We’ve all heard the comments from the grandparents at birthday parties over the years: “Oh my gosh, look how big they’ve gotten! I swear they were half the size just last week!”. It can be tedious for the children to hear this all the time, but the truth is they are shooting up like a rocket and it will have an impact on their quality of sleep (this is especially true for newborns). We’re going to explore how growth spurts effect sleep as well as look at some techniques for getting through them.
So, why do growth spurts have an impact on sleep? What can I do to help?
The answer to this question is very intriguing as it delves into the inner working of the body. See, when your bub is fast asleep, their body is working to produce the protein human growth hormone (HGH), so their body doesn’t even get any real rest time in. This leads to them needing more sleep than usual during their growth periods. If they are becoming fussier throughout the day, they may need an extra nap that day to gain the recharge their body requires. Their eating habits can follow a similar route too. Creating HGH uses up a lot of the body’s energy and therefore it needs a larger amount of sustenance. If your bub is still breastfeeding/bottle-fed, an extra 2 or 3 feeds a week is recommended if they become fussy about feeding. Be sure not to feed too often as they will only end up with a sore stomach.
The major signs to look out for when it comes to growth spurts are:
– Fussiness around feeding and sleeping
– Sudden increase in appetite
– Extra clinginess
– They have recently gained a noticeable amount of weight
While these signs aren’t exclusive to growth spurts, these are the best indicators of one taking place. Growth spurts can also be spurred along with a leap as well, so after they’ve grown, they might also know a new skill!
One more thing that should be addressed is the term “growing pains”. You might have heard this phrase thrown around here and there to explain why growth spurts can be a little painful. The truth is, there has never been scientific proof found that correlates muscle aches with the growth of your body. The most likely culprit for muscle aches, especially in the legs, is simply everyday activity along with exercise. If you’ve had a long day at the gym or even just walked a considerable amount, once your legs are done with all that workout, they will start to ache. As muscles in children are still developing, they cannot withstand as much energy as a full-grown adult, therefore they will ache more often. This has led to many parents attributing this to “growing pains”. While there are challenges that come with growth spurts, it is good to know that they aren’t causing your bub pain.
The final note we’d like to make is that these will all mainly occur from the time when your little one is a newborn to around 12 months old. Be sure to be on the lookout for these signs and to make sure your bub is getting the rest they need if they are having a growth spurt. Remember, these changes will not be putting your bub through pain, only a little bit of interrupted sleep.
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