Getting Through the Six-Week Growth Spurt

With the extra time this weekend, I decided to try a new recipe for my daughter – sweet potato and ginger ravioli (recipe here; spoiler alert: she LOVED them!).  Since it has been warm(ish) this weekend, I took her for a walk in her stroller that we haven’t seen for months because I cannot handle the cold.  I could not believe how big she was – it was like she had almost outgrown it compared to our last walk.  I’m sure all parents feel this way, but she is just growing so quickly I can hardly believe it.

Chowing down on some sweet potato ravioli

Chowing down on some sweet potato ravioli

Last year tomorrow, she was six weeks old on the nose.  We had been cooped up in the house, with the exception of just a few select outings (Christmas, etc) because she was very tiny and our winter was bitterly cold, plus with all the snow, ice, and sick people around, I wasn’t risking it.  She also suffered from colic, which was heartbreaking for her father and myself, not to mention her grandparents or anyone else who heard her crying, I’m sure.  (I am also sure she didn’t enjoy it very much either.)  Mainly, during one of her crying fits, she would want to be constantly latched.  Let’s just say that when this three-day weekend rolled around last year, I was planning to take full advantage.

My daughter at 6 weeks - during a rare (at that time) happy period.

My daughter at 6 weeks – during a rare (at that time) happy period.

My husband had to work, but my parents were off, so my mom and I planned to run errands while my dad watched my daughter for a few hours.  Didn’t happen.  She hit her six-week growth spurt right on the day.  From the minute she woke up in the morning, she needed to be latched.  Period.  Even for my uncomfortable baby, this was unusual.  Instead of running errands, I was essentially bedridden for the day, eating trail mix and watching Friends (thanks, Aunt Sue, for all 10 seasons!).  Before my mom left to do both of our shopping, she brought me some soup for lunch.  In a mug.  Because I was not putting that baby down.

I had read that young babies go through several growth spurts in the first few weeks, so the fact itself wasn’t a surprise, but the intensity definitely was.  We had finally (I had thought) worked into a good rhythm with nursing, but her constant need for me, compounded with my claustrophobia and insecurities as a first-time mom were enough to bring me to tears.

So, for any Mamas out there with little six-week-olds reading this – IT’S OKAY!  It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and insecure.  You are doing awesome.  This stressful time is nature running its course.  If you are choosing to breastfeed, don’t give up!  Your baby is nursing frequently (or constantly) to tell your body that she is growing up and needs more milk.  Breastfeeding is completely supply and demand, so if you choose to “supplement” your milk supply with formula, you are actually signalling to your body that you need less milk.

Trust me – I have been there.  It is exhausting, but it is also so rewarding!  Looking at my big, strong, adventurous girl now, I am so proud of myself for not giving up on breastfeeding and for making it to my goal of one year.  Whenever I see her, I see how I helped her to grow from the 5th percentiles of weight and length to the 75th and 90th percentiles.  If your intention is to breastfeed your little one, listen to your baby and listen to your body.  If you feel that you need help, find a lactation consultant near you.  Remember that this, too, shall pass.

Best of luck, Mamas!

To read more about how breast milk changes over time, check out this RDN Mama article.

 

For more reading on growth spurts:

This article helped me so much!  I think I read it 10 times that day.

Growth spurt advice and information from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

 

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