I’m incredibly fortunate to have other mama friends whose babies were born around the time Tycho was; not only do I have a lot of women to ask for opinions and to share funny stories, but we love to share what we’ve found that may help us in raising our children.
One of the biggest things that was found by a fellow mama was a concept called the Wonder Weeks. There are, of course, well-known “growth spurts” and other milestones that happen with every baby, but these describe more than what’s going on physically; instead, it goes into the mental leaps a baby makes at certain points in his development, and while they may coincide with growth spurts, they’re not defined by physical growth.
In a nutshell, there are periods in a baby’s development where he will become more clingy and fussy, and when his sleeping and eating patterns will be (for no better choice of words) shot to shit. They’re narrowed down to the three Cs: Clinginess, Crankiness, and Crying. The good news is that they definitely have a start and an end — meaning, a light at the end of the tunnel! — and the baby emerges from the “stormy” periods having learned new skills that he starts trying out.
I strongly suggest you get the book linked above, as there’s so much great information about when each leap starts and ends (and yes, the periods are pretty definite, off by only as much as two weeks), what the baby will learn when he emerges from the leap, and what to try to foster those new-found skills. There’s also an app, available through the iTunes store and Google Play store.
Tycho is 27.5 weeks old and now firmly in the fifth leap, the World of Relationships, where he starts to perceive distance between objects. He’s been really clingy lately, not wanting to be put down, and is getting really fussy when we change his diapers and his clothes, preferring instead to be naked or just in the same clothes. The past few nights have been rough, too, as his sleep is (as I said before) shot to shit, waking every 45 minutes to two hours at night. It’s not unbearable, but we got used to putting him down at 7:30 or so and not hearing from him until 3am when he wakes from hunger.
But like I said, there’s hope! The end of each leap has been great, and he’s been the happy-go-lucky, smiley baby that we all know and love. So, like every other leap… this too shall pass.
Have you noticed that your own child is going through his or her own periods of crankiness, too? Maybe he’s acting a bit fussy, super clingy, a bit unlike himself? It may be a leap! Check out the chart below to see where your baby falls; it may give you some insight as to how to handle these fussy periods and when you may see an end.
(Note that Wonder Weeks are from a baby’s estimated due date, and not the day he or she was born. So Tycho’s would be as of 25 April, his due date, and not as of his 13 April birthday.)