What is meant by the term Wonder Weeks? “Wonder Weeks” is a term created by Dutch authors Hetty van de Rijt and Frans X. Plooij to describe mental developmental leaps made by babies and children as they grow. Babies are in a constant state of physical growth and change and all will go through periods where they are more fussy and unsettled as they are going through a process of change.
What are the signs that your baby is experiencing a Wonder Week?Wonder Weeks authors describe the signs as the three “C’s” – crying, clinging and crankiness. Young babies may become fussier for a few days – usually coinciding with feeding more frequently, while babies over 6 months or so may be fussier over a few weeks as they undergo more complex developmental challenges.
Will it be the same for all babies? Every baby is a unique individual, however human growth and development does follow a predictable path. The Wonder Weeks research has shown babies make 10 major age-linked changes or leaps in the first two years or so of life. These periods of change affect baby’s behaviour and sleep patterns as their health and intelligence progressively develops. Wonder Weeks authors predict that during the first 20 months of a baby’s life, there are ten developmental leaps with their corresponding clingy periods at onset. The clingy periods come at 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, 55, 64 and 75 weeks – based on baby being born at term (not premature).
Should mums rely on Wonder Weeks too rigidly or just as a guide? The Wonder Weeks concept is a reasonable explanation for fussy periods which parents observe and have to manage as baby grows. Baby is not misbehaving if he is clingy, cries often or is cranky. The Wonder Weeks insights can guide parents, but they really do know their baby better than anyone else. Nevertheless understanding baby is passing through a challenging time can help parents to help baby through the rough patches, knowing they are not failing somehow as parents.
What about the Wonder Week Aps? Apps have become a handy component of modern life but they should not replace a mother’s intuition or instinctive knowledge about her baby’s behaviour and wellbeing discover here. If a baby seems unwell expert advice should be sought from a Child Health Nurse or GP without delay.
What are some of the most common/well known? Newborn babies need to feed frequently – 8 to 12 times in every 24 hours. Each feed may take an hour or more, including nappy changes, burps and cuddles. Babies have small stomachs and efficient digestive systems, and they are in a persistent state of growth and development. They need to be fed frequently day and night to effectively sustain their rapidly changing bodies and brains. Unfortunately some parents do not realise how important this really is, and coax baby to wait a particular timeframe between feeds by using a dummy or other methods of delaying feeds. This is stressful for baby causing increased crying which is detrimental to his health, and inevitably leads to other problems.
What is the best way to handle them? For young babies, especially those who are breastfed, the best way of managing changes is to “go with the flow”. Babies take about the same amount of breastmilk each day between 1 month to 6 months of age however their feeding patterns alter periodically, and the baby knows when he needs to feed, and for how long. Responding to baby by giving extra attention and more breastfeeds if that is what baby indicates he needs for a few days will help the fussy periods to pass and enhance normal development. One of the secrets to successful breastfeeding is “not to over think it – just do it” and don’t worry about what other people around may think or say.