Welcome back to my breastfeeding diary. Since my last entry, written when Alex was 6 weeks old, breastfeeding has been going really well. Feeds are easy and painless and, although they are still very frequent, feeding times have become a lovely bonding experience for Alex and I. However, we have just been through a massive growth spurt which put me and my boobs to the test, if I thought Alex liked to feed a lot before I was very much mistaken. Babies tend to have lots of growth spurts in their first year, the major ones being at 2weeks, 6weeks, 3months and 6months. At 14 weeks old, Alex has been through 3 big growth spurts already and I thought I would share my tips on how to make it through a baby growth spurt when you are breastfeeding your baby.
How to survive a baby growth spurt.
When your baby is going through a growth spurt they are going to want to feed A LOT. Alex was going about 2/3 hours between feeds and feeding for about half hour each time. Once he hit 12weeks and his growth went into overdrive he started going more like an hour and a half between feeds and would stay stuck to me for almost an hour at times. So, the first thing you need to know about a growth spurt is that they can be exhausting for a breastfeeding mum.
To make sure you don’t spend the hours stuck on the sofa bored out of your brains and starving to death, stock up your living room with books/tv box sets/magazines or whatever you’re into and always have a big glass of water near by. With all this extra feeding, your body will be making more milk to match your baby’s new appetite so you don’t want to be dehydrated yourself. I have a really good nursing chair with pockets on either side so I also made sure I had snacks on hand, it can be hard to make lunch when you have a baby hanging off your chest after all.
I am not saying don’t go out during a growth spurt but, if you do, be prepared to have to make lots of stops to feed your baby. There was no filling up my boy for about a week when he was going through his rapid growth at 12 weeks, it felt like all he did was feed for days. We did venture out but it was difficult as he would want to feed for about 45minutes to an hour sometimes and if I had Leo with me this could be particularly challenging, 3 year olds don’t like to sit still for long. So just be prepared for lots of long and frequent coffee breaks if you do decide to take your ravenous baby out for a trip to the shops or something.
Rest and eat when you can. To others it may just look like you are sat down all the time but feeding your baby can be really tiring work, it is so so demanding and you can easily forget to look after yourself when you are so focussed on your little one. If you have someone around to cook for you then take advantage of that, or if you are a breastfeeding pro maybe you could whip something together yourself while feeding your baby (I’m not quite there yet!). Just make sure you remember to eat, with Leo I lost so much weight as I kind of forgot to eat as much as I should have been and breastfeeding uses up lots of calories as well. This time around I am making sure I eat more often and don’t skip meals, this is extra important during a growth spurt as your baby is going to be trying to up your milk supply.
Finally, be confident in your body’s ability to nourish your child. When Alex was 2 weeks old and started feeding what felt like constantly, I convinced myself that my milk must be drying up and he was starving. In reality, Alex was just nursing more frequently as he was experiencing his first growth spurt and the more frequent feeds were working to boost my milk supply. Frequent feeding during a growth spurt is so normal and is no reason to doubt your body. If your baby wasn’t getting enough milk then you would know, they would start to lose weight, have fewer wet nappies and, obviously, they would be screaming their tiny head off if they were hungry. Don’t stress, it is hard work and demanding when your baby is going through a period of accelerated growth but it won’t last forever, your little one will be back to feeding like normal again in no time.
So, to make it through a demanding baby growth spurt in one piece, here are the key things your need to remember –
- Stock up on snacks, baby is not going to be the only one who’s hungry
- Plan your feeding stops if you are going out, you will need a few probably
- Drink LOADS of water
- Rest when you can, have someone else do all the other baby duties like nappy changes etc
- Be CONFIDENT in your body. Your milk is not drying up, your baby is not starving, they are simply growing and a growing child is a hungry child.
For any breastfeeding mums out there who have a baby around growth spurting (that a word?) age, I hope this little survival guide has helped. A growth spurt usually only lasts a few days, Alex’s 3 month one was the most difficult at almost a week long. Feeding is back to normal now and I am able to go more than half an hour without having Alex grabbing at my top and rummaging around for some milk – hurray!
Has your baby had a growth spurt yet, did you find it really demanding? Do you have any more tips for breastfeeding mums who are experiencing a baby growth spurt for the first time? If you have found this post useful I would love it if you shared it on social media and with your pregnant/breastfeeding friends.
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