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Growth Spurts…YIKES!

I don’t know about you, but when our girls are going through a growth spurt, our household is in disarray. In fact, we have started recognizing the “symptoms” of growth spurts so that we can adjust the way we handle certain situations accordingly. The first step though is recognizing them.

Here’s how to recognize your little sprout’s spurt:

 Your baby wants to eat nonstop. If you’ve been breastfeeding every three hours, your baby will now want to belly up to the milk bar every hour or two. That’s just fine. The more often your baby breastfeeds, the more he stimulates milk production to keep up with his growing appetite. Older babies will also want to nurse more and up their intake of the jarred stuff if they’re eating solids.

Your baby will be up more often at night. Even if your baby was sleeping for a blissful five- or six-hour stretch, during a growth spurt he’ll howl for a midnight snack, then one at 2 a.m., and 4 a.m., and so on. You may find your older baby waking up earlier from his naps, too.

Your baby will be crankier than usual. At the breast he’ll be extra fussy, latching and unlatching because he wants more milk right now, and your production might not be up to speed yet. Plus, all those late nights don’t help his mood (or yours!) either.

***Now that you have recognized the spurt and know what to expect, how do you deal with it? Here are some tips that we do in our household that help with this crazy time in life.***

HOW TO DEAL WITH BABY GROWTH SPURTS:

Since you were already struggling to get enough rest or do anything other than feed your baby, it’s extra-exhausting to have a newborn who suddenly treats breastfeeding like a 24-7 all-you-can-eat buffet. So make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated, recruit help from your partner or a friend to do dishes and other household chores, and settle in for the long haul. (A DVD can help pass the time.)

Whatever you do, don’t give up on breastfeeding now. When your baby seems hungrier and crankier than normal, you may worry that he’s not getting enough to eat and think about abandoning breastfeeding altogether. But those temporary round-the-clock feedings are actually your baby’s way of boosting your milk supply to keep pace with his oh-so-healthy appetite.

If you’re really concerned, keep an eye on two things: diapers and weight gain. If he’s packing on ounces (that adorable little T-shirt seem tighter today than it did two days ago, for example) and soaking five or six diapers a day, he’s doing just fine. Soon enough his hunger pangs will be over, the growth spurt will end, and things will settle back to normal. Until the next baby growth spurt hits, that is.

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