A growth spurt is a rapid period of growth. As babies grow into adults, these occur at varying times. In the 0-6 month age range, growth spurts are noticeable (for most babies) between 10-14 days of age, at 4-6 weeks of age, around 3 months and again between 5-6 months. (1)
Most babies will go through a growth spurt. During that time, they may want to eat more often or for longer periods of time.
Usually you will notice an increase in the number of feedings or an increase in the length of feedings or both. Basically, the only way your baby has of telling your body to make more milk is to nurse more! (1) This growth spurt usually lasts 24-48 hours and then it’s done. You may notice your baby is fussier or more irritable or maybe doesn’t sleep as much during this time. Think of it as a “growing day”.
If you get the drastic version, realize your baby may nurse both sides and then want to start over–have a “third side”! Your baby may nurse in clusters, basically, several feedings in a row without much break. These are normal things to happen during a growth spurt. Nothing is wrong with you or your baby it is just a period of rapid growth and after a day or so it will settle down again. Hang in there for the day or two it takes for them to have their rapid growth and then things will settle down again. Again, this is normal and it won’t last.
After 24-48 hours, the number of feedings or the length of feedings will decrease again. Just remember, your baby did not read this. Their timing for a growth spurt may vary from these age ranges. For example, instead of day’s 10-14, they could do this on day 9 or 16. Just realize if you have a day where you feel like all you’ve done is feed your baby–that’s a growth spurt and its normal.
- Mohrbacher, N, Stock, J, La Leche League International The Breastfeeding Answer Book, 3rd Revised Edition, Schaumburg, IL, La Leche League International, Jan 2003, pp 38, 378.