baby growth spurts

Your newborn will grow and develop continuously throughout their first year of life – that’s a given. But from time to time, they’ll also experience a few baby growth spurts and may even appear to have grown overnight! When do babies have these growth spurts? We’ve got all the details and more, including what growth spurts are and how to support them.

What Are Growth Spurts?

A growth spurt refers to a period of rapid growth in a short amount of time. You may notice that your baby seems to have grown overnight when this happens.

Length (height), weight and head circumference are the most obvious measures of growth in a baby and provide signs that your little one is healthy and feeding well. From birth to 6 or 9 months, babies grow quickly and may have times of more rapid growth (growth spurts). After 1 year, the rate of growth slows.

When Do Babies Have Growth Spurts?

Baby growth spurts can happen at any time. Because all babies develop differently, your little one might not follow the same exact pattern as others, and that’s OK. However, it’s common for newborns to lose weight within the first week after birth. By 2 weeks, most babies regain that weight, though some require a bit more time.

After that, your baby will be weighed once a month up until 6 months, and once every two months until 1 year. In that time, they may experience growth spurts in their newborn or older baby months, which commonly occur at:

  • 10 days

  • 3 weeks

  • 6 weeks

  • 3 months

  • 4 months

  • 6 months

  • 9 months.

Your baby might experience other growth spurts outside of these common intervals, as all children are different. You may want to create a baby growth spurt chart by using our Baby Growth Chart Calculator to see how quickly your newborn is growing.

In Summary

Once your baby is born, they’ll likely lose some birth weight and regain it over the first week or so. Then, baby growth spurts typically occur several times throughout the first year of life, at 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 12 weeks, 24 weeks and 36 weeks. Growth will probably slow down after your baby turns 1.

Signs of Baby Growth Spurts

Although growth spurts can happen at multiple ages, there are some common signs to look out for. Here are some things you may notice just before your little one grows a size or reaches a new milestone:

  • Cluster feeding. Around the time your baby goes through a growth spurt, you may notice they’re hungrier than usual and you might need to adjust their feeding schedule. Your little one might even wake up more often for feeds.

  • Clinginess or fussiness. Your baby may appear fussy, cranky or unsettled and require a few extra cuddles and hugs. They might even cry a lot just before a growth spurt. 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.

  • More tired than usual. All that fussiness can impact your baby’s sleep schedule, including naptime. These interruptions could lead to your little one feeling a bit sleepier than usual.

RELATED ARTICLE

Newborn Development
Baby Weight and Growth Charts for Boys and Girls

How to Support Your Newborn’s Growth Spurts

If you notice your baby is showing the above signs of a growth spurt, there are a few things you can do to help:

  • Feed your baby more if they seem hungry. It’s best to feed your baby when they’re hungry, so if your little one is going through a growth spurt, they may need additional feeds throughout the day. Common hunger cues – signs that your baby is hungry – include restlessness, sucking on fingers, making murmuring sounds and rooting (turning and opening their mouth).

  • Help soothe your fussy or cranky baby. If you’ve ruled out other causes for your baby being fussy or cranky, try to soothe them. You can hold your baby and rock or cuddle them, listen to soothing music, stroke their back or give them a warm bath.

  • Help your baby sleep. Sleep training techniques typically result in your little one sleeping better. And if growth spurts are interrupting your baby’s sleep, you may need to revisit some of those strategies. Try sticking to a bedtime routine, limiting stimulation before bed and creating a dark and calm sleeping environment, especially when your baby is going through a growth spurt.

Tip

You’ll quickly learn your baby’s sleep cues, which will indicate that they’re ready to settle down for a snooze. Keep an eye out for these typical sleep cues:

  • yawning
  • rubbing eyes
  • pulling at the ears or hair
  • becoming quiet or less responsive
  • droopy eyes
  • arched back
  • rooting or wanting to feed.

FAQS AT A GLANCE

  • Signs of baby growth spurts include:

    • acting cranky, fussy or unsettled
    • being hungrier or sleepier than usual.

    Plus, because baby growth spurts are short periods of rapid growth, you’ll probably also notice your little one putting on more weight, growing longer or their head circumference increasing.

  • Yes and no. Babies may feel cranky, fussy and hungrier than usual when going through a growth spurt, which can disrupt their sleep. So although they’ll appear sleepier, it may be difficult for them to get the sleep they need.

  • No, your little one won’t feel physical pain when experiencing a growth spurt. However, rapid growth isn’t always comfortable, so they may cry more or appear clingier or fussier than usual.

  • Growth spurts typically last just a few days, but every baby is different. Your little one might experience longer or shorter a growth spurts. Speak to your midwife or doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

The Bottom Line

All parents expect to see their children grow and develop over the years, but baby growth spurts can happen quickly, leaving you thinking your little one has grown overnight! You may spot some of the signs that your baby’s growth spurt is coming before it happens, like being hungrier or little fussier than normal.

A growth spurt can happen at multiple ages, such as 10 days, 6 weeks or 3 months, which is normal and natural in the first year of your 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, be prepared to change up to a bigger size of nappy soon!

How We Wrote This Article
The information in this article is based on the expert advice found in trusted medical and government sources, such as the National Health Service (NHS). You can find a full list of sources used for this article below. The content on this page should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult medical professionals for full diagnosis and treatment.