What IS a growth spurt?
According to most of the sources I’ve been trawling and my own experience so far, they happen after about 1 week, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months. That’s a rough estimate and by no means scientifically-proven! During this period, the little one will, quite simply, grow. And fast. You’ll wake up one day and they’ll be a centimetre or two bigger.
Beforehand though, they’ll be cranky, fussy, and drive you to the brink of madness. You can’t stop them crying, they won’t sleep, they seem to want non-stop feeding. As I have written before, the first one tested M. and me to the limit. People don’t TELL you it’s going to happen (as with much of what happens in the early months – hey, that’s why I’m writing all this down!). You’ve got the little bundle of joy home and suddenly it’s screaming at you in tones which come from the deepest pits of hell. Hey, hang on. This parenthood lark isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! I want my freedom back!
Why does life get turned on it’s head?
I read up about this a lot. It would seem that the kid wants to feed a lot (i.e. constantly) to build up reserves of energy to sleep a lot and grow (apparently the growth takes place during sleep). If it can’t feed, it screams. It will be confused, so it screams. Did I mention that it screams? 😉
What can you do?
– You can’t stop it. You mustn’t stop it. This stuff is quite natural and extremely important for bubba’s growth and development.
– Keep as calm as you possibly can (and yes, I know, it’s VERY tough). Do not, whatever you do, give in to the urge to shake the baby to shut it up. Unlike being able to grab a child or adult by the shoulders and make them see some sense, the baby’s neck muscles are not strong at all and a vigourous shake will do SERIOUS physical damage, possible mental damage (I mean brain damage) and possibly even eventual death. What I did to calm myself down (forget about calming the baby) was to channel my rage and frustration (oh yes, you will feel this!) into sound and energy. I would make stupid noises, loudly, or clap my hands, to release some of the tensions. It really works.
– If you need a break from the whining, whimpering and crying, say so and take 5. It’s not a crime to raise the white flag.
– Talk to each other a lot. You’ll need mutual support and love.
– Chant our mantra (It helps. Really.).- Take the cues from bubba. Don’t try to set a routine for a growth spurt baby. You can’t. Get some fresh air if you can, but don’t be hell-bent on going out. If the baby needs sleep, let it sleep.
Now the good news:
Growth spurts don’t last too long – 2-3 days at most generally. That’ll seem like 2-3 years whilst you’re experiencing it. But our midwife (for all her faults) gave me a good piece of “advice”.
She said “How long has Sunshine actually cried for today?” Of course, it seemed like eons and eons, but then you say “Hm, maybe 2-3 hours?”. Hang on, that’s *3* hours out of *24* hours. That means you had 21 hours of peace! Look on the bright side.
At some point, I’ll get onto development spurts (we’re experiencing one right now at 4 months), but there’s little more to say about growth spurts. Guys, hang in there. It does pass quickly, meaning you’ve ticked off another one. Obviously, the more you can communicate with the baby in later months, the easier things will get, but it’s tough nonetheless.
Welcome to the world of parenthood!