If you haven’t heard about the Wonder Weeks go check it out! It could well be a revelation about your baby's development. It was for me.
Contradictory to the idea of the Wonder Weeks and often touted by health professionals, are notions of a baby going through various “regressions”. Stages in your baby’s development where it feels as if they have taken a step backwards rather than forward, which I believe is all part of babies being babies. This is where the Wonder Weeks comes in. The mental and physical development that babies are constantly subject to are in fact altering their patterns which can be very hard on us but also on them too! They are certainly not regressing, they are moving forward.
Like many new parents, I spent the first few months of Bowie’s life stressed about sleep. Despite being very open to everything else and insisting on her leading the way, when it came to sleep I really struggled. I was tired. I am STILL tired. But now I understand what is going on. When someone suggested the Wonder Weeks to me I jumped on the App Store and it has been invaluable
So what is the basis of the book?
It is written by Doctors Frans Plooij and Hetty van der Rijt, highly qualified in Educational Psychology, Physical Anthropology and Behavioural Biology. After 35 years of observing babies and parents in their own environments, they found a way to pinpoint almost to the week when your baby is likely to be in a fussy period. During these fussy periods AKA leaps, your baby is going through intense changes mentally, emotionally and physically. There are 10 major leaps in the first 20 months of a child’s life. Each chapter of the book describes what skills are developing in that leap and also what signs your baby will exhibit while they are experiencing the leap. These signs tend to be clinginess, crying without a normal reason such as hunger, wanting to nurse more frequently, only settling with their mother.
How do I work out the leaps?
The leaps are calculated using the estimated due date of your baby rather than the date they were born, this is due to brain development, for example, the brain of a baby born 3 weeks early is not as developed as that of a baby born around their due date or beyond. Once we can see the approximate timings of each leap we can strategise to make our baby comfortable during this period. It certainly makes for a tiring couple of weeks for everyone, but providing that support to our babies as they reach each new change helps them to see that we understand.
Why is it important to recognise the leaps?
We can liken the process to pregnancy. With the support of our nearest and dearest along with health professionals, a pregnant woman can more easily enjoy her pregnancy because she feels cared for. Our babies need this too. As adults we have books and Google to help us understand what is happening to our bodies but little people do not. This is an important area for us to really get down on their level and empathise with how they are feeling.
Here is a list of each leap with the approximate time in which your baby will experience these new developments. Please check their website or better yet purchase the book or app for descriptions. You won’t be disappointed!
Mental Leap 1 - Wonder Week 5 The World of Changing Sensations
Mental Leap 2 - Wonder Week 8 The World of Patterns
Mental Leap 3 - Wonder Week 12 The World of Smooth Transitions
Mental Leap 4 - Wonder Week 19 The World of Event
Mental Leap 5 - Wonder Week 26 The World of Relationships
Mental Leap 6 - Wonder Week 37 The World of Categories
Mental Leap 7 - Wonder Week 46 The World of Sequences
Mental Leap 8 - Wonder Week 55 The World of Programs
Mental Leap 9 - Wonder Week 64 The World of Principles
Mental Leap 10 - Wonder Week 75 The World of Systems