Suddenly your baby wants to feed all the time, is more irritated and fuzzy, cries, and seems to want to feed constantly but is struggling at the breast. And maybe you are thinking: am I running out of milk?
But wait… maybe your baby is going through a breastfeeding crisis!
Babies usually go through several growth spurts (some call them frequency days, in some regions, they are even called breastfeeding crises) during the first 12 months of life, when their demand for milk typically increases. This can cause them to wake up more often and want to breastfeed all the time. In addition, babies may cry more, be fussy, fight when breastfeeding, and stretch their legs and back while feeding.
As if that was not enough, at certain moments, you may notice that your breasts are softer… This is perfectly normal. Remember, milk does not disappear all of a sudden!
Growing up is not the only possible reason why a baby may need to suck more for a while or be fussier. She may show the same type of behavior when she is experiencing developmental milestones: when she learns to roll over and crawl, or when she starts walking or talking.
When do breastfeeding crises occur?
Breastfeeding crises or growth spurts usually appear on the second day of birth and around 15-20 days, at 6 or 7 weeks, at 3 months, and at many other times: at 4 and 8 months of age, at 1 year, at 2 years. Actually, at all important times of the baby’s development. However, keep in mind that each baby has its own pace, and these dates are always approximate; your baby can experience them at any time of its growth.
How long do they last?
Growth spurts usually last between 2 and 3 days, but sometimes they can last a week or more, as in the 3-month spurt.
What should I do?
Follow your baby’s lead and feed as often as he or she needs to: breastfeeding more often will automatically bring in more milk and will cause your milk supply to increase in a short time. It is not necessary or advisable to supplement your baby with formula or pumped milk as supplements and bottles can interfere with your production, preventing your body from receiving the message that more milk should be produced, and in some cases, it may result in your baby no longer wanting to be breastfed. Above all, tons of patience and love…nothing lasts forever!
How do I know if my baby is going through a growth spurt or if there is any other problem?
If your baby is gaining weight normally, the higher demand and the increased fussiness are probably just due to a growth spurt.
But if your baby has difficulty gaining weight properly or is showing signs of pain or discomfort, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor.