Know the signs of a growth spurt, how to handle the growth spurt, what ages are growth spurts, how long a growth spurt lasts, and feeding baby in growth.
It can almost seem concerning at first. Your baby was on a predictable schedule and routine, but now is waking up more often. Your little one suddenly seems hungry and discontented at all hours. What is going on?!?!
Do not stress! This is very normal. There is likely a growth spurt going on.
Growth spurts are often troublesome for parents. We never know for sure if it is a growth spurt. Once we know it is (or we think we know it is), we aren’t sure how long it should last or will last or how exactly to handle the growth spurt.
This post gives you all of the answers to common questions with baby growth spurts.
- WHAT IS A GROWTH SPURT?
- WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A GROWTH SPURT?
- Look at Sleep Patterns
- Look at Age of Baby
- Look at How Well Baby Eats
- How do I know if it is a growth spurt or a napping problem?
- WHAT ARE THE AGES FOR GROWTH SPURTS?
- HOW LONG DO GROWTH SPURTS LAST?
- HOW DO YOU HANDLE A BABY GROWTH SPURT?
- Feed Baby for a Longer Length of Time
- Increase Food Intake
- Feed the Baby
- HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR SCHEDULE AND AN INFANT GROWTH SPURT?
- HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN THE GROWTH SPURT IS OVER?
- RELATED POSTS
- READER GROWTH SPURT QUESTIONS
WHAT IS A GROWTH SPURT?
“…a period, typically lasting a day or two, when your baby’s body demands more food.” (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems page 116)
Basically, a growth spurt is when your baby is growing more rapidly than typical. Infants already grow at an incredible rate, but during a growth spurt, they grow even faster.
I don’t think it is a good idea to have a preconceived time table in mind for how long a growth spurt should last. When Kaitlyn was having her 6 week growth spurt, Brayden was having his 2 year old doctor appointment. I asked our pediatrician how long a growth spurt lasts. He replied that you can’t put a definite timetable on it.
McKenna’s growth spurts always lasted about 5-6 days. Yikes! That is a long time!
Growth spurts are exhausting. McKenna went from feeding every three hours to every 2.5. Toward the end of the growth spurt, she ate every 2 hours. Whoa. What a difference one hour makes. I was always happy to have the growth spurt end, but they are a very normal part of life.
I also read in another book (I believe Super Baby Food?) that baby’s first year is really just one long growth spurt with faster sprints mingled in there. I think that is a great way of looking at it.
Also, I found that both Kaitlyn and McKenna had one day each week where they ate more often. Kaitlyn’s day was Thursday and McKenna’s was Friday. When Brinley, my fourth baby, came along, I found this to be true with her also. This lasted until somewhere between 2-3 months old.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A GROWTH SPURT?
A common reason for hunger is a growth spurt, but it isn’t the only one. Are you wondering how do you know baby is going through a growth spurt or not? Let’s discuss some baby growth spurt signs.
- Increased hunger or appetite
- Sleep pattern changes
- Seeming out of sorts
Look at Sleep Patterns
If your child is typically a good sleeper, it makes “diagnosing” a growth spurt much easier. If your child typically takes a full nap and has been sleeping X number of hours at night, but suddenly starts waking early, then it most likely is a growth spurt.
Another hint Hogg uses is the type of waking if baby is waking in the night. If baby is waking at the same time every night, it might not be a hunger issue but is rather a habitual waking.
If the waking is at different times every night, then it likely is a growth spurt (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems page 116).
Look at Age of Baby
You can also look at the time table. See the ages for growth spurts section below to see if your baby is at the right age for a growth spurt.
Look at How Well Baby Eats
Another good clue is how baby eats. A baby having a growth spurt will eat more often. If she eats well when you feed her earlier than usual, then it likely is a growth spurt. If not, then she might be waking for some other reason (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems page 117).
I do have a word of caution with this, though. If your baby is a sleepy eater (common in the newborn stages, so very common at the 3/4 week growth spurt and 6/8 week growth spurt), she might still get sleepy at a feeding even if she is going through a growth spurt.
The key is to watch for behavior that is different from normal. If baby is sleepy when eating, but is always sleepy when eating, that isn’t a good factor to consider.
How do I know if it is a growth spurt or a napping problem?
It is hard to know for sure, but there are a few signs of a growth spurt.
One, if your baby has previously been sleeping fine and is suddenly waking early, chances are it is a growth spurt and not a sleeping issue.
Two is if your baby is around the age of a growth spurt. Most babies will have a growth spurt at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 or 4 months, 6 months…but don’t rely on those ages as hard and fast rules for a growth spurt.
Third, babies poop a lot less when they are in a growth spurt. It makes sense because less of the food would be waste–she would be using it to grow.
It is always safe to assume it is a growth spurt, treat it like one, and feed baby more and see what happens.
If your baby is waking early from naps, it is best to treat it as a hunger problem first, as Babywise suggests. Feed the baby and see what happens. After a week, if the baby still isn’t sleeping well, you can move on to try other solutions.
WHAT ARE THE AGES FOR GROWTH SPURTS?
This is tricky because just about every “expert” has a different timeline for growth spurts. There are a lot of growth spurts in the first year of life.
Growth spurts typically happen every 3-4 weeks. There can also be one around age 10-14 days old. The exact ages can vary, but they typically happen around 2-4 weeks, then 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months.
Tracy Hogg, the Baby Whisperer, says the first one happens at 6-8 weeks old (The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems page 116). Not true for my children! The timetable I have found to be true for all of my children is that they happen every 3-4 weeks. So the first one will be somewhere around 3-4 weeks old. Basically it is once a month. In her first book, Hogg says they happen every 3-4 weeks.
HOW LONG DO GROWTH SPURTS LAST?
A growth spurt length can range, but you will probably find it is 3-7 days long.
This can vary and some doctors say you can’t put a timeline on it. Others say your baby will have a change in eating, sleeping, and behavior patterns for 2-3 days. As a mom of four children, I have had 2-3 day disruptions, but I have also had it last closer to a week.
I asked my doctor that once and he said you couldn’t give a timeline to it. I have found that after a day or two, the milk supply catches up (if you are breastfeeding) and the baby settles back into eating less often but more at each feeding.
If you are bottle feeding and the baby can take more in the tummy, you can increase that and the baby may settle back into a normal schedule, or at least closer to it.
But maybe baby can’t take more in at a time and needs to eat more often. This will be especially common with the newborn growth spurts.
Do it. Always feed your baby when your baby is hungry.
Baby will eventually go back to sleeping well. My daughter’s six week growth spurt seemed to last forever, but it did eventually end.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE A BABY GROWTH SPURT?
Are you wondering what to do when your baby has a growth spurt?
Feed baby. Feed baby. Feed baby.
Did I mention feed baby?
Feed Baby for a Longer Length of Time
Feeding baby during a growth spurt is very important. If you are breastfeeding and your baby will do it, you can also increase the amount of time baby spends nursing. So if baby typically takes 20 minutes to eat, you can increase nursing time to 30 minutes. This will increase stimulation which will increase milk supply.
I did this at the 2 week growth spurt with my oldest daughter. I had her eat twice as long when she nursed, and she still made it the 3 hours that way.
I wanted to do that because I wanted to stay on schedule with my not-quite two year old. He was still getting used to her being around. It seemed to work fine and my lactation consultant friend said that would work because your nipples are getting more stimulation and would respond by making more milk.
This strategy works well for sleepy newborn babies, but did not work with older babies. They tend to pull off when the milk is too slow and do not have the patience or interest in sucking when there is not much coming out. When they get older, they don’t really want to sit and suck when not much is coming; they want to be looking at the world!
Increase Food Intake
Hogg says to increase food during the day (adding ounces to bottles or more feedings when breastfeeding) and/or adding a dreamfeed if you don’t have one already (page 117).
>>>Read: The Basics of a Dreamfeed
You can also try cluster feeding in the evenings.
If you are breastfeeding, you need to wait for your milk production to catch up to baby’s needs before you can increase the food taken in unless you add in feedings.
If your baby is formula-fed, you might be able to give baby more ounces per feeding during infant growth spurts. If so, you might be able to maintain a similar feeding and sleep schedule.
Feed the Baby
Many parents worry during a growth spurt. They feel like they are backtracking and worry they are starting new bad habits with short naps.
Please don’t worry about it–especially if it comes at the expense of feeding your baby the food she needs.
Feed the baby!
Babywise is parent directed. That means you decide what happens. If your child is hungry, feed him. When you have a Babywise growth spurt going on, the right thing to do is feed baby.
If you try to fight it, your baby will continue to wake early from naps and will become irritable out of hunger and fatigue, and if you are breastfeeding, you risk compromising your supply.
Feed your baby. Once the spurt is over, your baby will go back to the 3 hour (or whatever) schedule.
Ignoring a growth spurt will not make it go away. It will only prolong your short naps and/or night wakings. The best way to “fix” a growth spurt is to feed the baby. Once baby’s body has reached the growth needed, you will be able to tell and you can get baby back on her normal napping/sleeping schedule.
It is normal for a baby to have growth spurts. It is not a cause for concern. Feed baby as she needs it. Doing so is following the rules of Babywise precisely. I know growth spurts are exhausting, but they are a necessity. Hang in there!
>>>Read: Babywise Instructs Parents to Feed Baby When Hungry
HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR SCHEDULE AND AN INFANT GROWTH SPURT?
When your baby is having a growth spurt, you can find yourself wondering what exactly you do about the typical feeding schedule. Do you try to have normal waketime length even though naps are short? Will you ruin your schedule you have established?
When your baby is having a growth spurt, your baby will need shorter waketime length than usual. Your baby is used to having a 1.5 hour long nap, but now is getting a 45 minute nap. She won’t be able to stay up as long as she has been.
During the growth spurt, watch for sleepy cues. Do not hesitate to put baby down very soon after eating if needed.
It is common during a growth spurt to feed baby every 2 hours, so you can easily have baby up for one hour, nap for one hour, up for one hour, nap for one hour, etc. Focus more on your eat/wake/sleep cycle and know that both wake time length and nap length will be off during the growth spurt.
Once the growth spurt is over, you will be able to get back to your normal schedule.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN THE GROWTH SPURT IS OVER?
When the growth spurt is over, your baby will take a normal nap again. Your baby might even take a longer than normal nap. Babies are often extra sleepy at the end of the eating portion of the growth spurt. The body needs food and sleep to grow, and during all of that eating, sleep was not as common.
Your baby might also eat less than normal after a growth spurt, which is a little confusing. Why eat so much just to eat less? The eating less won’t last long and your baby will be back to normal if not a little more than what was typical before the growth spurt.
Remember that babies have growth spurts throughout their first year, then toddlers do after that and on through teenagers until they are done growing.
Once you start solids and have them down, it will be more difficult to spot a growth spurt, but they will happen. Remain aware of them and offer your child more food if you suspect a growth spurt.
Mine wouldn’t nurse longer–they nursed the minimal amount of time to get the milk they wanted, then they were ready to play.
READER GROWTH SPURT QUESTIONS
- David said…
Hi, I think my 6 week old is in a growth spurt. We just moved from a pretty regular 2.5 hour schedule to a 3 hour schedule, but had barely started getting used to the new schedule, when now she suddenly is sometimes wanting to eat only 1.5 hours after her last feeding. And she has gone from napping constantly to waking early from her nap, or wanting to eat before her next nap. So, my question is, how do you handle it as far as the schedule goes. For instance, she ate at 10am, but then was hungry again at 11:30 but not due to eat again until 1. I fed her (and she took a full feeding, so it was obviously a hunger thing), and then she went down for a nap soon after. So, now do I try to feed her again at 1 to keep to the original schedule, or just wait and see when she wants to eat again and try to go as long as possible between feedings?Thanks!
The Babywise Mom said...When my babies have growth spurts, I just feed them when they are hungry and let the normal routine fly out the window. I still feed, play, sleep, but I let baby decide when to eat. The catch is to keep them eating at least as often, so in your case every 2.5-5 hours. She might keep herself on the 1.5 eating and eat at one anyway! I wouldn’t wake her if she is sleeping until 2 or 2:30. Good luck with the growth spurt! It can be tiring. By the way, good job feeding your baby when she was hungry 🙂
I meant 2.5-3 hours, not 2.5-5.
Hi, thanks for the response. She did end up waking up to eat again at 1 that day and kept to the schedule, and the rest of the day was more or less on schedule. We are doing great on the 3 hour schedule now, except for some colicky evenings–sometimes the schedule and napping go completely out the window those nights, but I’m hoping to get past all of that in another month or so!
The Babywise Mom said..I am glad things have calmed down for you! I find those first three months to be the most challenging part of baby’s life. I have heard it referred to as the 4th trimester–it is just hard. Something magical happens around three months and baby just gets a lot easier.
- Meredith said…
My child is doing this now and today I picked him up and fed him and he took a full feeding. What do I do after this re: the schedule? For example, he eats at 7:00, then ate again at 9:00, but it is usually 10:00. He didn’t go back down after the nine feeding b/c it took him 30 minutes to eat and then he was a wake. What do I do at 10:00? feed him again and continue with the regular schedule? I don’t know if he will eat.If they won’t go back to sleep after a 45 minute intruder feeding, then do you just adjust the schedule until it can be ironed out again? What are your thoughts on this?
The Babywise Mom said..Good question. If I experience the 45 minute intruder and baby is hungry, I just continue on the day more on a “pattern” than a “schedule.” So baby ate at 9. I would then shoot for the next feeding to be 2.5-3 hours from 9, but perhaps sooner. If this is a growth spurt, then it will be sooner. Feeding baby as often as necessary for a few days will get him with the extra food he needs and he will then go back to normal schedule. So I would feed at 9, do the normal waketime, then put down for a nap. If it turns out he was just hungry for that one feeding, he might sleep a little longer for the next nap and get back on schedule at some point in the afternoon. If not, don’t worry. Tomorrow is a new day 🙂
- Tanya said…
How can you tell that a baby is getting a full feeding in? Mine nurses for about 10 minutes on one side and then might take the other side for a few sucks but won’t take it for longer – usually pulls off and just won’t go back on when I offer it. Also, this afternoon, he was waking up and wanting to eat every two hours. We ran errands tonight so he was in the car seat and is still sleeping after the 2 hour mark. When he wakes up after 2 hours, he eats for 10 minutes and then has wake time and then sleeps for about an hour. He’s very awake when he gets up and is acting hungry?? He’s 6 weeks old this weekend, by the way.
The Babywise Mom said..6 weeks is a growth spurt time. Also it is a time prolactin levels drop in the woman, which means the body needs to figure out some other way to make the milk. At least that is the way I understood it. The prolactin drop is significant in some way. So you definitely want to feed him as often as he wants it.As far as know if he got a full feeding…it is hard to know when you are breastfeeding. You sound like you are doing it correctly. You always want to let him finish one side completely before switching to the other so he gets the hind-milk. Then you offer the second side for as much as he wants. As time goes one, you will get to know it better. It will become more natural for you. Just watch the diaper output. If they are on track, then you know he is eating well!
February 21, 2008 9:15 PM
- Meghan said…
I was so glad to find this post!! My daughter (7 weeks today) has been on a 3 1/2 hour schedule for about 2-3 weeks and doing great. I had to go back to work this week so she was with a sitter. To make a long story short, this week, she began wanting to eat sooner and fussing until she was fed. We had to move her to a 3 hour schedule. Before, she was only waking about 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. for her MON feeding but now she is waking at 12:30 or 1:00 and then again at 3:00 or 4:00. It has been tiring especially it being my first week back. Do you suggest that I just add another feeding for now? Last night I did not feed her when she awoke at midnight but then she woke at 1:20 a.m. and I fed her then. Also, I probably should have fed her when she woke at 4:00 too?? At 4:00 she just got really restless but never extremely fussy. She actually dozed off to sleep several times and made it to her regular feeding time of 6:30. Thanks for any input you can give!!
The Babywise Mom said..Yes, I would cut back down to a 3 hour schedule. BW recommends not extending your schedule until night feedings are dropping. As I understand it, Baby needs X number of calories in a day and need so many feedings to get those calories in. As they grow, they can take in more at a time and have fewer feedings. You want that dropped feeding to come at night, not in the day.Whether you do that or not, adding a feeding during a growth spurt is always a good idea. 🙂Catherine said…
- I have been feeding him every time he wakes up- he’s just having a big issue with one feeding per night- the last 3 nights he has been eating voraciously one feeding for about 45-50 minutes, afterward he is so worked up he just can’t seem to get himself back to sleep. I even tried feeding him longer 2 nights ago but that just made it worse. It takes him 1-2 hrs. crying off and on even in his swing to fall back asleep. (Meaning I hear him crying every few minutes off and on) So I feed him as often as he wakes up, but he’s having such a tough time when he wakes up so much from that feeding, poor guy. The other feedings he goes right back to sleep if he’s in his swing. I feel like 3 issues are coming up at once! The growth spurt, him not being able to self soothe if he is woken up after almost falling asleep, and his days being in transition! Ahhh!
The Babywise Mom said..Hang in there! It will get better. Have you looked into any medical issues or milk supply yet?Catherine said…
- Thanks- I am hanging in and just trying to get some sleep in the process. 🙂 I did look extensively into both- gas, colic, etc, and my milk supply. I have more than enough milk. I pumped for a while and let my husband feed him the bottles. I also read a whole lot on gas, colic, reflux, etc… and even though he does fit the symptoms of it starting after eating, he doesn’t fit the symptoms of fussiness with crying constantly, arching his back, seeming like he’s in pain, etc… I have tried shortening his naps the last two days. He has taken 3 2.5 hour naps very happily and easily yesterday and today. His 4th nap yesterday was almost 2 hours. We were not having this issue at night until I stopped feeding him whenever he seemed that he had woken up when I put him in the crib. Meaning if I put him down, and he started jostling and waking up, I would pick him up and feed him again until he was really calm and would fall asleep easily when I put him in the crib. As soon as I stopped doing that, he has been up crying. I feel like I was soothing him back to sleep. Also for him to eat like he has been with that super long voracious feeding in the middle of the night is very out of character for him, only has happened the last 3 nights. He has also been eating consistently longer at each feeding the last few days.
The Babywise Mom said..It sounds like he is improving! Remember that improvements come slowly, and the progress isn’t in a straight line. They get better, then go back, then better, then back, etc. It is all a normal part of the process. The voracious eating is likely due to the growth spurt. Keep working on it–he is definitely making progress!swanny said…
- My DD (14 weeks) had been consistantly sleeping through the night (7:30 bedtime, 10pm dream feed to 6:30 wake time)since 8wks old. Starting about 1 week ago she hit a growth spurt- but instead of waking up from her day time naps, she adopted the habbit of eating at night. I know that she needed the night feedings because she was eating very well for them (abt 12-15 /side and during the day she usually does 10 and 10). I tried yesterday and the day before to put her on a 2.5 hr schedule in the evenings (3:30, 6, 8:30, 11 pm dreamfeed) instead of the 3hr she has been on since birth (only one 2.5 hr feeding if she wakes early), in hope that she would not wake for a MON feed. She wasnt eating well for those feedings, and then was cranky because I woke her up early and she was not feed well. So I decided that was not the way to go. This morning she did not eat well. Do you think that it is time to start to wean her from her MON feeding that she just recently adopted? (I can’t do CIO in the MON b/c I live w/ my inlaws and my husband is away at school). I dont want to under feed her if she is still going through a growth spurt. I am at a loss of what to try next.
The Babywise Mom said..Swanny, Sorry, I didn’t get a notification about your post! I don’t know if you are still having that issue by this point, but yes, I would start to wean from that MON feeding. Let me know if you are still having difficulty, and if so, what questions you have.Elise’smum said…
- Hi, my LO is 11 weeks old and we are just now starting CIO. We have suscribed to BW pattern since her birth tho. We started CIO because she went from falling asleep by herself to falling asleep being rocked and she kept waking herself up after busting out of her swaddle. SO, I guess we’re starting less swaddle (one arm out)and CIO. Plus she is now over some major reflux/colic issues. ANYWAY, day 2 naps are going OK she cries anywhere from 10-30min and then falls asleep with an arm out! Horray. But nights are tough she has never gone more than 6 hours without nursing. YUCK. I thought she was in a pattern recently so I tried CIO last night for the first time but I feel terrible because I went to check on her after 1 hour of fuss (at a patterned time) quiet fuss quiet CRY and she was hungry (when offered) that was on this evening schedule (eat 5PM)(nap 6PM) (nurse730PM&to bed)(1030PM nightfeed)*130AM CIO to 230AM nurse 630AM nurse. AKKKK. I’m sure she’s eating enough during the day 2.5-3 hour schedule plus I have MORE than enough milk I always offer the second side too. SO, the question is…is she in a growth spurt or just eating because I offer at 4 hours since last nursing? Or just still needs a middle of the night nursing (but it seems to be in a pattern!) Does this make sense? Thanks!Elise’s mom
The Babywise Mom said..It is a hard call. I would be inclined to think as you do that she should need at most 1 night feeding. If she usually goes 6 hours, that isn’t too bad. It isn’t ideal for you, but 15% of BW babies don’t sleep 7-8 consistent hours until 12 weeks. For that reason, I personally always wait until 12 weeks before considering CIO at night. BUT I do have friends that have done it at 9 weeks with success. You have to be the one to evaluate her need for food in the night and then go from there. 3 months is a growth spurt time, so I would also wait until you have seen that come and go before CIO at night. See this post on other ideas for dropping night feedings: Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime
- LEM said…Is there such as thing as an opposite of a growth spurt? My 10-week old doesn’t seem to be very interested in any of his feedings lately. In fact today he has flat out refused 2 in a row! He’s seems normal otherwise. At his last appt about a week ago he was at the 50th percentile for both weight and height but it concerns me when he doesn’t want to eat. My mother (not knowledgeable in BW) says I should feed him every 4 hours but I told her I needed to get rid of the dreamfeed first. Is it normal for them to not be hungry like this?
My baby eats noticeably less during his growth spurts. I was concerned at first, too, but have discovered that as the cause…
The Babywise Mom said..LEM, Since he refused 2 in a row, I would say it is not a need for a four hour schedule. I would guess it is a sickness issue. Teething, ear infection…Also, they are often really tired right after a growth spurt and might eat less.
The Babywise Mom said..wrknprogres, thanks for your thoughts!
- bradysmom said…I wonder if my LO is going through a growth spurt. He hasn’t been pooping as much – every 2 days; and I can’t get him to take a full 2 hour nap to save my life. He has consistently (for the past 5 days) been waking after 1.5 to 1 hr 45 minutes for naps (he’s on a 4 hour schedule). He isn’t crying when he wakes, so I just figured he was done eating.I did try to increase his solid intake, but he’s not really interested in taking all of it. Maybe I should increase the bottle amount (he’s bottle fed now). Also, I give him his bottle, then his solids. I tried it the other way around when we first started solids, but then he wouldn’t finish all his bottle. Now he doesn’t finish all his solids, unless it’s somethign he loves!i just wonder if it’s a growth spurt and that’s why he’s waking a little early, not pooping as much.
The Babywise Mom said..It is possible 🙂
- Michelle said…I have a 17 month old son who has been sleeping through the night from 9 weeks old. He has gone through short periods of waking up once a night to nurse when sick or teething. For the past week he has been waking up 3 to 4 times within an hour usually between midnight and 1am. He seems VERY hungry the first time, then he’ll wake up again in about 20 min or so and is usually hungry again. I think he may be getting his two year old molars, and I have started weaning him from the breast. I’m basically offering a cup of milk unless he asks for the breast. I feel very unsure about the exact reasons for him waking, and I really don’t know what to do. Any suggestions?
The Babywise Mom said..Michelle, I haven’t actually heard of this at this age. I think teething could be it. Rest assured there will be a reason and a good reason. It is something that can be addressed. Once you figure it out and address it, you should be able to solve the sleeping problem. Good luck!
- KJackson213 said…
My baby hasn’t been eating more that Ive noticed, but Ive been a LOT fuller in the mornings lately (so maybe shes just eating FASTER and Ive had enough milk?!). She’s been really cranky (shes almost 4 months btw), REALLY cranky. Shes never been a fussy baby, only when she was around 6 weeks, of course! 🙂 Sleeping seems to calm her, and she does go to sleep if I put her down about 15 min before the normal time, but she will just get happy all of a sudden and play if I put her in her crib before that. (btw I just dropped her fourth nap a week and a half ago). But then sometimes at night she will start talking to herself around 5 in the morning, and we get up at 6 so when we get up she will have been up for an hour already. Her next nap isnt until 8. Do u think her behavior is due to a dropped nap, or a growth spurt? Do they start sleeping MORE in relation to a dropped nap? I would appreciate your opinion.
The Babywise Mom said..She should be nursing faster than she has in the past.She might be teething. That is often a cranky-inducer.Cranky behavior before a nap is probably because she has been awake too long already. Usually with a growth spurt they will wake early, not get cranky before a nap.They sleep more after the growth spurt is over.They often need a little earlier of a bedtime after dropping a nap, which might explain the early waking in the morning. See also: 4 month Sleep Problems
Thanks for your help! Just got this one :). I have a question- I think my daughter’s going through a growth spurt now. Shes been waking up from naps again early (which were fixed), and eating everything available. Shes been getting very cranky after about an hour of being awake, and then goes to sleep but wakes up after 45 min so we’re doing feedings every 1 hr 45 min. When they go through a growth spurt, is feeding THIS often normal? We had been doing 3.5 schedule, then it went down to 3 when I realized she needed an extra feeding, and now shes waking at night once AND feeding every 1.5-2 hours during the day. Does this sound normal to you bc is seems like a lot to me. Anyway thanks!
The Babywise Mom said..It sounds like a lot to me also. If you are breastfeeding, I would check your milk supply to make sure it is where it needs to be. My kids didn’t eat more often with growth spurts after 4 months (but we started solids at 4 months), they just ate more food at each feeding.I can’t remember, does she have reflux? If so, she might need her meds increased.
- Jane said…
Question…many people say their baby sleeps from the dreamfeed until 6-7am. My 10 week old has yet to STTN and it seems that it is always because of the swaddling! He starts off the night well b/c of the swaddle, but always breaks free from it and cries because of that. As soon as we reswaddle him, he falls back asleep, so I know it’s not a hunger cry. I feel like he hasn’t been able to STTN b/c of that. Does everyone NOT swaddle their babies? Should I try letting him be free? Also, I feel like I’m always waking him up to feed him these days. We’re on a 3-3.5 hour schedule right now and waketimes are about 1-1.5 hours. At 10 weeks, what is the ideal bedtime (before the dreamfeed?)Thank you!!
Jane-I just wanted to comment on the swaddling. My son loved to be swaddled. He was swaddled up until 4 months then we slowly started weaning. We ended up buying the Miracle Blanket (online) and he was unable to break free from that. I think some babies need the swaddle and some don’t. The Miracle Blanket worked great for us!
The Babywise Mom said..Jane, 10 weeks is still in the range that he might not be STTN only 7-8 hours. Many people swaddle, and there are even some who swaddle past 6 months old. In our case, Brayden hated it and was never swaddled once we left the hospital. Kaitlyn did well with the swaddle, but around 3 months old it became a disruption to her sleep and we stopped swaddling her. It doesn’t hurt to try letting him be free and see what happens.It is possible he needs to be swaddled and is waking because he is out of it. If that is the case, you might want to try a different blanket/swaddler that is more capable of holding him in the swaddle now that he is older. Bedtime is dependent on waketime and also feeding times. Most bedtimes are around 7-8ish, but some are earlier, others are later. See the blog lable “bedtime” for more on that topic.Thanks LEM for your thoughts 🙂
- Ashley said…
hi,i have a question about a possible growth spurt. my 11 month old son has been sleeping thru the night and eating on a four hour schedule (3 solid meals a day & 4 (6-8 oz bottles). this last week he has been acting like he isn’t satisfied and always hungry. a couple of days he has had 6 – 8 oz. bottles during the day in addition to solids & waking from 1-3 AM and drinking a full 8 oz. bottle. i called the pediatrician and the nurse said he should not be taking that many bottles, only about 16 oz. of formula a day, the rest water, and to let him snack more throughout the day and eat more “food”. everything i’ve read seems to be the total opposite of that and i know he needs more than 16 oz. a day. i don’t want to get in the habit of feeding him “snacks” all day. he eats lots of solids, finger foods, etc during his “meals”, and i don’t think i can get any more of that in him. i’m just wondering what your opinion is. do i continue feeding him in the night? or stop that and just let him drink more during the day? i just don’t want him to starve. thanks for any suggestions. 🙂
The Babywise Mom said..Ashley,I don’t bottlefeed, but 16 ounces sounds like a very low number. I do 24 ounces at a year when I wean from breastfeeding. I would try to get more ounces in him during the day so he doesn’t need to eat in the night. He is old enough that even a growth spurt really shouldn’t cause for need to eat in the night, and you might end up creating a hard habit to break. Also, offer him more solids in the day if he will take them.
- Lisa said…
Hi. My son is almost 5 mos old. We started him on rice cereal a week ago. He’s been nursing 5 times a day, but we are trying to stretch that to 4. He’s an excellent sleeper and will go about 11 hrs at night and still take 2-3 good naps during the day. The past few days he has been waking up between 5 and 6am (he normally sleeps until 7:30). He babbles for a few minutes but starts crying and the only thing that will quiet him is feeding him. I think he might have hit a growth spurt, as he’s thinner than he has been – I think he grew long. He doesn’t feel lighter to me. I’d be fine letting him CIO but my daughter is right next door and is still in school for 3 weeks – I can’t let him be too loud & wake her. Thoughts on why this is happening all of a sudden or what I can do?? Thanks!
Lisa, There are a lot of possibilities. See this post:5-8 Month Sleep Disruptions
- LindsayJay said…
Hello! I am a first time mom and my little one just celebrated her one month old bday today…I’m a huge follower (or hope to be) of babywise, studied it profusely during pregnancy, but am having a hard time implementing it. As I started this week, my little one is experiencing what I can only describe as a growth spurt. Feeding just about 1 1/2 after the end of her last feeding, very cranky and inconsolable. The doctor and I did realize she has reflux and is on some very light medicine for this, which is definately helping. However, her naptimes are becoming a bit difficult. She was awake for 6 hours yesterday, including feedings, and nothing I could do to put her down. Needless to say, she slept for 5 hours and then another 3 after a feeding last night. This morning we started fresh with lots of sleep, fed at 8:15 for 45 minutes, had about 30 minutes of wake time, and then down for a nap that only lasted 45 minutes. She was wide awake for a bit until the next feeding, then she ate, only 20 minutes of wake time is what I allowed, rocked her a bit, put her down sleepy but awake, and now she is crying in her crib. It kills me to let her cry, but I don’t know if I should go to her, or let her cry. Clean diaper, full belly, was content and basically asleep for about 5 minutes and now awake. I really want this all to work, and I know it takes time, but I get so frustrated!
The Babywise Mom said..LidseyJay,4 weeks is a very common time for a growth spurt.It sounds like your waketime is too long for a 4 week old. At 4 weeks, it is usually 30-50 minutes, including feeding time. Since your little one takes 45 minutes to eat, you will likely want to try for 45-60 minutes. When McKenna was that age, she took 30 minutes to eat and then stayed up for at most another 15 minutes.Also, try to not stress out about soothing your young baby. I think it is good to try to get them to sleep on their own, but sleeping is better than not. So have your goals in mind. First would be to have her fall asleep on her own. If she isn’t ready for that, then soothe her to sleep but have the goal of her sleeping in her bed. Be sure to read the CIO posts for more help with that.
- Naomi Jones said…
How do I know when my baby is finished having a growth spurt?
Naomi, it is hard to tell for sure. Most likely, your baby will still wake up early but then not eat well. It will just be because of being used to waking early. In that case, I just help the baby fall back asleep and she bounces back fast. Some babies (especially older ones) will just start sleeping as usually.
- Joanna said…
Hi, I have a question regarding number of feedings at night and diaper changes. My baby is 4 weeks. He is now eating roughly at 10pm, 1:45, and 5am. We like to start his day at 7 (so anytime between 6:30 – 7:30). I think he could possibly go longer between feedings, except that he wakes up multiple times during the night with wet & dirty diapers. Often he will wake up after 3 hours (or less) needing a diaper change, and not show signs of hunger. Sometimes we will just change him & put him back to bed, but he’ll wake up again within an hour with another diaper. Is this normal – I’m afraid he’ll never get closer to sleeping through the night at this rate! Sometimes we’ll just go ahead & feed him so that it eliminates another time that we’ll need to get up. How many feedings per night should there be at this point? I think he could go much longer between feedings, if he didn’t wake up so often for diaper changes. No one else that I talk to seems to have had a baby so sensitive! Thanks!
The Babywise Mom said..Joanna, by now, he should be at about 7 weeks, and thus should have at most one night feeding. That would be one feeding between 10 PM-7 AM. He might have none. But he could have one still.I always put baby in a larger diaper at night if baby is close to the top of the diaper size range. So when McKenna wore size one in the day, she wore two at night. Many moms also go for huggies overnighters and love them. I would recommend trying one of those things out.
- Summer said…
val- what a great post!it seems to me that many babies are fussy when hungry, have you ever suspected a growth spurt without crying/ fussing? my 16 wk DD is having sudden nap trouble. according to my logs, for the past month she has slept from 4-6 hrs a day in naps (usually closer to the 4 hr end total). but the past couple days she has had most naps of just 30 min each, 3-4 X a day. i was doing CIO when she woke early from the nap, but once i stopped that, she is perfectly content to be out and about at home. this has never been the case! i do CIO to begin all naps and bedtime and that’s improved today (less CIO time) since i moved up her feedings to every 2.5 hrs (which i have NEVER done before). she’s just awake, awake, awake! as far as breastfeeding goes, she’s always been a great breastfeeder IMO and today offering feedings sooner seem welcomed by her (not sure as much is coming out as usual, i cant hear her swallowing as often). but she’s nursing for 20-30 min, which is longer than normal for her, which is the ONLY reason (other than the severe drop in nap time) that i am suspecting a growth spurt. i am just going to go with it, but i wonder if you’ve ever had a child be this way or if it sounds more like something else (like a baby that doesn’t need sleep! LOL). BTW, we were on a 3 hr schedule and she does sleep 11.5-12 hrs every night with no DF. thank you, Summer
The Babywise Mom said..Summer, Some babies are easily distracted when hungry. So if they are out and about with you, then they can remain happy even though they are hungry. So she could be waking from hunger, but content to wake. I would say if she is happier on a 2.5 schedule, do that. I don’t think it is a baby that doesn’t need sleep 🙂 All babies need sleep 🙂
- Ryan said…
Hi, I used babywise since 6 weeks with my now 11 month old with great success. From about 8 weeks up til about 9 months she used to have 2 good naps during the day (45 mins each) and sleep 12-14 hours at night uninterrupted. We now are really struggling and I dont understand why. She has not had good daytime naps for about 2 months -if she sleeps at all during the day it is rare. I know she is tired but she will just either play in her cot or cry until I come get her. The last month or so she has also started waking most nights at least once – sometimes really upset, sometimes just awake and singing to herself. I usually go in initially if she is crying and offer juice and then leave her to cry and she usually stops within the hour. She is now developing a new habit of not going to sleep for until about 9pm (she used to go down at 6pm and be asleep within minutes). She will play for a bit then really start crying. I then go in and try to rock her asleep and it tends to work -but I just wonder what Im doing wrong? My wonderful little sleeper now does not sleep! I know she is tired -my mum keeps insisting that she probably needs less sleep but I can tell she is tired. Please help!
- lpeitsch said…
Hi there,Great blog, thanks for it! My 3 month old seems to be in a growth spurt. He is having troubles napping, especially his first morning nap after his first feeding of the day. He is often unsettled (not crying, more whimpering, but not sleeping nonetheless!), for the first 30-45 minutes of his nap and then gets only 30 minutes of sleep at the most. I have tried cutting back his waketime by 5 minute increments, but it still seems to be happening. Any suggestions? Is it possible that he needs more waketime? Or another feeding only an hour and a half later? He naps anywhere from 1 hour – 2 hours for his other daytime naps…with his 4th nap (from around 5 pm to his last feeding of the day) being one that I always have to wake him up for to feed or else he would most likely keep on sleeping! I thought that most babies have their 4th nap be the shortest of them all? His is the longest. Almost like his body is tricked into thinking that it’s bedtime. This nap has been this way for quite some time, before the growth spurt kicked in. Is that okay? Also, I was wondering is it okay to not have waketime after a bedtime feed? I have been feeding him at around 7:30 pm and he seems tired so I just change his diaper, sing to him and then put him down for the night. He makes it through to around 6:30 am – 7:00 am. I guess if he is doing well with that, stick to it? No need for a dreamfeed if he is already doing around 11 hours of nighttime sleep on his own right? Thanks so much for your thoughts!
The Babywise Mom said..He might need a longer waketime for the morning nap. Since you have tried shorter waketime, go ahead and try longer to see if it helps.Yes, it is okay to have no waketime right before bed if needed. There is at least some while feeding and changing his diaper, so that is totally fine.
- Martha said…
Hi Val, my LO is 3.5 weeks old and we’re still working on establishing her schedule. I’m still trying to get to know her! I’ve got lots of questions. First of all, she’s been pretty much on a schedule since birth because she was a very sleepy baby. She’s always giving off hunger cues so instead of feeding her all the time, I’ve just stuck to the schedule. She never pulls off the breast, she’ll fall asleep but not stay away and show me that she’s had enough. I’ve tried pulling her off when her suck sequence isn’t “suck suck swallow” but then she still seems hungry. I give her a pacifier and she seems content. One thing I worry about though is not knowing if she actually is hungry, for example if she’s going through a growth spurt. Could her hunger cues really be hunger cues or is she just always rooting so that she can suck on something? How can I know that I’ve fed her enough if she always still seems hungry? Right now I feed her for 30 minutes and assume she’s full. I don’t think I have issues with my milk supply because she’s usually gulping for about 20 minutes and she slows down for the last 10 (almost falls asleep). I’d appreciate any advice on her eating habits. Thank you.
The Babywise Mom said..Martha, I would say most babies that young do not pull from the breast and refuse to eat when they have had enough, especially if the like to sleep at the breast. The best way to know if she is eating enough is to watch her growth and her diaper output. Good luck!
- Masons Journey said…
I need help. I have been doing babywise for months now. I have a 8.5 month old. He wakes up a lot during the night and still eats at 4:30 am. He goes to bed at 9:00 and sleeps generally until 7:30 but latley has been waking up at 6:00 am for the day. We have done CIO and it seemed to help at first. Now if he wakes and we do not go in he whines and cries for a long time, sometimes an hour. We gernerally do not go in unless after 4 am and at that time I feed him. I would love to drop the feeding and get him to just stay asleep. If you have any suggestions please let me know. Thank you
Masons Mommy,Weissbluth suggests an early bedtime to help with night wakings. If you want him to wake up at 7 AM, I would move bedtime up to around 7 PM.
- Tracy said…
hi, i have a question…our son has been on a 3.5 to four hour feeding sched. during the day and sleeping through the night. He was just three months old five days ago. Since then he has been waking up every 1 to two hours at night to eat, but sticking to his daytime schedule. I’m pretty sure this is a growth spurt. it’s not been five nights, any thoughts/suggestions? I feel like he’s got his day and night feedings mixed up. I’have tried shortening time between daytime feedings but he’s not really hungry (he eats five times during teh day becaseu we do a little cluster before he sleeps at night). Thanks for any advice you have. He is over 15 pounds and I breast feed.Thanks.
The Babywise Mom said..Tracy, I would suggest you look at my nighttime sleep issues post to see if there might be another reason for his waking in the night. If it is a growth spurt, I would think he would be willing to eat more often in the day.If, however, you are sure it is a growth spurt, I would try to soothe him back to sleep in the night without at least one feeding then try adding those feedings back to the day instead. Good luck!
THANK YOU so much for responding! I now think it is not a growth spurt but for whatever reason he is not getting the calories during the day…i now feed every three hours with both breasts but still not changing. I’ll check your sleep issue posts.Again, thank you for responding I really APPRECIATE it.
- Danny and Danet said…
Hi, I’m a new mom with an almost 6 week old who has been on a fairly consistent 3 hour routine the last fee weeks and from birth has woken typically once in the middle of the night. Last sunday is when we started implementing a dream feed and he’s done well, waking at 330/4, eating and going back to sleep till near 7. Sometimes wakes at 5 and if not resttled, I feed him then and again at 730 at the latest. This weekend I thought maybe he got off a bit because of his evening being thrown off 2 nights in a row, but though sun seemed normal, he woke up at 230 & 530 needing to eat mon morn. I did some research and realized he was likely having a growth spurt, manifest by his waking an hour/ half hour early from his normally 1.5-2 hour naps all day sunday and again mon. mon I focused on feedin him when he woke early, about every 2 hpurs, sometimes 1.5, and he always took a full feeding. I breastfeed btw. we did his dream feed at 1045 last night, which wasn’t as long or productive as i’d have liked. He just woke up again 20 min sho at 230 exactly. I went in, gave him his pacifier, and am waiting to see if he wakes up again. If he does, I plan to feed him, but am having a hard time deviding if that means he still didn’t eat enough during the day (possible milk supply issue?), if I may have another day of growth catch up to do with him? Or if he is just waking out of habit. Any tips would help! This blog has been so incredible this last week! So far its been 30 min and he’s still out btw. He just woke up again around 330, but that’s normal time and i’m feeding him now. . Any odeas bead on what i’ve said?
Danny and Danet,It sounds like a growth spurt. It is also the time when your prolactin levels lower, so your body won’t make as much milk naturally (from what I understand). So it might be growth spurt or it might be your baby knowing he needs to eat more often to make sure the supply stays up. Once your body catches up, he will be fine and go back to normal eating.
This post was originally published September 12, 2009 and has been merged with a post published December 19, 2007