Does this sound familiar?"She was sleeping fine and now I can't put her down!"
"I don't know what's wrong. He is fussy all the time and he acts like he wants to eat, but then he doesn't eat. Is he okay?"
"She was on a great schedule and now I can't seem to get her back in sync!"
As much as you plan and as much as you read, parenthood will never go the way you think it will. We get into patterns. We start to rely on certain behaviors from our children. We think we know what is coming next.
And that's when it happens - the organized world you worked so hard to create starts falling apart. Regardless of your parenting philosophy, your baby is going to go through life and experience what experts are now calling mental leaps. These are periods of development and learning that babies go through where (it seems) all of a sudden, they didn't know something, and then they do.
"Research has shown that babies make 10 major, predictable, age-linked changes – or leaps – during their first 20 months of their lives. During this time, they will learn more than in any other time." explains the Wonder Weeks Team.
You may have called them growth spurts.
Growth spurts occur between 7-10 days, 2-3 weeks, 4-6 weeks, 3 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 9 months (more or less). And they continue on into adolescence and teen years. But because your baby can't tell you what he or she is feeling, as parents, we'll see the cues (or not) and try to meet our babies where they are.
So what are the cues? Each child will respond to these developmental changes a little differently, but some common behaviors are:
You may be reading a book about your child's behavior at the same time they are going through one of these changes and not put two and two together.
Because when your baby is fussy, and you are tired, or you need to get work done, or dishes, or laundry, or a shower, it can be difficult to stop and remember,
"OH! My baby just learned that he has hands!
... And he can operate them!
...And that means he can grab that toy that I've been shaking in front of his face!"
So if your baby need a little more of your time, it's for good reason. If she seems to require a bit more attention and caring and love, try to remember that she may feel like she just jumped off a cliff, and needs some help finding a safe way to land.
Our Postpartum Doulas are just a call away if you need help for a few days, or long term support. We are well aware of the trials that come with leaping babies and we will help you, and them, every step of the way.It's a wide, wide world. You are your child's guide through it- itty bitty steps to great huge leaps.
Written by Ariel Swift
Ariel Swift (she/her) does most of the writing around this blog, but we love having guest writers and visits!