Are you frantically googling 'why is my child being so fussy? What’s wrong?' You’re not alone! Throughout your child's life they will go through periods of what feels like next level crankiness. They're crying more often, sleeping less at night and clinging so much you feel those little fingers grasping even tighter than usual around your once lusciously maintained locks.
So, what are the wonder weeks and how do we get through it without pulling out any more hair strands?The Wonder Weeks is a commonly used term introduced by Dr. Hetty van de Ritj and Dr. Frans Plooij. It is described as: predictable times during your child's first 20 months of life where they progress in their mental development. Research has shown that big neurological changes happen within the brain at these stages in their lives, so it's important that we understand that these hard times are all for the greater good. Not to be confused with the dreaded witching hour or arsenic time, The Wonder Weeks are also known as fussy or stormy weeks and you’ll be happy to know there are also sunny weeks. Your child's mental development (also known as a Baby Leap) can coincide with periods of physical development known as growth spurts as well as the infamous sleep regressions. (Please see our chart below) So now for us to tell you about the brighter days – The Sunny Weeks! These are the weeks following the wonder weeks where your child will seem a lot happier. They have now learnt a whole new bunch of skills and they are proud of themselves! It's at this stage of contentment that you will notice your child feeding and sleeping better.
Here are some signs your child may be going through a mental leap:
- Fussier and crying more
- Increased clinginess
- Anxious signs when separated from you or a caregiver.
- Loss or increase of appetite
- Bubs was sleeping well and is now taking longer to go off to sleep and/or waking more often
- Seems much more upset than usual
The list is endless but here are some other common reasons for fussiness:
- Sickness – Colds, high temperature etc (try introducing a humidifier like Glow Dreaming to help open the airways)
- Teething - Try using a teether that can be cooled in the fridge to provide relief (Find these at Woolworths or Baby Bunting)
- An environmental change - Household stresses or starting a new child care
- Room Temperature – Are you dressing bubs right for the temperature for their room? Could they be too hot or cold?
- Changes in sleep - Transitioning from your room to their own or going from the bassinet to a cot (Glow Dreaming is brilliant for transitioning)
- Temperament – No one person is the same and the same goes for your children. My eldest is a handful and my youngest is a breeze and no that’s not because I’m seasoned... they are just different personalities.
OUR WONDER WEEKS CHART
5 WEEKS: STORMYYour newborn is more alert, their starting to notice the world around them, it can be a little overwhelming. This is a peak developmental time and may overlay with the sunny week Hungrier + More alert + Growth Spurt
6 WEEKS: SUNNY
8 WEEKS: STORMYBubs is starting to recognize the world in simple patterns, life is getting exciting! Curious + More alert + Harder to settle & fall asleep
10 WEEKS: SUNNY
12 WEEKS: STORMYBaby’s starting to get wiggly at this age, and becoming more active – which can also bring changes to your bubs sleep routine. More movement + Rolling
13 WEEKS: SUNNYSleep Regression + Growth Spurt
19 WEEKS: STORMYBaby is starting to predict outcomes (i.e. If I drop this toy as soon as mama has sat down, she will have to come back and pick it up for me’) Sleep Regression + Growth Spurt
21 WEEKS: SUNNY
26 WEEKS: STORMYThe world is now a much bigger place so baby might now decide everything is more interesting and I'm going to start rolling/crawling towards that toy that my sister won't let me play with. Baby is now understanding that you leave Separation Anxiety + Growth Spurt + Crawling
31 WEEKS: SUNNYSleep Regression
37 WEEKS: STORMYBaby is going to start making some big strides, this can be tiring for them so expect some crankiness. Mobility + Crawling + Pulling up + Standing + Assisted Steps
39 WEEKS: SUNNYSleep Regression + Growth Spurt
46 WEEKS: STORMYBaby begins recognising the steps involved in simple tasks, like getting dressed, or making lunch. Baby can also apply this to his own tasks – socks have to go on before shoes
49 WEEKS: SUNNYBrief Sleep Regression – this may be the time you notice your child not wanting a morning sleep
55 WEEKS: STORMYYour toddler is starting to understand that there can be more than one way to do something, like I’ve decided now that I only want to wear the pink dress all day every day and now suddenly the green dress is a NOOOOO Separation Anxiety + Tantrums
58 WEEKS: SUNNY
61-64 WEEKS: STORMYThis is the time your toddler is learning that their actions have consequence and try to test the boundaries – All day. This is the time to think about the D-Word and no we are not talking about the wave of destruction they have just cast upon the lounge room we are talking about Discipline.
72-76 WEEKS: STORMYYour toddler is capable of understanding things on a larger scale now – for instance, what they can get away with at home and what they can get away with at their grandparent's house, interestingly they now know how to switch on their behavior to suit a situation. (My husband and I call this “having a Joffrey moment” yes, we like Game of Thrones) Sleep Regression + Tantrums
Some helpful tips:
- Look after you. Your tired and it’s a tough gig but it’s important you don’t neglect yourself.
- Remember that it's not permanent and tomorrow is a new day
- Reassure them that they are ok, change can be scary for them and you so just hug it all out
- Try and enjoy that they want to stay close to you, in a flash they’ll be telling us to go away.
- Going through these phases are a good thing they are important leaps forward in your child's development