Your baby will grow 10 inches in length and triple his birth weight in his first year, according to child development experts at the Kids Health website. While your baby needs eight to 12 feedings per 24-hour period as a newborn, he will gradually start to take in more at each feeding at require fewer feedings overall. You can expect your baby to need to eat more during periods of growth spurts, and while every baby is different, these spurts are often accompanied by an increased need to eat at night.
Typical Growth Spurts
According to the Mayo Clinic website, growth spurts typically occur at 2 to 3 weeks and at 6 weeks. After that, you can expect your baby to go through a growth spurt every few months during the first year. However, each baby grows at her own pace, so growth spurts can occur at any time. Keep in mind that during the newborn phase, your baby is likely to wake up in the middle of the night before she masters the skill of sleeping through the night, so growth spurts are not always to blame for night wakings.
Experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend ignoring the clock and instead focusing on signs of hunger for feeding your baby, regardless of the time of day or night. Hunger signs include sucking his hands, sticking out his tongue or turning his head to look for something to suck. Crying is a late sign of hunger, so by the time your baby wakes up at night, he is most likely ready to eat. If your baby is breastfed, you might notice that he wakes up more frequently than a formula-fed baby would, as breast milk digests more quickly.
When growth spurts are not a factor, you can help your baby sleep better at night by starting a consistent and relaxing bedtime routine, according to the Kids Health professionals. Go about your regular activities during the day and minimize noise and light at night to signal to your baby that it’s time for sleep. Consider adding activities like a warm bath, a story book and an infant massage to your baby’s bedtime routine.
At your baby’s regular check-ups, his doctor will keep track of his weight gain and ask questions about his sleeping and eating patterns. However, if you are concerned about your baby’s night wakings or how his growth spurts are affecting his rest, ask his doctor about what you can do to get through the rough patch.