This blog may give you an explanation for why your little angel has suddenly ‘changed’ and became very unpredictable.
It is probably nothing you the parent is doing wrong. It’s all to do with the baby’s brain and those big changes.
Dutch psychologists, Hetty van de Rijt and Frans Plooj examined babies and children up to 17 months of age and discovered there were key fussy stages in a child’s development.
The babies were trying to make sense of changes in their world and then the resulting changes in their brain development. They identified increased clinginess, crankiness and crying at these set stages.
They wrote a book with a very practical and entertaining window into baby’s first year and a half. Van de Rijt and Plooij have observed and found, the vulnerable times in an infant’s development. We sometimes call these times ‘growth spurts’.
They published a book called the Wonder Weeks and they give ideas to help support your baby through these stages and minimise their distress. There is also a Wonder Weeks App on the smartphone now too.
“The Wonder Weeks’ is a great book for new parents! It takes you step by step through the first two years of life and helps explain out those mysterious times in your child’s life where you think your fabulously well behaved child has suddenly become possessed“.
There are 10 mental leaps identified
These are said to occur at:
- Week 4-5 – Changing sensations
- Week 8 – Patterns
- Week 12 – Smooth transitions
- Week 19 – Events
- Week 26 – Relationships
- Week 37 – Categories
- Week 46 – Sequences
- Week 55 – Programs
- Week 64 – Theatricism to temper tantrums
- Week 75 – Systems
This is something a lot of Child and Family Health Nurses, myself included, have identified and known about for a long time. This research for the Wonder Weeks was initially conducted in 1992.
I think it’s excellent that a support book for parents is now available.
Understanding why things are happening can only help parents and reduce their distress.
The book gives parents strategies to help their child move through the phases in a less stressful way.
This week I had a phone call from a parent about a four month old baby that had suddenly become very unsettled at night and was a cranky pants in the day. We’d previously worked on sleep together at eight weeks so I knew it wasn’t a sleep issue. Feeding was going well and there wasn’t an increase in appetite or a change on the percentile charts (growth chart). So what was it?
We concluded that it was one of these Wonder Weeks where baby had not yet mastered the art of rolling over and was probably getting very frustrated as she worked it out. So I’ve got mum and dad practicing the rolling over technique four to five times a day for a week. Most babies, when shown how to do this, will learn in this time frame.
She certainly fits into the week 19 and events description and I’ve come across this frequently. I’ll let you know how she gets along.
Love and understanding are the key to a happy child and a happier parent.
The Wonder Weeks may help you, the parent, build on your relationship with your child. After all to understand someone is the basis of all rich and rewarding relationships.
This fits in perfectly with my ethos and that of Nurture Parenting.
Have a read of the book and see what you identify with. It may well be the lightbulb moment you were looking for.
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