Monday, February 4, 2013

Wonder Weeks

Have you ever heard of the Wonder Weeks?  It's actually a title to a book The Wonder Weeks (19$ on Amazon) written by developmental psychologist Hetty van de Rijt.  It discusses certain developmental weeks that your baby/toddler goes through that can cause fussiness, crying and clinging.  You can also read about it online at

The Wonder Weeks (WW) are at 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, 55, 64 and 75 weeks.

My baby has been crazy with not sleeping, or maybe it's me that's been crazy.  So much so, that I have had to pull her into bed with me the past few nights as it's the only way she will sleep.  I looked up my baby's WW in the book and she is at now at the 37 week mark. 

According to the book, there are reasons why my baby is fussy due to her current developmental milestone at week 37.  I'm not sure how I feel about calling these milestones wonder weeks.  I do agree with the book that there are phases, but I wouldn't call them wonder weeks, phases.  And at this week, I would just call it her 8 month milestone: crawling and separation anxiety.  And at week 5 when my baby became colic, I would call that her, "I am out of the womb, now what?? I will cry non-stop because I want to go back and be warm and cozy" phase!

I agree with the fact at around 8-9 months, that once they start crawling, they want to do it all the time so they may wake up at night to do it, hence not sleeping well.  And their brains are growing, causing them to wake up more.  It reminds me of when I was living in Colorado up in the mountains and the first week I was there could not sleep!  The doctor told me it was because of the high altitude and your body needing to produce more red blood cells, so it will keep you up at night working to produce them.  Nice.

Same for children. Growing brains and bodies sometimes go thru growth spurts and that means disruption of sleep, or lack of it!

Also, we all know things like cutting new teeth will cause babies to be up at night, and more so at night because they don't have toys and things to distract them during the daytime while teething. 

And of course there is also the developmental stage of separation anxiety and object permanence at this age. Once they discover that when you leave the room, you still exist but just aren't there at their side, they can get extra fussy and anxious and will cry more at night so you will come and hold them.

So, call it a Wonder Week, or just plain "Month 8 of your baby's development," it's one of those phases that we all go through with our babies, and wait for the next one.  Ha, whoever coined the term, "sleeping through the night" sure had it wrong.  It never ends, we will constantly be woken up during their childhood with: developmental milestones, sickness, potty training, nightmares, fears, teething, crib to big bed, "I need some water," "I wet the bed," or good ones like my toddler had last night, "mommy, I see a peacock eye on the wall!"A what??

I copied an example of my 8 month old's Wonder Week explanation from the book so you can see how she describes them and gives tips on helping them grow with toys and games to play:
Wonder Week 37 is known as the world of categories.
Your child is now able to understand that particular things, animals, objects, sensations, and people belong together. The book gives this example: banana looks, feels, and tastes different than spinach, but they are both food. Your baby will also be learning more about his emotions and other people. Her language skills continue to develop. She may not be talking yet, but she understand a lot more of what you say to her. She might also be trying to master a new skill. All these changes can be overwhelming for a baby and cause them to be fussy. The fussy period can begin around 34 week, but could begin around 32 weeks and last until 37 weeks. This fussy period usually lasts 4 weeks, but it could last anywhere from 3-6 weeks.
Signs to be on the look out for
  • cling to your cloths and hold on tight to you
  • shy
  • demand more attention
  • have nightmares
  • act unusually sweet
  • refuse to have diaper changed
  • seem more babyish
  • lose appetite
  • cries more often/ cranky
  • sleeps poorly
  • babbles less
  • less lively
  • sometimes sits quietly, looks like he is daydreaming
  • sucks thumb or does so more often than before
  • reaches for a cuddly toy
New skills your baby is acquiring (may do some, but not all)
  • Classify world into groups (Understand the category horses despite what they look like: spotted horses, brown horses, white horses)
  • begin to under stand what makes something big, small, heavy, light, soft, sticky, happy, mean, etc.
  • understands names of animals or objects. When you ask, where's ______? she will look for it.
  • shows that she thinks something is funny by making a special sound or movement
  • may be able to repeat words after you
  • imitate and mimic what you do
  • relates more to other people with sounds and gestures
  • recognizes people, even in a unrelated situation
  • makes silly faces at his mirror image and might laugh
  • might become jealous if mom or dad are giving attention to another child
  • may start crying when another baby or child cries
  • might exaggerate his mood to let everyone else know how he is feeling
  • may ask you to play with him- get your attention to do so
What you can do to help
  • If your baby is interested in shapes, give her blocks that come in different shapes and sizes
  • Take your baby around the house and allow her to touch and hold different house hold objects. Tell her what it is. This is a small frame, but this is a big frame)
  • Give them different fabrics to touch (wool, silk, etc.) of books that have fabric that you can touch 
  • let your baby demolish things such as knocking down a stack of magazines of blocks. Pull apart a connected link. You can also let him take rings off a toy.
  • Let your baby stack a ring toy or stack and pull apart cups or boxes.
  • Teach your baby that some things are fragile and to be gentle with them
  • Give your baby similar object that are of different weights so she can learn the difference between heavy and light
  • Allow your baby to crawl on, through, on top of, next to objects. This will help you baby learn about relationships in space. A tunnel toy can be fun for this activity.
  • Take your baby outside for a walk, to play in the grass, or play in a park. The outside is a great place for baby to discover things.
More games to play
  • play with bells and switches (door bells, elevator buttons, light switches, ped. crossing button). Explain to him what these various bells and switches will cause
  • dress your baby in front of a mirror so he can watch
  • name objects in books, home, and outside (etc)
  • say, Give me ______and have your child hand you the object you as asking for.
  • Play pat a cake
  • chase your baby as she crawls or even walks about
  • hide and seek
More Toys
  • anything that opens and closes (doors, drawers)
  • pans and lids
  • alarm clocks
  • magazines/ newspapers to tear
  • plastic plates, cups, etc.
  • large cardboard box
  • contains of all sizes and shapes
  • balls of all sizes
  • dolls
  • blocks
  • swings
  • picture books
  • baby pool
  • toy cars
After the leap
Between week 40-45 your baby should be out of the fussy phase. This can last 1-3 weeks. They should be cheerful and happy. Babys will show more interest in different objects and a greater awareness of their environment. They may also be more independent and do not require as much help from you.

So there you have it.   I am waiting for this WW to pass, and looking forward to the next one :)


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