Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/the-wonder-weeks-summary/
How to Stimulate the Most Important Developmental Weeks in Your Baby’s First 20 Months and Turn these 10 Predictable, Great, Fussy Phases into Magical Leaps Forward
At one moment your baby smiles, at the next, it burst out crying.
You have no idea what went wrong! Is it hungry? Did it hurt itself?
Do not worry; it is completely normal. Read our summary of “The Wonder Weeks” and understand what happens in moments like that.
Who Should Read “The Wonder Weeks”? and Why?The first year and a half after your baby is born are the time when a chain of neurological changes happens to your child. The sequence of these changes follows a universal pattern.
In “The Wonder Weeks” authors Hetty van de Rijt and Frans Plooij explain all the changes that lie ahead in the next 18 months.
We recommend this book to all parents to be, parents who want to understand their baby’s behavior better, as well as psychologists and pediatricians interested in infant development.
Getting what your baby is going through and why it acts the way it does, will help you be more supportive during your child’s developmental stages.
About Hetty van de Rijt and Frans PlooijHetty van de Rijt and Frans Plooij were a husband and wife that after studying psychology showed interest in infant development.
In the 70s, they studied young chimpanzees in Tanzania, before dedicating two decades to studying human babies.
"The Wonder Weeks Summary"Your baby cries!
You fed it, you caressed it, and you tucked him in his cradle to sleep. There is nothing to cry about!
It is natural that you are worried, but a crying baby is not that bad of a thing.
No, it does not mean that it hurt itself, that its tummy hurts, or that it is hungry. More often than not it means that it is developing.
Let us explain.
During the first year and a half of their lives, babies go through regular developmental leaps, which prepare them for the world. In other words, in these months they experience changes in the way they perceive the world and themselves in it.
So, when a baby cries, it is a signal that it is in the process of learning something new.
These changes happen according to a pattern for all babies, with slight variations in the exact timing. To make it clearer, we will present you a brief timeline of the changes you might expect.
Let’s start with the first cry.
When the baby is first born, it cries because it is no longer in the warm, liquid environment present in the womb, to which it is accustomed.
In the first few weeks of their life, newborns react to noise and movement, but they do so automatically.
However, around the five-week mark, the baby starts exercising more control over its senses.
You will surely notice the way that it looks at you is no longer an automatic response, but a deliberate effort to see you. This newfound awareness of the sense is both exciting and fun for babies, as well as it is tiring.
Around seven to eight weeks, babies begin to differentiate their bodies from the environment. In other words, they discover that they can move parts of their bodies deliberately. And once they do, they will start exploring everything that is within the range of their hands.
Additionally, they will begin trying out different positions using each part of their bodies, including vocal cords and facial muscles.
Now you understand where all of those hilarious faces originate from!
Around week nineteen, babies learn movement sequences. As a result, they will start exercising fluid motions and repetitions. At this stage, babies also begin to connect sounds in words.
It is during this phase that the baby talk occurs.
What’s interesting about baby talk is that it is universal – all children start with the same kind of babble.
This was just a brief overview of the phases. Next, we will move to the key lessons, where we explore even more occurrences you might find problematic.
But first, we want to make sure that you understand that all of these phases the baby goes through are normal.
The bad news is that you most probably will not be able to avoid all the fussing and crying.
The good news is that you are a great parent and you are not doing anything wrong.
Isn’t that a relief?
Key Lessons from “The Wonder Weeks”1. What Happens When the Baby Seems to Be Regressing? 2. The Discovery of Options 3. Mood Swings
What Happens When the Baby Seems to Be Regressing?If you ever feel that your baby is regressing instead of developing (feeling afraid of things it used to approach fearlessly), do not worry.
As we already said, the baby’s perception of the world changes, and along with it so do its feelings.
The Discovery of OptionsAt the point when babies start to think more abstractly, they discover options.
Around week 64, your baby develops autonomy and willpower and starts building its own strategies.
That is the reason that babies of this age stop sharing their toys or food, and become more possessive. Once they realize they can make various choices, babies start learning about boundaries.
Mood Swings and ClinginessThe growth of your baby’s brain will be just as tricky as teething. During this process of worldview expansion, babies will experience mood swings and become clingier to their parents.
Be patient as your baby explores this brand new world it just arrived in!
You can even make it fun by coming up with appropriate games for its development stages.
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“The Wonder Weeks” Quotes[bctt tweet="Let him cry, it’s good for his lungs” is not the solution mothers wish to hear. Disregarding the problem does not make it go away." username="get12min"]
[bctt tweet=“Secure the safety gates by the stairs on the second or third step, and allow him to practice going up and down stairs. Place a mattress at the bottom of the stairs, so that he can not hurt himself.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“Your baby may start sleeping less well. Most babies do. She may refuse to go to bed, fall asleep less easily, and wake up sooner. Some are especially hard to get to sleep during the day. Others at night. And some stay up longer both during the day and at night.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“In the world of principles your little one will think ahead, contemplate, consider the consequences of her actions, make plans and evaluate them. She will come up with strategies: “Should I ask dad or grandma to get the candy?” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“Her head movements also become smoother, and she can now vary their speed. She can look around the room in the way that older children do and follow a continuous movement.” username=“get12min”]