When Olivia started behaving “strangely” at 5 weeks, and then again at 7 1/2 weeks, I started researching growth spurts. Obviously, I knew that at this age babies are always evolving and that you can’t count on one period lasting too long (which is great news for us because it means a light at the end of the tunnel for all of this sleep deprivation!) Still, being the compulsive researcher that I am, I just had to figure it out. Imagine my surprise when I stumbled across this book: The Wonder Weeks. OMG, it described pretty much word-for-word what I was going through with O. (extra fussiness, clinginess, change in eating patterns). And it made SO much sense. In a nutshell, the book describes 10 developmental growth spurts known as Wonder Weeks (these are different from physical growth spurts, although the timing of some may coincide). These are periods in which baby is putting so much energy into learning new skills that she starts feeling out of sorts. Wonder Weeks take place at week 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, 55, 65 and 75 and the “stormy”, or fussy periods can last anywhere from a few days to 6 weeks (in the later periods) and are followed by some clear developmental leaps. It’s great knowing what drives the change in behavior – otherwise known as the 3 Cs: clinginess, crankiness, and crying – during the Wonder Weeks but what’s even cooler is witnessing baby’s leaps afterwards!!
Okay, so what exactly happens? Why is my baby acting fussy and clingy, you ask? I highly recommend getting the book because it has a ton more detail and activities to do at each leap, but I’ve put together an outline of the Wonder Weeks below. I will update each time we go through a leap with Olivia. NOTE: To read more about what each phase is like for us, click here.
UPDATE, 2/9/14: Now that Olivia has passed the traditional Wonder Weeks phases, I thought I’d try documenting my observations beyond Wonder Week 75. Interestingly, the authors agree that Wonder Weeks may even span well into adulthood (think moody teenage years, mid-life crisis, etc.).
Do you have questions about the Wonder Weeks or want to share your little one’s behavior during these leaps? Leave a comment below!
|Wonder Week||Developmental Milestone||Behavior||Activities||O's Behavior||O's Leaps|
|Wonder Week 5||The World of Changing Sensations: Baby's perceptions of the outside world start changing as she starts sensing more of the stimuli around her.||Increased crying; Is clingy and loves skin-to-skin contact; Trouble sleeping (more than usual)||Cuddle; Talk and sing; Rock her (the Moby Wrap is our best friend)||Started waking more at night; became really fussy in the early evening 6 – 8pm||Seemed more aware; Started smiling; Started cooing and gurgling; Displayed preference for bird sounds|
|Wonder Week 8||The World of Patterns: Baby starts to recognize patterns using all senses. She starts distinguish herself from the world around her. This is a huge paradigm shift.||Demands more attention; Increased crying; Is clingy; Decreased appetite; Sucks thumb||Engage her senses with bright colors and different sounds (this bright Manhattan Toy wood rattle is perfect)||Extremely clingy and fussy at night; Slightly decreased appetite some days; Sucking on hands; Read more here||Discovered her hands and love to suck them (favors her left); Gurgles and coos for much longer; Bats at toys; Loves to stare and smile at lights and shadows;|
|Wonder Week 12||The World of Smooth Transitions: Baby's movements become less jerky; She is able to perceive more nuances in her senses||May be quieter than usual; Sleeps poorly; Is clingy; Decreased appetite||Focus on sounds; Help baby grab/reach for objects; Help her feel different textures/fabrics (her Jellycat book with different crinkly fabrics is a huge hit)||Extremely fussy and clingy during the "witching hour" (5 – 8 pm); Decreased appetite; Read more here and here||Rubs head and ears; Touches knees and legs; Plays with voice and makes new sounds; Blows spit bubbles; Pays more attention to books|
|Wonder Week 19||The World of Events: Baby can now conceptualize sequence of events (grab toy -> inspect toy -> put in mouth)||Demands more attention; Increased crying; Is clingy; Mood swings; Needs more head support/slumps head||Help her practice rolling from tummy to back; Offer different toys and show her how to use them (the toys on her Skiphop activity mat are especially great because she can bat and grab at them); Play peek-a-boo||Extremely fussy; Very clingy; Sleep regression (woke almost hourly at night and napped poorly during the day); Read more here and here||Better at sitting up; Grabs at toys with both hands; Pulls bottle to mouth; Responds to "where's mommy/where's daddy" by looking around to find us; Significant improvement in almost all skills|
|Wonder Week 26||The World of Relationships: Starts to perceive distance between objects (and people); Starts to understand basic cause and effect||Demands more attention; Sleeps poorly; Is clingy; Increased crying/crankiness; Dislikes diaper changes||Experiment with coming and going; Play variations of peek-a-boo with toys (this Very Hungry Caterpillar hand puppet is just the right size)||Had a couple of very cranky days||Started officially crawling; shakes rattles to hear sound; likes pressing buttons; "yells" and growls at things she likes|
|Wonder Week 37||The World of Categories: Baby understands that objects can be categorized into groups (foods/toys)||Demands more attention; Sleeps poorly; May cling to your clothes; Acts more babyish; May be quieter than usual||Encourage her to imitate gestures; Call baby to you or ask her to pass you an object (the Oball is perfect for her to grip and she also likes the Tiny Love spin ball)||Very clingy and more demanding; stranger anxiety; fussy eating; Likes to be held like a baby; Read more here||Plays "catch" with ball; is more independent; bangs similar toys together; loves turning pages in books|
|Wonder Week 46||The World of Sequences: Baby starts recognizing the importance of order and how to put things together||Shyer with strangers; Moody; Jealous; Sleeps Poorly; Acts more babyish; May be quieter than usual||Provide feedback during exploration (praise or warning if something is dangerous); Point at an object and name it||Very clingy and grabs on to my legs; whiny; poor naps for 2-3 days||Plays catch with a ball; throws objects from highchair; puts objects in/out of containers (likes an empty oatmeal canister and her Fisher-Price shape sorter); smells flowers and makes "mmmm" sound; Read more here|
|Wonder Week 55||The World of Programs: Baby's understanding of sequences evolves to understanding of multiple means to an end (different sequences can accomplish the same thing)||Moody; Jealous; Sleeps Poorly; Acts more babyish; May daydream; May be mischievous; Loss of appetite||Introduce more complex toys (the B. Zany Zoo cube is a gorgeous toy with lots of fun activities); Unpack and put away groceries together (the Earlyears Lil Shopper filled with soft groceries allows baby to mirror your actions)||Cries more easily; has had a couple of cranky episodes; is more temperamental and yells when frustrated; clings to our legs and clings to daddy's neck when he tries to put her down; acts extra sweet; throws mini-tantrums||Is more independent and adventurous; is joining words together ("mama up"); recognizes sequence of events (bag+keys=walk)|
|Wonder Week 64||The World of Principles: Baby begins thinking about how to accomplish certain goals; Starts making choices and conceptualizing consequences||Wants more physical contact; Is shyer with strangers; Wants to be entertained; Moody; Sleeps poorly; Acts more babyish||Make jokes and be silly; Encourage physical antics; Play singing and rhyming games; Practice animal sounds (Fisher-Price The Farmer Says toy is simple and so much fun)||Fussy eater; throws temper tantrums in order to get her way; slaps things away if she doesn't want them||Mimics domestic routines (O loves grabbing our keys when we go out. These B. Fun Keys are great b/c she isn't fooled by plastic ones); practices happy and sad emotions; vocabulary continues to expand|
|Wonder Week 75||The World of Systems: Baby can understand and differentiate between systems (her family vs. her friend's family); She understands that she can choose how she wants to behave; Starts to develop notion of self and conscience||Is clingy; Is shyer with strangers; Jealous; Moody; Sleeps poorly; Acts more babyish||Practice balance; Encourage physical games; Pronounce words differently; Blow bubbles||Especially clingy; throws mini tantrums and spits||Differentiates between her things and ours; makes up funny voices; speaks in short sentences; loves to pretend; loves to doodle – this B. Toulouse Lap-Trec magnetic drawing board is great for helping develop her motor skills and stimulate her imagination|
|Wonder Week 82||Is really clingy; Particular about foods and how objects are placed (blocks stacked); Naps poorly||Is starting to recall events that took place a few weeks ago (when Dr. gave her lollipop or when we went to the zoo with Abby and Mac)|
|Wonder Week 98||Is clingy and wants me to hold her a lot more; Cries really hard when throwing mini-tantrums; Fights diaper changes||Is starting to understand basic reasoning ("If we don't get dressed now we can't go to the park")|
|Wonder Week 126||Practice problem solving and fine motor skills with more complex puzzles and crafts with small self-adhesive foam shapes; Encourage pretend play with a wooden tool box or tea set||Potty regression; Wakes up crying 3-4 times per night||Is able to concentrate for longer periods of time||Uses imagination to play pretend with more complex scenarios ("I'm only a princess when I wear a princess dress"; gathers all dolls for tea party)|
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