Baby’s Developmental Leaps – Babies are fascinating creatures that constantly surprise and amaze us with their growth and development. As they move through the first year of life, they experience a series of developmental leaps known as “baby’s leaps.” These leaps are not only important for understanding your baby’s behavior, but also for nurturing their growth and providing them with the support they need to thrive.
Baby’s leaps refer to the significant developmental changes that happen in a baby’s brain and body over the course of their first year of life. These leaps are marked by sudden and sometimes dramatic changes in behavior, sleep patterns, and general demeanor. For parents and caregivers, these leaps can be both exciting and challenging, as they require careful attention and a willingness to adapt to your baby’s changing needs.
Baby’s Developmental Leaps
ONE SMALL STEP BACK AND A GIANT LEAP FORWARD
Each leap in development comprises three parts—a brain change and two phases—which are then followed by an “easy” period. You will see throughout the book that the “fussy phase” is guite similar for every leap. It may feel repetitive to read through it every time, but it’s important to recognize this. Certainly your family will become accustomed to it.
1. Brain Change
All of asudden, there it is: a new mental ability. And the only one to notice is your baby. Their brain is suddenly able to perceive new things. Almost nothing is as it was before.
2. Phase 1: The Fussy Phase
When a baby takes a leap in their mental development, it is an intense experience for them, as so much changes! That is why the first thing you notice about a leap is the fussy phase. This phase is the onset of aleap. Characteristic behaviors during this phase are:
The three Cs: Crying, Clinginess, and Crankiness
Your baby cries more often, hangs (almost literally) on you, and they are not themselves. This happens with every leap. There are also characteristics in this troublesome phase that are not the same during all leaps, and babies may only display some of them. You can find these characteristics in each chapter about a leap. As a parent, when you notice “something is wrong,” you start to get concerned. Some parents worry that their babyis sick or they get irritated because they don’t understand why baby is so “fussy.” This phase is also marked by a small “regression.” It seems as if your baby’s development has taken astep back… asif their behavior is more babyish, they can’t do certain things anymore, they are less independent than before. Add that to the three Cs and you will understand why we call this the difficult phase of aleap. It is difficult for your baby and difficult for you.
- Your baby may be fussier now than before.
- Crying, clinginess, and crankiness (the three Cs) at around 29 or 30 weeks are not telltale signs of another leap. Your baby has simply discovered that thelr mommy or daddy can walk away and leave them behind. As funny as It sounds, this Is progress. It is a new skill: they are learning about distances.
- Your baby Is probably going through a comparatively uncomplicated phase.
- Around this week, & “stormy” period is most likely to occur.
- Around this week, it is most likely that your baby’s sunny side will shine through.
NOT A SINGLE BABY ESCAPES
All babies experience fussy phases, although it can affect some more than others. Not surprisingly, temperamental babies will have more difficulty dealing with them than will their calmer counterparts. These babies will have the greatest need for their mommy and daddy, yet also might have the most conflict with their parents. If you have an especially hard time with the first leap, though, don’t worry. The intensity can differ from leap to leap. One round might be a nightmare, whereas another is merely a headache.
The Timing of the Fussy Phases!
To make your life that bit easier, it’s good to know exactly when to expect what. And that is actually quite simple.
- Place the leap schedule on page 22 next to your calendar and count the weeks.
- Write down the date under the bars in the leaps schedule and transcribe them to your calendar, paper or digital. Both work!
- You can also use the Wonder Weeks app to help you keep track of the dates.
Your Baby Needs You. Now, More Than Ever!
Now that you know when a fussy phase is on its way, you can help your baby.
As a new world opens up to your baby, you are the best person to guide them through the changes they are undergoing. We hope that each chapter about 4 specific leap will provide you with an understanding of what your baby is experiencing, the way they see the world, what interests them, and what they want to discover. Because you are aware of what happens in the “new world,” you can help your child get the most out of what the leap has to offer.
You Are Your Baby’s Safe Base
Your baby’s familiar world is turned upside down as they go through these Changes. The only thing they want is to be near you. You know your baby better than anyone else. They trust you more and have known you longer than anyone else. They will cry, sometimes incessantly, and will like nothing better than to be carried in your arms all day long. As they grow into toddlers, they will do anything to stay near you. Sometimes they will cling to you and hold on for dear life. They may want to be treated like a tiny baby again. Give them that comfort and security as best you can.
3. Phase 2: The Magical Leap Forward
When your baby suddenly becomes fussy, you may feel worried at first and then even a bit annoyed by their behavior. If you are following the Wonder Weeks leaps schedule, though, hopefully yow’ll realize what’s going on. You may notice that they’re attempting to do things you have never seen them do before. This is the phase we look forward to: the magical leap forward! This phase starts at the end of the fussy phase, orjust after it has peaked. You will be able to see magical leaps forward from weeks 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, 55, 64, and 75.
In the schedule of fussy phases, you see that the bolt of lightning (when the chance your baby is going through a fussy phase is at its greatest) sometimes coincides with the times you will see the magical leap forward. The phases do not always follow one another from one day to the next, s0 your baby won’t necessarily be fussy on Monday and wake up on Tuesday as if nothing is wrong. It is also guite normal that the peak of frustration can stimulate your baby enough that they can suddenly do a number of new things (after all, their new perceptive ability, the brain change, already started at the beginning of this fussy phase). In short, there isa chance that you will see your baby trying new things during the last days or week of the fussy phase. They may start to learn some new skills, but the magical leap forward refers to the full array of skills for phase 2.
Time to Explore the New World
Your baby is more or less over the shock of entering a whole new world. Now they start to explore, and want you close by as they do.
Each new ability enables your baby to perceive different, more complex | aspects and conseguently learn new things. For example, they may now see and | feel how a hand can curl around an object and develop the skill to grasp. With | practice they will learn to put that into action, reaching for and holding on to | a toy. The brain change opened the way to a new ability that leads to skills they couldn’t develop before that leap. Some skills will be completely new to them, whereas others will be an improvement on skills they acguired earlier. The guestion is: which parts of this new world will your baby explore first? Each baby has their own preferences, temperament, and physical characteristics, and these will lead them to select the things they find interesting. Whereas one baby will guickly sample everything, another will be captivated by one specific skill. These differences are what make babies unigue, after all. If you watch, you will see your baby’s unigue personality emerging as they grow. And it is important to remember that your baby will make choices. What is your baby going to do with this new ability? What new skills are they going to master first? Mind you, it is physically impossible for a baby to master all of the new skills that they are the oretically able to master during this magical leap forward all at once. Every skil takes practice and time,
Your Baby Needs Your Help
You are the one who can give your baby what they need and what suits them. You know your baby better than anyone else, so you tan help them get the most out of each new experience. Your baby is not the only one making choices, you are experiencing this new world alongside your baby. some parts of that world will be less interesting, so pay attention to where your baby’s interests lie. In the chapters about a specific leap, you can read all about the new world that is opening up for your baby. You can prepare yourself and know what you can do to help and guide your baby at this time. They will enjoy it if you share these new discoveries, and this will accelerate their learning progress. Admittedly, the troublesome phase has passed and your baby will not cling to you all day, but they still prefer to be very close to you. They want to discover the new world with you—or in any case, know you are not far away from them.
You Can Set Limits
When a baby learns something new, we want to encourage them and make it stick so they can build on that new skill. To crawl instead of being carried means unlearning the habit of reaching “up” for their mommy or daddy. Like the earlier example of a phone update, the old way of doing things is no longer available. Once they can crawl, they can get their own toys. After each leap, a baby can do more and will also be more independent. The more they do themselves, the more their self-confidence and self-esteem will grow.
4. The Easy Period: After the Leap
After a period of being bombarded with all the new perceptions and the reactions that follow, a period of relative peace should setin, a more relaxing time. Your baby will still be busy putting the new things into practice, learning and trying out new skills. You will notice your baby is less clingy now, and some of the pressure you felt to provide constant attention is off, They will be able to play independently when you need to do othet things. Your baby is again the sunshine in the house. Unfortunately, this period of relative peace and guiet doesn’t last long—it’s just a Jull before the next storm. Growing up is hard work!