I didn’t know about growth spurts until my baby went through one. I guess I skipped that chapter in What To Expect in the First Year. It was a rude awakening when my perfect baby turned into a nightmare overnight. He went from sleeping five hours at a time to being up every 30 minutes. All he wanted to do was nurse. He wasn’t taking naps for longer than a few minutes. My life was flipped upside down. I couldn’t keep him happy. He kept freaking out, kicking his feet like a wild child.
My husband and I played hot potato, passing the baby back and forth. He’d eat, then get fussy, burp, cry, and eat again. Sometimes he’d pass out between feedings if we got lucky. It got to the point where he hadn’t slept for hours. He was beyond tired and you do not want to deal with a newborn who hasn’t slept.
A couple days passed and things returned back to normal. It was like a switch flipped. His sleeping patterns returned to normal. He started nursing on a regular schedule again. Life returned to our new normal. The first growth spurt was over. And so were the days when he could wear newborn clothing. My baby boy literally grew overnight. When we celebrated his one-month milestone, I compared images of him when we first came home and now. It’s startling how much he’s grown.
We still experience what many parents (and our pediatrician) call “the witching hour.” Usually between 6 and 11 pm, Leigh starts to get fussy as we wind down from the day. He just wants to eat and be held. We’ve been turning on the Blackhawks playoff games and camping out on the couch with the lights off, trying to comfort him the best we can. I’ve read that most babies experience this because they are overstimulated during the day time. We try our best to comfort him. Some days he falls asleep at 11pm while we’re watching the after hockey game recap, other days he passes out quietly by 9pm. We just have to go with the flow of how he’s feeling that evening.
There are a plenty of growth spurt days left to face during his first year. I dread every one of them not just because it means sleepless nights and games of hot potato with an increasingly heavier child. But because with every growth spurt, he gets older. There’s a catch 22 in parenthood: you want your baby to stay little forever, but you also can’t wait to see them grow up and do amazing things. I look forward to the days of smiles and laughs and first words. And I’ll treasure today’s moments where I get to hold him close to my chest and smell his milky breath as he falls asleep.