A Parent’s Guide to Wonder Weeks
It all starts at conception. Your baby goes from a tiny cluster of cells to the newborn that was plopped on your chest after their birth in just 10 short months. This rapid development doesn’t stop once they’ve made their debut on earthside. Their physical growth is easy to see, and we get stark reminders when we have to clear out their drawers for the next size up every couple of months. However, the emotional, cognitive, and physical developments may not be as apparent of a change.
These are the kind of changes that hit you like a ton of bricks, when all of a sudden your baby is doing XYZ as easy as 1,2,3. There is a name for those rapid spurts of development, and they’re called Wonder Weeks - and if you pay attention, you can usually see them coming.
If all of a sudden you’ve got a velcro baby, you may have hit a Wonder Week. Keep reading for more signs and what to expect during these Wonder Weeks.
What weeks are The Wonder Weeks?
Brace yourself for these wonderful (and equally awful) developmental periods that come knocking on our doors as early as weeks 4, 7, 11, 14, 22, 33, 41, 50, 64, and 75 – and boy, that last one is a doozy.
Wondering how you can spot a Wonder Week on the horizon? Well, when your little one turns into a fussy little koala with separation anxiety - out of nowhere - you'll know you’ve hit a Wonder Week. Your baby might also have trouble sleeping or eating during these big changes too.
Sleep will be extra important during these weeks, so you may need to bring out your Dreamland weighted sleep sack, swaddle, or blanket to help comfort your baby to sleep. With nerves running high, your baby may need an extra sense of calming to shut their eyes.
What are leaps in The Wonder Weeks?
Wonder leaps are also referred to as mental leaps, as this is when your baby hits different learning milestones. These leaps mark significant cognitive, physical, and emotional developments - and the byproduct of these emotions can be difficult to deal with at times. It’s not all storm clouds though. These periods are followed by what’s called “Sunny weeks,” where their whole little world seems a little bit brighter. They’ve got these new feelings to share and cool new tricks that they’re ready to show off. Typically, they’ll eat and sleep better during these periods too (phew).
Why are babies fussy during leaps?
These learning milestones help your baby adapt to the new world around them, which can be hard work!
It’s important to understand that your baby may be expressing insecurities when they are fussy, and showing them that you’re there for them when they’re mentally exhausted and emotional, can lead to a stronger bond. By offering your baby reassurance through their toughest times, you are actually instilling confidence in them, as well as in your relationship.
As adults, we can become fragile, cranky, and emotional after a long day, right? We see you nodding. Well, that is how rapid development can make your little one feel - so of course they need extra snuggles. Try comforting this with a Dreamland Weighted Sleep Sack or Swaddle for naptime or bedtime. Our CoverCalm® Technology evenly distributes weight from your baby’s shoulders to toes to naturally reduce stress and give your baby the feeling of security and comfort - just like a hug.
How do you count Wonder Weeks?
Counting Wonder Weeks can come with some variability between babies because development starts at conception. Since gestation can be varying in length, one baby’s week 10 can look very different developmentally from another baby’s week 10. For this reason, follow the Wonder Weeks as a general guideline versus a set in stone timeline.
What is the difference between a growth spurt and a Wonder Week?
A growth spurt is a term for bouts of physical growth, while a Wonder Week is a mental growth period. These mental growth periods represent different areas of development that your baby is experiencing. With each period challenging their rapidly developing brain to further separate from their “one-ness” with their mother and blossom into an individual.
These are areas of development for each Wonder Week, in order.
Week 4: Sensations.
Your baby begins to become more aware of external stimuli.
Week 7: Patterns.
Your baby begins to sense that he or she is a separate entity from their mother (this is HUGE), and starts to notice patterns in their routines.
Week 11: Transitions.
Thanks to some fine tuning of their senses, your baby’s movements become less sporadic.
Week 14: Events.
Baby grasps the concept of sequenced events.
Week 22: Relationships.
Depth perception has now improved greatly and your baby is noticing cause and effect.
Week 33: Categories.
Your baby is now mindfully categorizing things and people (ex: person, toy, food).
Week 41: Sequences.
Baby starts to notice how things can be put together and the importance of order.
Week 50: Programs.
This understanding of order evolves and your baby now notices that there may be different paths to the same solution.
Week 64: Principles.
Your baby now is cognitively making choices and thinking about consequences.
Week 75: Systems.
Your baby has developed sophisticated consciousness of themself and recognizes different systems (ex: my family, my friend’s family).
The final leap is often the most difficult for your baby (and you!) and many make it through with a whole new meaning of sleep regression.
Can the Wonder Weeks start early?
Wonder Weeks can start early, or late, depending on when your baby was due relative to their due date. It’s important to also take into account that each baby is different, but these developments are pretty predictable and do more or less happen at the same age.
How long does a wonder week leap last?
It’s difficult to say how long a Wonder Week lasts, as each one can be different.
What we can say is there are two phases: a fussy phase, and a skills phase.
The fussy phase can last anywhere between 1 day and several weeks depending on how difficult your baby’s new skill may be. Once their mood perks up, keep an eye for changes in your ever growing little one.
We know these Wonder Weeks are EXHAUSTING, so don’t forget to take care of yourself as best you can and keep on keeping on until the next Sunny Week. Remember that these weeks are markers that your little one is becoming just a little bit more independent. These days go by all too fast, you got this.To make those Wonder Weeks a little easier, count on Dreamland baby for sleep solutions that can make these transitions more manageable. With CoverCalm® Technology that relaxes your baby like a total body hug, your little one can sleep easier - which means you can too.