The Wonder Weeks FTW
I recently attended a neighborhood meet-up for new moms, all of whom had delivered within a few months of each other. As we frantically sipped our espressos and hoped that concealer was hiding the dark circles under our eyes, we started to talk about our newborns’ sleep.
Mom 1: Susan had been sleeping 7 hours at night but all of a sudden she’s up every two hours.
Mom 2: I can’t take the cluster feeding at night. Get. Her. Off. My. Boobs!
Mom 3: At least yours just wants to eat at night, mine suddenly wants be held all day, every day.
Knowing that I’m a sleep coach, their heads all swiveled to me. I pointed to my newborn and said, “Her too. All of that.”
Guess what? All of the babies in question were the same age -- between 7-9 weeks. And each of them had previously been precious little angels, cooing during the day and sleeping at night. Then, all of a sudden, BAM! Everything changed.
What’s the deal?
According to The Wonder Weeks, babies and toddlers go through ten developmental “leaps” during the first few years of their lives. During these times they’re acquiring new skills, such as recognizing patterns for the first time or learning to follow a sequence of events.
During these critical periods, they oftentimes act differently and their sleep can become temporarily disrupted. Does every baby react the same to each leap? Nope. My baby slept more during Leap 1 but kept us up all night during Leap 2. Just like sleep regressions, some leaps affects babies more than others. But usually you’ll see a change of temperament and almost always you'll be able to see the new skill once the leap is over.
If there’s one piece of advice I always give parents of children under two, it’s to invest in the Wonder Weeks app. You’ll get access to a customized calendar of the leaps based on your baby’s due date, which will alert you when you’re nearing a “stormy” period. It also provides information on what behaviors your child may be exhibiting (e.g., clinginess, separation anxiety, wanting to eat more, etc.) and how you can help them to navigate their way through the leap.
The best part? It’ll help you understand why your baby is suddenly acting like a demon and reassure you that it’s not his real character suddenly emerging.