9 week mark. They also happen around 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months.
Remember these are guidelines. So, if at 2 weeks you think your baby might be in a growth spurt, you are probably right as that is only 1 week off of the 3 week mark!
Recognizing growth spurts
There are some tell tale signs that your baby is in a growth spurt:
- Waking in the middle of the night- You’ll notice this if it is out of the ordinary. In the younger weeks they may wake more frequently than you are used to. In the older months, you might be used to no night wakings and all of the sudden they are waking again.
Go ahead and feed your baby. You’ll probably notice that she is acting like you never feed her and is starving. Go ahead and let her eat as she needs the strength to do all of this growing!
- Waking early from naps–
When babies are going through growth spurts they are extra hungry. They may need to eat more frequently during the day, and as a result they may wake early. Again, go ahead and feed your baby and adjust your schedule. This is normal behavior and will pass when the growth spurt is over.
- Baby is extra tired–
You may find that when your baby wakes up they are still tired. Or perhaps they are wanting more naps or taking longer naps. This can happen during the growth spurt and/or directly afterwards.
They are exhausted from all that growing. Let them catch up a bit without getting to far off of schedule (my rule is no more than 30 minutes), so they don’t get too hungry.
- Wanting more feeds-
Did you just get done feeding your baby an hour ago and she seems to want more? This could also be a sign of a growth spurt. She might be extra fussy, or sucking on her thumb, whining for food, etc.
You know your babies hunger signs. Try adjusting your schedule to be 30 min earlier if this is the case.
How long will a growth spurt last?
Growth spurts typically last from 2-3 days, and in some instances can last an entire week. There may also be a couple of days after the growth spurt that they are very tired from all the growing they just did.
It may not be a growth spurt
Has your baby been off for just 1 day and you’re not sure if it will continue? Is the timing a bit off, so you aren’t sure if it’s a growth spurt? Perhaps it is not a growth spurt. Don’t forget to check for other things as well and don’t just assume it is a growth spurt affecting your little one.
It could also be….
Baby might be sick
Baby might be teething
Baby might be in a wonder week- read more about wonder weeks here
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