When a baby suddenly wants to feed more often this is known as a growth spurt. This is baby’s way of increasing mums milk supply to meet his needs. Babies who are bottlefeeding will also experience these growth spurts.
They commonly occur at 2-3 weeks, 6 weeks and 3 months but may vary from baby to baby.
What can you do?
If breastfeeding, continue to breastfeed on demand and don’t be tempted to give a top up with formula. If supplementary feeds are given at this time instead of breast then the supply does not increase as it should and baby will continue to need these extra feeds. This usually results is the beginning of the weaning process.
Normally growth spurts last a few days but can go on for up to a week.
Normally growth spurts last a few days but can go on for up to a week. Once the supply increases baby usually settles again.
Do remember that this is a normal part of breastfeeding and no indication that your milk is insufficient. The process of supply and demand is again here as in the very early days of breastfeeding. Trust that by following baby’s lead and feeding on demand all will turn out fine.
If you are bottlefeeding, you can increase the amount of formula that you are giving baby throughout the day.
A few tips to help during a growth spurt
- If baby wakes up within 2 hours of a feed then try putting him back on the same breast he finished on in order to make sure he is getting all the hindmilk and then move over to the other breast to finish. If baby switches breasts too soon in a feed it can result in foremilk/hindmilk imbalance. This means that baby is getting a lot of foremilk which is greater in volume but lower in fat , and less hindmilk , which is higher in fat but smaller in volume. The hindmilk tends to keep baby asleep for longer as it has more calories.
- Another way of making sure baby is getting all the milk in the breast and a bit more rapidly is to use breast compression when he is actively sucking. This helps to deliver the milk more rapidly and is good if baby is sleepy/slow feeder.
- If breastfeeding, avoid pacifiers/bottles at this stage as your baby needs to do all sucking at the breast.
- Remember to get extra rest yourself as tiredness can have an impact on your supply.
- If bottlefeeding, increase the amount of milk you are offering as needed. Start with just 1-2 extra ounces and see how baby goes. Again this will probably settle down in about 5-7 days.