Last week I got to hold a 6-week-old baby. Baby S is alert and sweetand communicative and snuggly. And hungry. I walked into Baby S's
parents' apartment and said "Hi" and his mom said "He's been
clusterfeeding all day" in that tone of voice second-time mothers use.
I got there around 6:30 pm, and he'd been nursing for five hours, more
or less straight, and he nursed for most of the three hours I was
I know we're not supposed to overpraise kids, but Baby S is *really
good* at having a growth spurt. (His mom is good at riding it out, too.)
Here are the growth spurt basics:
* They happen at around 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months.
* They happen in breastfed and bottlefed babies.
* You will recognize a growth spurt because the baby will eat more for
anywhere from a few hours one day to all day for 3 or 4 days in a row.
And it could be anything from eating a little bit more, to an all-out
nursing almost constantly for hours at a time like Baby S (and both of
my kids) did.
* Some babies hit all growth spurts hard. Some babies don't seem to hit
growth spurts with any particular vigor. Some babies hit one or two of
the growth spurts harder than the others. It's all normal.
* For breastfed babies, the point is to bring your milk supply up. So if
you're nursing for hours and you feel tapped out, your baby may still
keep nursing anyway. Then in a day or two you'll be making way more
milk, which your baby will be more efficient at drinking (because of
the growth part of the growth spurt) so feedings probably won't take
any longer and might stretch out a lot.
* Lots of babies will sleep longer stretches after they come out of a
growth spurt. (But not all, so don't hate me if yours doesn't.)
* If you're bottlefeeding, the growth spurt is your cue that your baby is
going to start taking more formula at a feeding. But, as with breastfed
babies, the feedings might stretch out a little once the spurt is over.
* If you think of it, take a picture of your baby as soon as you figure
out it's a growth spurt. Then take another picture the next day. My
kids grew visibly over the course of a day during their 6-week growth
* You're doing a good job. The growth spurts can make you feel out of
control and inadequate, but they're normal and you're doing all the
right things. Have a glass of water and some chocolate.
Anecdotes about growth spurts? One of my worst parenting moments was in
day 1 of my older son's 3-week growth spurt, which happened when he was
17 days old. I'd nurse him, and he'd finish, and then start crying
again like he was hungry, but I knew he couldn't be because I'd just
nursed him. My mom had gone home the day before, and I had no one to
troubleshoot with, and I'd checked everything and he just kept crying,
and finally I screamed at him, "Why am I not good enough for you??" I
can't remember ever feeling worse about being a mother, not even when
the same child ate a piece of cat poop out of the litter box, drank
from a puddle of rainwater at the playground, or licked the floor of
the subway car during a tantrum.
Fortunately, I emailed my friend Lynne, mom of three, who said, "Oh,
it's just the three-week-growth spurt" and explained it all. So let me
just put some key search phrases in here for desperate parents on the
internet: baby won't stop eating baby won't stop nursing baby won't
stop crying baby won't stop breastfeeding baby wants more milk baby
wants more formula three week 3 week 6 week six week I am a shitty
mother please help.
Now you tell your growth spurt story, please.