Feel like your child has been possessed by the devil himself? Crying, fussy, constantly wanting to feed and be held? Is s/he about 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, or 6 months old? Well, hello growth spurt!
I was in New York City this past weekend, visiting one of my closest friends and her new 6 week old baby. According to my friend, her sweet little bundle of joy had turned into a crying mess in the past day or two....which, in turn, induced some bouts of crying in her as well. At first glance, I thought maybe this sweet babe was a little overstimulated with me being there. Not so much the case. Over the next 48 hours, sweet NYC baby ate almost every 1 1/2 hours, slept for about 20 minutes, and then fussed until the next feeding. It was almost impossible to soothe her and becoming quite challenging for adorable NYC mommy. Then the tide turned....NYC babe completely hibernated. For about 24 hours, she slept for 3-hour stretches, woke up to eat, and then fell into another deep sleep. She was definitely making up for her marathon eating frenzy that occurred the 48 hours before. By the fourth day, sweet NYC baby had returned to her normal self....eating, sleeping, pooping, cooing, repeat! NYC mommy had survived the growth spurt and all was back to normal in their 800 square-foot apartment.
Now, I talk about these growth spurts all of the time with my new clients, however, I hadn't personally experienced one myself in about 3 years. Talk about some perspective! While these growth spurts typically last 48-72 hours, they are absolutely exhausting. Thank goodness my friend knew that this was a temporary occurrence and that it served an important purpose....to help build her future milk supply. Many mothers think that this growth spurt behavior is an indication that they have no milk, which is not the case at all. Growth spurts happen so that your baby can help increase you milk supply as s/he continues to grow and flourish. And let me repeat....they are temporary!
So, if your baby is going through a growth spurt, hang in there..... it won't last forever. In the meantime, find a friend who can give you a break for a few minutes so that you can take a shower. Breastfeed often and frequently...remember, this is to help increase your future milk supply. Order take out or ask someone to bring dinner over. Wear your baby in a sling/carrier/wrap so that he/she can feel close to you and be easily soothed. Celebrate once the growth spurt is over and give yourself a pat on the back for surviving one of parenthood's more exhausting moments!