Wonder Weeks Review

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As you travel among social groups on the Internet discussing parenting issues, you might come across the term “wonder week.” Something I have found interesting over the years is that certain ideas are more catching to some groups than others–even among Babywise moms. Different groups online will lean more heavily on some ideas than others. Wonder Weeks is something widely discussed and mentioned in my Chronicles Google Group.

So what is a wonder week? The Wonder Weeks is a book written by Plooij and Rijt (translated by Sonderegger). Here is the info on the book:

The Wonder Weeks describes in easy-to-understand terms the incredible developmental changes and regression periods that all babies go through during the first 20 months of their lives. 

Age-related fluctuations and the need for body contact and attention are all related to major and quite dramatic changes in the brains of children. These changes enable a baby to enter a whole new perceptual world and, as a consequence, to learn many new skills. 

Wonder week by wonder week you’ll discover the dates in the first 20 months when all babies take ten major development leaps. Learn how to encourage each leap forward. Help your baby with the three Cs’ of fussy behavior: Cranky, Clingy and Crying. Recognize the on-set of stressful times and join your children in coping with them.

Based on the scientific- and parental-world-changing discovery of a phenomenon: all normal, healthy babies appear to be more fussy at very nearly the same ages, regression periods, and sleep less in these phases, The Wonder Weeks will help your baby, and you, get the most out of these developmental phases.

In other words, there are predictable times your baby will be fussy. All babies are more fussy than usual during each “developmental leap.” Why is this? Because baby is learning a new skill–the world is changing for your baby. Some are more dramatic (like when baby gains depth perception). This book outlines when these changes happen, what is happening, and what you can do to help ease your baby through the transition.

I find the information incredibly helpful when my baby is fussy for “no reason.” When you have a baby who is normally quite happy and content and suddenly is clingy, it can be really disconcerting! But then I go to the book, and sure enough! Developmental leap happening! Baby will snap out of it as fast as she snapped “into” it. And she will come out knowing how to do more! It is helpful because if fussiness, poor eating, and/or poor sleep are due to wonder week, you don’t want to be changing up waketime lengths, dropping naps, changing how often baby eats, etc. You want to ride it out.

With Brinley and McKenna, any time they had a significant Wonder Week I included that info in their baby summary. You can see these in my posts with a label Wonder Weeks.

The argument has been made of “what about self-fulling prophecy?” In other words, when you are expecting your baby to be fussy at 19 weeks old, then won’t you see fussiness? I think that is a valid consideration. However, I personally only have a few memorized. Every time one of my babies was upset and acting “off,” I would consult and see yep, it is a wonder week. And the reason I have for my few memorized weeks is that those are the weeks I consistently get the most questions about. 

The books is about 20 on Amazon. The Kindle edition is about 10. And something I think is really cool that they have done is they have broken up the chapters so you can buy just one “week.” So if you are on your last baby who is 15 weeks old and you don’t think you want to buy the book for your last baby, then you come up on Wonder Week 19 and think “Ack! I need help!” you can spend $2 and buy the Kindle version for the chapter for that week. In’t that awesome? It also means you could try a chapter before committing to the whole book.

Now here is what you have to be careful of. Sometimes growth spurts and wonder weeks line up. Sometimes a baby will be sick at the same time as a wonder week. While often a wonder week can explain behavior, you want to still think through and be sure there isn’t something else going on. Sometimes you only know by trial and error. Is it a growth spurt? Try feed and see if baby is hungry. If not, you ruled it out. So use Wonder Weeks as a tool and as a comfort, but still take into account other possibilities.

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