Posted in Infant, Newborn

Wonder Week Alert!

Urgh.  As if growth spurts weren’t enough…

I quite recently learned the term ‘wonder week’ through my daily incursions into the baby center community.  As parents, we all know that growth spurts are going to happen.  We also pretty much know when they’re going to take place.  They are easily recognizable by the fact that baby’s eating pattern changes and s/he starts to eat more often and by the fact that they seem to outgrow their clothing overnight (yeah, my little dude is now sporting 3-6 to 6 month clothes).

However, it seems that they also go through wonder weeks which also happen at predictable intervals.  As I understand it, a wonder week is comparative to an intellectual spurt.  Remember the week my son discovered his hands, began using a social smile and started really cooing seemingly out of nowhere?  That all happened because some intense cerebral connections were being made.  Of course, just as a growth spurt has its hardships, wonder weeks have theirs too.  Now, remember how in the post previous to his developmental milestone post I was going crazy because my son was not acting like himself?  At first, I was convinced that it was because of gas.  But now that I’ve reread the post, I know it was due to his brain getting wired up for his next abilities.  Namely, his change in attitude meant a wonder week was happening.

So, what are the signs that one needs to look out for to spot these imminent developmental bounds?  Well, first there’s your child’s age.  In their book “The Wonder Weeks” authors Hetty van de Rijt and Frans Plooji claim to have identified ten of these brain rewirings.  According to their research, these happen during roughly the fifth, eighth, twelfth, 19th, 26th, 37th, 46th, 55th, 64th and 75th weeks of life.  Then, for each week the authors list a few behaviors that can help parents realize that their baby is going through one such leap.  In the case of my son, who is getting ready to getting into the week of “smooth transitions”, ten behaviors are listed:

  1. Cries more often: This is definitely the case with my son these days.  For the past three days, in fact, he has been really whiny and has been spending more time crying than usual.  He also starts crying more easily.
  2. Wants you to keep him busy: Oh yes!  When he’s awake, I pretty much have to either have him in my arms or really actively play with him ALL THE TIME.  Whereas he used to be able to play with his foot piano for a good half-hour alone, he now starts to fuss after five minutes if I’m not sitting next to him chattering with (or rather to) him and cheering him on.
  3. Loses appetite: This doesn’t seem to be the case with my son.  If anything, he wants to nurse a bit more frequently, but he’s still nursing for about a quarter-hour each time.  I have, however, noticed that he is more prone to falling asleep at the breast.
  4. Is more shy with strangers: Definitely!  Actually, I would say that he is more shy with anyone that isn’t his mom or dad.  His grandparents learned that the hard way yesterday when they came to visit then babysit him in the evening and he was whining, crying and fussing every time they held him.  Poor them!
  5. Clings more: My son, clingy?  Oh yes!  It’s cute, I’ve noticed that he’s recently taken to wrapping his left arm around my neck when I burp him now.  He also wants to spend more time in my arms during the day.
  6. Wants more physical contact during nursing: This is definitely happening also.  When I nurse him on his Boppy, he generally has both hands on either side of my breast.  Sometimes, he’ll get really squirmy, but will calm down if I hold his hand.  When I nurse him lying down, he will hold his own hands and will keep eye contact with me until he’s done.
  7. Sleeps poorly: Last night was good.  It was a typical “wake at 2am then at 7am” night.  However, the three previous ones were grueling as he was waking anywhere between 4 and 8 times.  Mommy had some serious bags under her eyes.  Nap-wise, it has also been harder recently.  It takes him more time to fall asleep and he’ll sleep for shorter periods.
  8. Sucks his thumb, or does so more often: Though my son hasn’t found his thumb yet, he does need to suck more often.  He’ll be sucking on his hand more frequently and seems to need a pacifier more often these days.
  9. Is less lively: This isn’t really the case with my son.
  10. Is quieter, less vocal: I have noticed this, but not to the extent of some of the other signs.  Though he interacts less (smiles and coos) he’s still VERY vocal about his crankiness!  😀

A trying as these weeks are, I know that they pass and that everything falls back into place quickly once they’re over.  Plus, now that I know about wonder weeks, I’m excited to see my son’s new skills.


Thirty-something year old discovering the joys and bumps of motherhood.

5 thoughts on “Wonder Week Alert!

  1. Makes me wonder what happens when a “wonder week” meets a growth spurt. I suppose that could cloud some of the signs of either.
    My baby girl definitely has found her voice and her thumb/hand lately… I should probably go check out these wonder weeks as I’d never heard of them until BC posts either!
    Depending on the growth/brain connections being made I’m guessing there are probably things I could be doing as a parent to strengthen that growth… like choosing a more appropriate Baby Einstein video (our favorite thing to do in the middle of the night when she’s too awake to go right back to sleep after a feeding… or let’s face it, also for during the day when she’s not in the mood to lay on her back at her piano mat but has no issue sitting there watching a video so I can, you know… pee, eat, do the dishes, laundry, etc!)

    P.S. my “little one” has been wearing 3 mo and some 6 month clothes since she was born! I believe there are only about 2 outfits she can still wear that are 0-3 month and that was because they ran large!

    1. Oh my, I don’t even want to think about what a wonder week mixed with a growth spurt looks like *shudder*. Concerning the wonder weeks, it sure can’t hurt to go and check. I downloaded the kindle version of the book and read through the whole week 12 chapter. What’s really nice is that besides giving hints as to what behaviors you should expect from your baby, the authors also list the skills that are likely to be learned as well as some of the things that you can do as a parent to help them emerge. If you’re not sure you want to buy the book, you can always subscribe to their “wonder week alert”. You’ll receive an email prior to each of the ten weeks in which a short explanation will be given as well as a list of skills your baby is likely to start showing off. I’m not familiar with the Baby Einstein videos, though I’ve heard of them, perhaps I should go check them out especially if they can help me take care of some basic needs during the day lol.
      And wow! Your little girl must have been quite big to fit in 3mo clothes at birth!

      1. Well she was 10 lb 11 oz at birth, though mostly water weight because I had gestational diabetes so it took her a full month to get back to her birth weight. Although she was average length (20 inches), she is proportioned with long legs. At 38 weeks they told me her legs measured for 42 weeks! So although an outfit may be the right size in total length, from the crotch to the feet, it’s too small! That, and her feet are big, so at birth she didn’t fit the standard size of most footed 0-3 month sleepers.

        There are a TON of Baby Einstein videos – lullaby time, shapes, neighborhood animals, mozart, monet, numbers nursery, etc. You can actually find most of them on Youtube, I own all the DVDs but find it way more convenient to just bring them up on Youtube and that way if my baby girl gets bored I can easily switch which one we’re watching.

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