Apparently all babies go through the same changes in mental development at the same time – and it is based on dates from conception and not dates from birth. These mental developments are called ‘leaps’. According to the book – The wonder weeks, a leap is a sudden change that brings along a new type of perception. In the first year of a baby’s life there are eight new types of perceptions and is due to a sudden change in the brain, giving a new learning opportunity.
A leap has two phases: the first is the difficult period which can be noticed by more crying, abnormally clingy and cranky. The second phase is when the baby masters a new skill or uses old skills in different ways – they will have new interests and be more independent.
The first leap is in week 5. This leap is all about Aviana’s change in sensations, i.e. what she hears, sees, feels, smells and tastes. Some of the changes in these sensations she will like and some she won’t. But we can’t read her mind and she can’t talk so we don’t really know what she thinks about these changes.
On Tuesday, I think she went through this leap (1 day earlier than the book predicts). She was yelling, crying, screaming – not like the pain cries from her reflux. The cries were different. Nothing would console her, she just wanted to be held close, but not too close, she wouldn’t even go in the sling/wrap! She did this for almost 12 hours straight, I was exhausted mentally and physically, so much so I had to call Chris to come home early from work to help me out. I didn’t know it in that moment that this was the leap, even though I knew it was coming . I felt everything that the book told me I would feel…
Insecure and not confident in my parenting abilities. Nothing I could do would stop her from crying. I’m an intelligent, sensible and relatively knowledgeable woman. Why could I not figure this out?
Concern. I took Aviana’s temperature several times because I worried she might be ill and I was ignoring the signs. I worried I wasn’t providing her with enough breast milk because she would scream at my breast and she wanted to feed almost every hour.
As soon as she finally slept solidly after all that fuss, I realised where she had been – in that leap. The book was right. The book tells me I should look out for how my baby has changed as a result of this leap. This is what I have noticed in her – she will look at things longer and more often, she actually seems like she listens to me especially, my terrible singing, she is more aware of being touched, smiles more than she did before, gurgles (she has only done this just a couple of times), stays awake longer and is more alert. Other things that the book says I can expect to see differently after this leap is her expressing her likes or dislikes more often (although we have noticed she does not like a wet diaper anymore), expresses anticipation more often, is more aware of different smells. Apparently we will also see some physical changes in that she will vomit less, burp less, cry real tears (she was doing this already), startle and tremble less often and choke less!
Interestingly, when I saw the pediatrician today to discuss her reflux and change in medication she said that Aviana is already doing things she wouldn’t expect to see until 3 months old, such as coo-ing. She said that Aviana will probably “want to go to the zoo very soon”, i.e. want and need more intellectual stimulation so she doesn’t get bored!
Mental leaps – I believe in them! The next leap is is due in week 8-9 (post due date, not birth date) This leap will allow her to experience and recognise patterns. The signals for this leap are slightly different to the first leap, although crying and crankiness seems to be common amongst all leaps.
So mums and dads, if you find your baby crying unusually around week 5 post due date, the chances are your baby is going through a mental leap and it is not a reflection of your parenting abilities! Knowing this helped me psychologically get over her almost inconsolable cries!!! If you want to know more, I suggest downloading the wonder weeks app or buy the book. Fascinating stuff.