child development

Just When You Think You’ve Got It All Figured Out, Teething And Growth Spurts Come At You Like A Fist In The Ass

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teethingI feel like when I was pregnant, I was just so focused on being pregnant, pregnant, pregnant that I didn’t give much thought to what would happen after “boy meets world.” Obviously, I pored over parenting websites and all of the crazy baby stuff I needed to learn, like sleep, feeding, safety, etc.

When other things came up out of the blue, or rather, like a fist in the ass, I was entirely unprepared for them. I’m talking about maniacal teething babies and growth spurting monsters, people. We’ve all been there before, and it certainly ain’t pretty.

I really didn’t read much about how insane teething and growth spurts can be, until it happened to me. Maybe I just turned a deaf ear and was hoping to live on in my ignorant bliss, but few months into my new baby, I was like, WTF is wrong with him? He’s eating all the time, he’s fussy, he’s waking up from naps early, he sucks!!!!

So I googled all the symptoms (minus the sucking part) and found out about something called growth spurts. Apparently, they are a real thing that happens at set times, and your baby will act like a demon spawn until they pass. Well, that is my loose interpretation anyway.

KellyMom says this about growth spurts: Common times for growth spurts are during the first few days at home and around 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months and 9 months (more or less). Babies don’t read calendars, however, so your baby may do things differently.

Wait, I don’t like this one bit. So you’re saying that my baby may or may not act insane at these potentially predictable times, but then again, maybe not? And also, these important times of change masked as extreme irritability may last anywhere from two days to more than one week? I didn’t sign up for this!

My husband and I got to the point where any time our sons were acting out of sorts, which was about six days out of the week, we would blame it on a growth spurt. Basically, growth spurt was our excuse for not having any effing clue about how to handle a baby that was crying uncontrollably, and eating like a maniac, and screaming intermittently throughout the night.

If a growth spurt had just passed, we called it teething after the age of four months or so. My second son has had two small teeth poking through for a few months, and he has also taken to yelling for absolutely no reason at the top of his lungs at various times throughout the day. Just one long yell, and then silence. If this is what teething and growth spurts look like, it’s more frightening than I ever imagined.

(photo: Getty Images)


  1. Jessica

    January 3, 2014 at 9:15 am

    This was exactly what we did for my son! He’s having a crying fit – growth spurt. He isn’t napping – growth spurt. He’s waking up 20 times- growth spurt. And then we moved on to teeth… you would think the kid would have a mouthful, but he only has 6.

  2. rrlo

    January 3, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Check out the Wonder Weeks – like most parenting things it is not 100% scientific. But wonder weeks made heck of a lot more sense to me than “teething” – especially when my kid would go nuts for a week or two and no tooth would emerge.

    Also, I like the idea of him acquiring a new skill while driving us insane. I used to reassure my husband that he’ll know how to do something “amazing” after the madness is over.

    • Bethany Ramos

      January 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

      Thanks – I’ve read a little about Wonder Weeks and will definitely check it out further. Anything will help!

    • ElleJai

      January 3, 2014 at 9:36 pm

      Best. App. Ever.

  3. Janok Place

    January 3, 2014 at 9:17 am

    As of one week before Christmas we started on the first molar. Best part? This ass hole molar brought three ass hole molar friends. Ass holes.

    • Bethany Ramos

      January 3, 2014 at 9:19 am


    • Véronique Houde

      January 3, 2014 at 9:43 am

      I’ve been going through the molar experience since October!!! The first one finally pierced through last week, and my baby has been acting like a bitch even after this. YAY the three other molars are hiding just underneath the surface!! I feel ya @bethanyramos:disqus

    • Natasha B

      January 3, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Our last molar of the four just popped through a week before Christmas….it only took 3 months. She’s like a new kid….until she hits another growth spurt.

    • Janok Place

      January 3, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Months? MONTHS? What’s wrong with you guys? Why must you say “months”… Excuse me while I go cry in my corner :'(

    • Natasha B

      January 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      I suggest laying in vodka…for you, of course 😉

    • Janok Place

      January 3, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      *sigh* You don’t think my fetus would mind do you? I’ve been told in utero babies dislike vodka.

    • ted3553

      January 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      Only the cheap stuff. Buy the good stuff and it’s smooth sailing

    • Natasha B

      January 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Same boat :/ I slip some wine once in a while though…the Italians do it! And sushi. Someone call CPS.
      Or just give the vodka to the one teething….

    • Janok Place

      January 3, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      Raw milk drinking, sushi eater, wine slipper… right here friend. Rebel knock ups, unite!

    • Véronique Houde

      January 3, 2014 at 5:16 pm


    • Natasha B

      January 3, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      I want a tshirt that says that.

    • EX

      January 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

      Molars here too. Sucks.

    • Véronique Houde

      January 3, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Geez, I think we should start a Molar Club… It would involve lots of chocolate for me and Janok and alcohol for the rest of you.

    • EX

      January 3, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      I’m pregnant. I’ll have to join you in the chocolate eating.

    • Véronique Houde

      January 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      well, aren’t we the merry triad! Teething and pregnancy. Can anyone explain to us what we were thinking?? 😉

    • EX

      January 3, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      Well, to be fair, she wasn’t teething when I GOT pregnant! And it’s a little late to change my mind about round 2 now – due in less than a month.

    • ElleJai

      January 3, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      Wait, you were thinking?! 😉

    • Véronique Houde

      January 3, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      clearly not… lol

    • Natasha B

      January 3, 2014 at 6:18 pm

      Dark chocolate? The good kind, that you hoard I mean hide I mean…

    • Véronique Houde

      January 3, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      A rainbow of chocolates! The stuffed kind too 🙂

    • Janok Place

      January 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      It’s when you leave the room for two minutes only to discover the infant found your chocolate stash… Right! They get taller! And smarter!

  4. LadyClodia

    January 3, 2014 at 9:24 am

    Teething is the worst. Neither of my boys handled teething well. I was hoping that they would be like I was, and no one had known that I even had teeth until I bit someone (hopefully minus the biting part.) But no, they started being miserable from teething months ahead of time. When my oldest was cutting his first teeth (2 for the price of 1) he basically just stopped nursing, which really freaked me out because we didn’t know the reason until after the fact. The time he got 5 teeth in two weeks was really rough, though. My younger son would just try to chew through everything while he was teething. They both would get runny noses like they were sick that would last through the teething episode too. So much snot, drool, and crying. I don’t miss those days.

    • pixie

      January 3, 2014 at 11:37 am

      My teeth were slow, so I teethed for a very long time (I don’t know how old, but it was quite a while). I didn’t get my 12 year molars until I was close to 16. It sucked big time and didn’t help that I also had braces at the same time. New teeth and braces pain sucks, so I sympathize with you and your little ones.

  5. Natasha B

    January 3, 2014 at 10:34 am

    They can still be teething and having growth spurts at 4, right? Because….that’s the only explanation I have some days….and I swear he still needs longer pants every six weeks…

    • Bunny Lucia

      January 3, 2014 at 10:39 am

      Growth spurts happen until puberty for women and until late teens for men. So yes, at four that is still perfectly plausible.

    • Bethany Ramos

      January 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

      I will probably use this excuse forever – when they’re 30+, “You’re in such a bad mood, just eat some vitamins and take a nap, you must be growing.”

    • Natasha B

      January 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

      That’s still pretty much my dad’s solution to everything. ‘Eat some meat and chew some vitamins!’
      He’s a good grandpa 🙂

  6. Kay_Sue

    January 3, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I have to say, I always commiserated with them during growth spurts. I still have no idea if they go through this, because they haven’t said anything, but I can remember having growing pains in my legs as a child that would reduce me to tears up until I was 11 or 12. It was the most awful feeling.

    Ours is (and I’m going to warn you that this may be a wee bit gross) constipation. Both of our boys have sensitive constitutions. It doesn’t matter how much we limit dairy and other triggers, or how much fiber I shove down their throats, it happens. So when they are out of sorts, that is our go to reason.

    • SusannahJoy

      January 3, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Oh, yes, I remember then sore legs. And the shoulders. For some reason when I was 15 my shoulders would POP and hurt like hell. I can’t imagine growing 3 inches and gaining 2 pounds is any more comfortable for a baby.

      And we keep emergency prunes on hand. Yay for prunes!

    • Kay_Sue

      January 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      Amen for the prunes.

    • Natasha B

      January 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Ugh, the 4yo went through that from like 6mos to 9mos. And he BF! I got very good at enemas.

    • Janok Place

      January 3, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      The first time that happened I think I almost died. Especially when you’re standing in a nice restaurant and she gives “the face” (you know the one) to the next table over.

  7. pixie

    January 3, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Whenever I had growth spurts as a kid I would have really bad nightmares, the hiccups, and pains in my limbs. I don’t think I was ever acting out, but they could be acting out because they have no other way to express their discomfort.

  8. Carinn Jade

    January 3, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Best Title Ever.

  9. Toaster

    January 3, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I’m holding on to teething and growth spurts for my 8-month old because he’s waking up every 1-2 hours at night right now and I need some reason beyond he just hates me.

    OT but is anyone else on an iOS device having issues with ads on the Mommyish pages clicking themselves? Every time I load a Mommyish page it ‘clicks’ an ad for me.

    • EX

      January 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      “is anyone else on an iOS device having issues with ads on the Mommyish pages clicking themselves?” Yes and it is super annoying. Thought it was just something up with my phone but maybe not.

    • Toaster

      January 3, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      It’s happening on my iPod and iPad, very irritating.

  10. Maria Guido

    January 3, 2014 at 11:37 am

    I’m pretty sure Frankie is going through one of these! She’s normally a great sleeper – lately if she’s not on the boob she’s unbearable. Right at the time I’m trying to wean of course. Ugh.

    • ElleJai

      January 3, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      May I ask why you’re weaning? It’s personal so feel free not to answer, but we were forced into bottle feeding after a few weeks (no supply) so I’m still curious about bfing longer!

  11. darras

    January 3, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Haha! You have alllll my sympathy! We just went through a whole week of ear splitting doom beginning christmas eve night. So that was fun. He’s turning six months next week, so I’m calling it growth spurt as well. Why not! Got to call it something other than Ragey Doom I figure.

  12. jendra_berri

    January 3, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    My baby got his first cold at nine months, just over Christmas vacation. And he teethed his two top front teeth. And he appears to be going through a growth spurt. These things are all happening.

    I no longer recognize this child. Save me.

    • Bethany Ramos

      January 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      OMG that sounds like an evil trifecta!

    • Véronique Houde

      January 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      I went through the same thing during New Years’ too – my lovely niece gave my daughter a nasty flu with a high fever, a mega snotty nose, AND she was teething. Did I mention that my daughter gets a nasty diaper rash when she’s teething? Yeah, that was making her wreath (sp?) in pain for hours at a time in the middle of the night…

    • ElleJai

      January 3, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      Writhe* (I think)

      And ugh, I hate it when they’re sick as well as teething and growing! You need an alcohol/coffee IV for that…

    • Véronique Houde

      January 3, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      oh man don’t i wish… but it shall only be one glass for me for a while ;)…

    • ElleJai

      January 3, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      Look, if the baby didn’t want alcohol, he or she should have designed a more effective placenta! Right?!

    • Bethany Ramos

      January 3, 2014 at 9:39 pm


  13. SA

    January 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    OMG, I love you. This title is my life. Teething, growth spurt, teething, growth spurt. Right now I think we are doing both? Molars kicked my ass this summer. 8 weeks of multiple wake-ups during the night. Not even a year since the kid starting teething for the first time and the only ones missing are the two year molars (if you count the two that are breaking the skin as we speak)…I don’t think people believe me…every time someone has asked how she is doing I have responded with “teething” and been telling the truth. And the growth spurts – it is like teething without teeth!! No one warned me about those. And they seem to start the second the teething ends!

  14. SusannahJoy

    January 3, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    OMG this is so us!! He’s been cranky lately and my husband was like “Growth spurt! It must be! He did skip his 6 month one, after all!” but then I’m like “Yeah… but he was super cranky two weeks ago too.” “Teething! Is he teething?” “I don’t think so… maybe?” “Maybe before that wasn’t a growth spurt, but now is?” “Or maybe there actually are teeth coming out?” IT’s generally at this point where he says screw it and grabs a beer and I’m all sad cuz I need to feed the kid in a few mins, so I have to wait like, 20 mins for my beer.

  15. Justme

    January 3, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Am I the only one that reads that “growth spurt” as just one big growing stage? There doesn’t really seem to be a lot of time in between growth spurts, if you know what I mean.

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