When B was born, a good friend with two older children (a seasoned pro in the mother game) gave me a copy of The Wonder Weeks. She explained it had been a lifesaver when her baby girls were going through difficult periods. She hadn’t been able to understand their sudden fussy, needy behaviour and had gotten frustrated with them, until she read the book.
The Wonder Weeks is an incredible insight to your baby’s first year of life. A result of 35 years of study into the development of babies, it identifies that in a baby’s first 20 months, they go through ten major phases, or ‘Leaps’ in development. These Leaps bring significant change in how a baby perceives the world, which is upsetting for them. At these times, your little one is learning new skills, which should be a positive. However, during Leaps babies can be demanding, troublesome, cry more easily, and have difficulty sleeping. Not fun.
Every parent will recognise that their child has gone through unexplained, difficult periods like this. When dealing with a fussy baby, it can be trying. They can be clingy and want to feed more often, not giving you a break, resulting in one exhausted mama. For new parents it can be very confusing. Why is my baby crying?
Each chapter focuses on a Leap, what the signs are that your baby is going through it, what they’re learning, and how you can aid their development. There are quotes from parents, showing how these leaps can make you feel and reminding you that you’re not alone. It reassures us that it’s common to feel worried, tired, aggravated, and guilty at these times – it’s natural to be annoyed when you don’t know what’s wrong.
Once you understand that your baby’s going through a Leap, it’s easier to cope with this fussy phase and isolate it. Plus you know roughly how long it will last. Having this knowledge helps you be more understanding and patient. The book empowers parents, giving peace of mind that what your baby is experiencing is totally normal.
The Wonder Weeks app is brilliant to have handy to look up signs and behaviours quickly. In it, there are reminders, perfect for when you’re feeling at your most frustrated. In Leap One, Changing Sensations –
“She just got used to life outside the womb, and suddenly, her world changes dramatically. Your baby needs you now. Also, your baby’s small body doesn’t make it easy for her because, at this point, she is unable to stretch out her arms to you, cannot turn to you, cannot do much more than let you know she needs you with her voice.”
These help to give a sense of perspective when you’re in that challenging moment.
The knowledge that all babies go through these exact and timely Leaps is incredible, they can be predicted to within the week they will happen. Meaning you can be prepared for that next fussy phase.