Signs and Symptoms of Growth Spurts

By Natalie June Reilly
Children are literally growing overnight.
Children are literally growing overnight.

Growth spurts can be a difficult time in your child's life. Whether you’re nursing an infant or nurturing a teenager through those precarious pubescent years, the signs and symptoms of growth spurts are generally the same. Aside from the obvious signs, like your child outgrowing the brand new shoes you bought him just less than a month before, a handful of physical symptoms will naturally accompany your child’s growth spurt.

Growing Pains

Growing pains are a natural part of growing up.
Growing pains are a natural part of growing up.

Growing pains are sharp, throbbing pains in the body that, if strong enough, can keep your child awake at night and are often accompanied by a low-grade fever. According to DrGreene.com, “These pains typically occur at night with no resultant daytime disability. The actual source of the pain has never been proven, but long experience has taught us that they are benign and self-limited.” While generally there is nothing to worry about, it is still smart to have your child checked by her pediatrician to rule out another more serious condition. However, if the pain is not accompanied with redness, swelling, tenderness or limitation of movement, chances are your child is simply experiencing growing pains, a natural symptom of her normal development.

Moodiness

Moodiness usually makes its appearance with a growth spurt.
Moodiness usually makes its appearance with a growth spurt.

The classic tell-tale sign of a growth spurt is moodiness. This symptom is due in part to the fact that your child may be losing sleep because of his nighttime aches and pains. Depending upon the intensity of the growing pains and low-grade temperature, this may also lead to an increase in moodiness.

Increase in Appetite

An increase in appetite is an obvious sign of a growth spurt.
An increase in appetite is an obvious sign of a growth spurt.

Growth spurts lead to an increase in appetite in both babies and adolescents and is the most telling sign of a growth spurt. As your child’s body grows it demands more calories, turning an normal healthy appetite into a voracious appetite. Except for your grocery bill, there really is no cause for concern if your child is eating all the time. It is simply her body’s way of making up for the extra calories she is going to need in order to grow.

Increase in Sleep

It's normal for him to sleep more.
It's normal for him to sleep more.

Soon after your child’s appetite increases, his sleep patterns begin to change. Suddenly your child is napping more during the day and sleeping harder at night. Since the body is working double-time in its period of growth, it is expending more energy, leaving your child with less energy than before. According to DrGreene.com, "Growing up involves a lot of physical and psychological change, and this can affect a child’s sleep in a number of ways."

About the Author

Natalie June Reilly began writing professionally in 2000 for the "Arizona Republic" and most recently with "Phoenix Woman Magazine" and "Chicken Soup for the Soul." She has a background in corporate communications and publishing. Reilly is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Arizona State University.