Anyone who knows me, who spends a little time with me, who’s signed up to my newsletter, who reads my blog, or follows me on Twitter etc… will know that I say it’s impossible for a baby to sleep through the night, every night, without fail.
For one thing, they’re going to get sick, or have a day of disrupted naps, or be too hot or hungry… the list of reasons why a baby might wake occasionally is not short.
But there is another reason why your baby will wake. And this is because every baby has what’s known as mental development leaps. These happen at roughly the same time for all babies as they go through the first 14 months of life and onwards. When these leaps happen, babies become fussy, clingy and more difficult to console than usual. They often go off their food and sleep poorly.
In their rather marvellous book, The Wonder Weeks, Hetty van de Rijt and Frans Plooij, outline each of the major leaps and what is changing in your baby’s world. Have you ever looked at your baby and suddenly realised she can do something completely different? That she’s playing with toys in a totally different way to before? Well she has probably just finished a mental leap and if you look back, you may realise that she was fussier than usual in the weeks preceding this new development.
I have a very well thumbed copy of The Wonder Weeks. As soon as Frankie shows any signs of out of the ordinary crankiness or if his sleep is disrupted, the first thing I do is check the book. If it looks like he’s at the beginning of another major leap, it makes it a lot easier to cope with the fussy moments and the odd wake up in the middle of the night.
This book helps me to see the world from my baby’s point of view which makes me more compassionate. The truth is that these leaps can sometimes be overwhelming. So understanding that what’s going on with your baby is normal and will end, helps a lot! I highly recommend the book.
But here’s the GREAT news. A free service has been developed called the Leap Alarm system. After signing up to this system, you will receive emails, which give you advance notice that your baby is about to enter a difficult period. You’ll also get a short description of the imminent leap in mental development.
To sign up, visit The Wonder Weeks. I highly recommend it. It makes the first year easier and the fussy periods almost enjoyable! Spread the word!