baby growth spurts

Your newborn baby will grow rapidly in the first couple of months, and sometimes you'll suspect that your baby has grown overnight! Read on to learn all about baby growth spurts: what they are, what signs to look out for, and how to deal with them.

What Are Growth Spurts?

A growth spurt refers to a period of intense, rapid growth in a short period of time. You may notice that your infant or toddler seems to have grown overnight when this happens. Length (height) and weight are the two most obvious measures of growth in a baby. During the first year, babies on average add about 10 inches (25 centimeters) in length and triple their birth weight. Babies' heads also grow a lot, especially during the first four months. It's likely that your baby will grow at a fairly steady rate, but it’s also possible your infant will have what are called growth spurts.

When Do Babies Have Growth Spurts?

Most babies lose around one-tenth of their birth weight in the first five days after birth; then, they tend to regain it in the next five days. After your newborn has returned to her birth weight, you may observe that she grows rapidly and goes through another growth spurt between 3 to 6 weeks. However, different babies may have growth spurts at different times. Check with your baby's healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about your little one's growth or development. Growth spurts in toddlers are less common. After age 1, growth tends to slow down, and by age 2, children start to grow at a more steady rate until just before puberty. A major growth spurt is common between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls, and between 10 and 15 for boys. You may want to track your baby’s growth spurts in our Baby Growth Chart Calculator to see how quickly your little one is growing.

What Are the Signs of Baby Growth Spurts?

You may be wondering if there are any signs of a growth spurt to look out for. Here are a few things you may observe just before your little one shoots up a size:

  • Your baby is hungry more often. Around the time your baby goes through a growth spurt, you may notice he’s hungrier than usual. Your baby may show signs of increased hunger by crying a lot, appearing restless, or sticking out his tongue or sucking on his hands and lips.

  • Your baby may show more fussiness. Your baby may appear cranky or even cry a lot just before a growth spurt. However, symptoms of fussiness or crankiness can occur because of other conditions, such as colic, especially if the crying happens around the same time of day every day.

How to Deal With Infant Growth Spurts

If you notice your baby is showing the above signs and it looks like she’s about to have a growth spurt, there are a few things you can do to help:

  • Feed your baby more if she seems hungry. Make sure your baby gets the nourishment she needs for her upcoming growth spurt and her overall development. If she’s breastfed, you can nurse her more often, as this will help stimulate more milk production. If she’s formula-fed, you can give her a little more at each feeding or you can feed her more often.

  • Help your baby sleep. Create a good sleeping environment by keeping the lights low and try to create a routine before bedtime, which can help your little one sleep better. If your baby likes to nap more during the day, like three or four hours, and you’re worried she won’t get enough sleep at night, you can wake her up and play with her.

  • Help soothe your fussy or cranky baby. If you’ve ruled out other causes for your baby being fussy or cranky, then try to soothe your baby by rocking or cuddling her, or even talking to her or doing things that you find calm her.

The Bottom Line

All parents expect to see their baby grow and develop, but don’t be surprised if your little one seems to have grown overnight when she goes through a growth spurt! You may spot some of the signs a baby’s growth spurt is coming before it happens, like being hungrier or being a little fussier than normal. Or, you’ll simply notice your baby has gone up a size all of a sudden without showing any of the baby growth spurt symptoms. Growth spurts are normal and natural in the first few months of a baby's life. They’re nothing to worry about, but if you do notice your little one is hungrier than normal or even a little cranky, then it’s possible you’ll wake up to a bigger baby.