Do Growth Spurts Affect Your Baby’s Sleep Habits?

By Misty on in Baby Sleep Help Health Concerns with 14 Comments

Do Growth Spurts Affect Your Baby’s Sleep Habits?
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Babies are little miracles, full of wonder and innocence. We marvel at how their simplicity can create such complexity for parents, complexity especially when it comes to understanding baby sleep patterns.

Newborn babies basically sleep when tired, it’s that simple, they have no learned patterns or schedules and for many parents trying to get them to conform to a sleep routine seems rather futile. About the time you think you’ve worked out a comfortable four or five hour sleep habit, it all goes haywire.

Suddenly your little one seems to be hungry all of the time, he/she seems to sleep very little, and you wonder what went wrong, how will you ever keep up. You wonder what happen to that calm sleeping schedule and if you will ever get it back. Don’t worry you will and you will find the patience and endurance to remain a loving parent.

Do growth spurts affect your baby’s sleep habits?

Yes, indeed they do and for the first few months there will be quite a number of baby growth spurts. This is a time when your developing baby is rapidly changing right before your eyes and their sleep habits will change remarkably.

What you need to understand is that these growth spurts are simply a time when your baby needs increased food for energizing their little bodies. Their shortened sleep patterns are caused by their near insatiable need to feed, which can take quite a toll on breast-feeding moms.

The good news is that although there will be many growth spurts during your young baby’s life they typically will only last a few days, usually only three or four. Which means you will have time to catch-up on your sleep soon.

So what can you do to help your baby through these growth spurts and changing times?

  • Be patient, keep in mind that this growing baby behavior will last only a few short days. Find some means to reduce your stress and anxiousness as you are doing nothing wrong to cause your baby to be so hungry and at times overly cranky.
  • Remember your baby has limited ways to communicate right now and they may cry more, fidget more, and seem to be unusually irritable. They are simply saying feed me please.
  • So feed them often. This may be numerous times throughout the day and yes, even at night when you thought your baby’s sleep habits were finding a pattern. Feed them before they become overly irritable even if it was only a few moments ago.
  • Try feeding every 1 ½ to 2 1/2 hours instead of every 3 to 4 hours. Chances are you will not over feed them but you will be changing more diapers. This will help them nap more often and sleep more comfortably day and night.
  • If you are breast feeding take care of yourself, eat a healthy nutritious diet and stay hydrated. Get as much rest as you can, this will keep you strong for your baby and help you provide the nourishment they are asking for.
  • Find support. If possible, swap baby care time between Mom and Dad to allow the other to get some much needed sleep. Reach out to friends and family members to help with tasks around the home so that you can tend to the needs of your baby.

When all else fails simply remember growth spurts do not last long and soon you will have your lovely baby cuddling and sleeping soundly again.

Be sure to pick up your Kindle copy of the Sweet Sleep Baby A to Z Guide to Baby Sleep.

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  1. Edie Dykeman

    January 21, 2014 at 5:32 pm · Reply

    When I saw the title, and before I read the article, I thought growth spurts would make a difference. Especially since I knew they do for teenagers. You have provided detailed information that I hope reaches those who need to know what is happening to their baby and what they can do about it. Sure wish I had this information was my girls were young.

    1. Misty

      January 21, 2014 at 8:28 pm · Reply

      Thank you Edie. You're right, teenagers get the same thing. The important thing is for parents to be patient...I know it can be frustrating, but always remember "this too shall pass"!

  2. Salma

    January 21, 2014 at 10:43 pm · Reply

    My little ones are toddlers and it's not too long ago that we went through those grown spurts. They can definitely be challenging when going through them. Good tips.

    1. Misty

      January 22, 2014 at 12:43 pm · Reply

      Congratulations on making it through Salma! Of course, I'm sure you still have more of it coming with toddlers. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Lynda Lippin

    January 22, 2014 at 1:39 am · Reply

    We easily forget the achiness of growing pains. Tissue stretching and building. Ouch. And then you have the brain and attention changes. Of course it will have an effect on sleep.

    1. Misty

      January 22, 2014 at 12:44 pm · Reply

      Yes, and throw in some teething here and there and you have the makings for a cranky baby! We can get through it though.

  4. Bonnie Gean

    January 22, 2014 at 3:50 am · Reply

    I don't miss the nights of "no sleep" and am grateful that's all said and done with my little girl being 35 years old now. It was a terrible time during growth spurts because she was eating way more than I thought she should and getting cranky after every feeding. I never got much sleep and had to move in with my sister for a few weeks until I could get back on track and felt rested enough to resume my role as mommy!

    1. Misty

      January 22, 2014 at 12:46 pm · Reply

      That's great to hear. We all need support while going through it and your sister sounds like she was it for you.

  5. Tamsin

    January 22, 2014 at 7:03 am · Reply

    Oh Wow! Yes, those growth spurts - it never ceases to amaze me what a baby does in it's first year ... so I guess we shouldn't be too surprised that their sleep patterns are not set - and like life, the only constant is change!

    1. Misty

      January 22, 2014 at 12:47 pm · Reply

      That's very true Tamsin. We can try to set schedules all day long, but if something interrupts it, like growth spurts or even teething, that schedule is going to get thrown out of the window. We just have to learn to accept change, deal with it and move on.

  6. Jen

    January 22, 2014 at 2:05 pm · Reply

    I wouldn't have traded it for the world, but I definitely don't miss the infant days! My nine year old daughter still goes through growth spurts but they are much further spread out and more manageable and recognizable the older your child is. Great post - very encouraging to new moms coping with their own sleep deprivation.

    1. Misty

      January 31, 2014 at 1:59 pm · Reply

      I hear ya Jen! My oldest is going to be 19 next month and just remembering all the growth spurts he went think I have another 18 years with my new little one. :)

  7. jenn alex brockman

    January 23, 2014 at 12:38 am · Reply

    I don't remember being aware of growth spurts in my babies, but my youngest has autism and she never slept and was always upset, so who knows if she was in pain from spurts or not?

    1. Misty

      January 31, 2014 at 2:00 pm · Reply

      All babies go through growth spurts, but it shouldn't put them in pain. It can make some nights a little sleepless though.

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