Dear Growth Spurt,
You are wonderful. You show me my baby is growing. Every time you visit, he has learned something new, grown a little more, and eats a little further in between.
Nothing makes my heart grow more than watching my kids after you have come around.
I also kind of hate you.
When you visited my daughter during our first breastfeeding journey, first at ten days, then three weeks, then six, I was convinced I was losing my milk. I would pass my hungry daughter to my husband with tears in my eyes, “She just ate. I can’t give her what she needs. I’m drying up.” I was so tired, so touched out, and so desperate not to give up.
That was when searching through Kelly Mom I realized I wasn’t drying up! You had come to visit my tiny daughter. I learned that while you pushed my exhaustion levels to the max, and stretched my daughters growing tummy, my Imp’s constant nursing sessions were actually teaching my body to make more milk. You only lasted a few days, but they were the hardest few days I had in our journey, and I was grateful when you were gone.
I wonder now, Growth Spurt, if what many mothers believe is their milk drying up, or losing their supply, is really just your awful little visit. That you have us fooled into thinking we need to supplement, when really we need to just keep nursing.
And to hold on just a few more days.
I was also grateful that you came, because lo and behold, my daughter who needed to nurse for 45 minutes every hour and a half, could suddenly eat every two and a half hours.
That meant a shower AND a nap between feedings!
So when you visited my son very consistently at ten days old, I was ready for you. Now that I knew about your visits, I was prepared. I chugged water, wore him, made lactation smoothies (next time I’ll check out Samantha’s Lactation Cookie recipe) and geared my brain up for a couple of days of no sleep. I was shocked how much easier it was, knowing what you were, being prepared for why my son was suddenly not satisfied, with his little velociraptor appetite, rooting head, and angry fists.
Then you visited my daughter again, but this time it wasn’t a growing baby you were after, it was a growing mind! When my sweet girl, who fairly consistently slept through the night, was suddenly wakeful, cranky, and clingy, I again doubted my mothering skills. What is wrong? Is she teething? Sick? Over-tired? What can I do to help her? It just so happened that this sudden change in my daughter’s behavior lined up exactly with her learning to sit-up and crawl.
As it turns out, Dear Growth Spurt, you not only visit so my baby can grow, but also so her BRAIN can grow. Her little brain is so excited, there are so many neurons firing and creating new pathways in that ever-expanding brain of hers that she can become overstimulated, creating the sleepless, cranky baby that I held. (To read more about baby’s brain development, check out Zero to three’s research). The Dutch doctors Franz Plooj and Hetty Von de Rijt call this little visit The Wonder Weeks.
You didn’t stop visiting in my daughters infancy, either. You worked you way up and still visit my sweet Imp into toddlerhood. My gregarious gal will suddenly throw down at the slightest impulse, cling, and cry. After a week, she’s suddenly herself again, and I will notice her speech is more fluid, or her grasp of humor improved.
It vexes and amazes me.
So while the mother in me that has to tough through these physical and mental discontinuities may hate you, dear Growth Spurt, I also know you are vital to my children’s development.
And for that, I thank you.
We would love to hear from you! What was your experience with our dear Growth Spurt?
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