Cranky and sleep averse baby? It could be a developmental leap…

Wondering why your baby is a bit cranky, not sleeping, wants more cuddles, to be carried more, or to be left alone? Has your smiling, bouncing small person suddenly switched personality? Have you been through the usual list of wind, teething, discomfort, tiredness, full nappy etc and nothing seems to be working? Yep, sometimes there just seems to be no rhyme nor reason as to why your little bundle of joy has turned into a less than happy little bundle. Except, something more may be going on beneath the surface…developmental milestones.

Your baby is constantly learning about themselves, their relationships with others, the world around them, and their surroundings. And, believe it or not, research has shown that they generally hit these milestones at predictable ages…and, with these milestones, come the 3 Cs: crankiness, clinginess and crying. When you feel like you’re going mad with sudden sleep deprivation and a ‘velcro’ baby, it can help to know when these times are so you can understand and respond to your baby with knowledge of what is going on.

These are testing times for parents – Jo found an article describing the 9th leap as ‘purgatory’ and wholeheartedly agreed – the leap was short lived but pretty challenging! Sadly, without the knowledge of these ‘leaps’, it can be assumed your baby is being ‘naughty’ or ‘manipulative’ and there can be a temptation to resort to letting them cry. But, put simply, babies need their parents more than ever at these times, to help support and reassure them through what can be confusing and exhausting stages, especially when combined with teething, weaning, learning to walk and a million other things that these tiny ones go through in their first few years.

“During the first 20 months of a baby’s life,” explain the researchers behind a book and app Wonder Weeks, “there are ten developmental leaps with their corresponding clingy periods at onset. The ‘clingy’ periods come at 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, 55, 64 and 75 weeks. The onsets may vary by a week or two*, but you can be sure of their occurrence.” Great, you might think, but how on earth can I use this information? In response to parent demand, the Wonder Weeks team launched an app – based on their best-selling book – which we have found to be one of THE best investments since becoming parents. We should add, have absolutely no affiliation to this app, we simply wanted to share it with new parents because we found it so flipping useful and strongly believe it is something every parent should know about! Our entire tribe swore by ‘The Wonder Weeks’.

As well as a chart that shows the mental ‘leaps’ (as sunny and stormy periods), ‘The Wonder Weeks‘ app – £1.99 from the Apple and Android app stores – provides detailed information on what each leap will look like, the abilities your baby is mastering during this time and what skills these support in the future. It is based on a baby’s due date and is remarkably accurate – a must for any parents interested in understanding their baby’s development (and cranky periods).

We found this information helped us to relax and understand our babies, as well as support them as far as possible to progress through these important developments.

Did you know, for example, that between 4.5 and 5.5 weeks, babies still see the world in “soft focus”, and that their senses become much more sensitive during this time? Wonder Weeks tells us you may see your baby looking at something longer and more frequently, they may give their first ‘social’ smile (not just one related to wind!), and be more awake and “busy”. Furthermore, as with any leap, during this period your baby may be more fussy than normal, demand more physical contact by only being content and happy while with/on you, breastfeeding more or preferring to sleep on you (thank goodness for slings!). All totally normal!

Or that, between 22.5 and 26.5 weeks, your baby will become more mobile as they start to coordinate the action of their legs, arms and body. They’ll start to show more interest in zips, labels, stickers; put food in the mouths of others, protest as parents walk away and try to stand up. Again, such realisations throw their world into turmoil as everything changes for them, so they may be cranky, cry more and be clingier than normal. They have just realised that they are a separate being from their mother… All totally normal.

Helpful to know, huh?

We know it’s £1.99, but we believe it is £1.99 blooming well spent. It’s possibly the closest thing to a baby manual that exists. It’s scarily accurate and utterly reassuring, and pushes no agenda, like so many other ‘experts’. We only wish the app lasted the whole of childhood as we step into the unknown!

The Mother Side xx

* It is worth pointing out ‘The Wonder Weeks’ app is based on your baby’s due date so, if they were preemie, or arrived after their EDD, the brain develops whether the baby is inside or outside the womb. The app will adjust accordingly when you enter their due date. Clever, hey?

5 thoughts on “Cranky and sleep averse baby? It could be a developmental leap…

  1. Learning about Wonder Weeks, leaps, and growth spurts changed EVERYTHING for me as a mother! Finally, a reason for the crying and sleeplessness. It doesn’t really give you a solution, but it helps so so much to know why it’s happening.


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