All babies go through growth spurts in their first year. For a few days, they become a little fussier, a little bit more demanding, and a whole lot hungrier! It is a tiring and trying time for breastfeeding moms. The baby feeds constantly--demanding a bigger milk volume from mom; wakes up more often and needs more attention—giving mom less time for sleep or rest (or anything else for that matter!). The good thing though is that there is an end in sight and the trials of growth spurts only last a few days.
It’s not that moms aren’t producing enough, babies just need more One of the biggest concerns of breastfeeding moms during growth spurts is the feeling that their milk supply is not enough. This is a fairly reasonable fear because all of a sudden their happy and contented baby which usually nurses every 3 hours or so becomes a fussy baby wanting to feed almost 24-7! First thing to remember is that there is no reason to panic. Babies grow at an amazing rate during the first year and moms should remember that a growth spurt is exactly that and babies need lots of milk to accomplish that. Nurse as often as baby wants. Not only will doing this teach mom’s body to produce more milk, it will also help soothe baby during an equally trying time.
It would also be a big no-no to supplement during this time. Supplementing with formula can lead to loss in milk production. Growth spurts are also signals for the mom’s body to produce more milk for their growing baby. It may be a rough couple of days but don’t give in to the temptation to supplement feed.
Rest and a little bit of help Babies experiencing growth spurts can wake up more often at night and stay awake more during the day so it is also important for moms to accept this and slow down during these days. Moms have to realize that their baby’s growth spurts do take a toll on their bodies as well. Drink a lot of fluids, eat healthy meals and snacks and get a lot of rest with the help of friends and relatives.
Ask a family member or a close friend to help you out with the house work for a few days and take the laundry to the Laundromat instead of doing it at home—being sleep-deprived and overtaxed with work will not do both mom and baby any good. Remember, to be able to provide for the baby and its needs, moms need to care for their bodies as well.
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