As I’ve written before I’m a keen follower of the Wonder Weeks and as it happened, our last trip to Estonia was during our baby’s mental leap 7. I’ve stopped obsessing about how her sleep might change (read: get worse) and instead pay more attention to her new developing skills. Leap 7 is shortly described as follows:
Mental leap 7 – The world of sequences
If you are alert for newly developing skills in your baby, at around 46 weeks you may suddenly notice her doing things that are quite the opposite. She will begin, for the first time, to try to put things together.
Your baby is now ready to discover the world of sequences. From this age on, she can begin to realise that to reach many of her goals, she has to do things in a certain order to be successful. You may now see your baby looking first to see which things go together and how they go together before trying to put them in each other, pile them on top of each other, or piece them together. More from here.
This is what we could expect after week 46 but the weeks leading to it were challenging.
Let’s cover sleep first. Oddly enough her naps were great, most days she took a shorter morning nap and a nice two-hour long afternoon nap. Nights on the other hand, not so great. She had to be fed or rocked to sleep and woke up at least once a night. Some might say, this is great, but if we were already used to her sleeping through or waking briefly around 4/5am then those wakings while she screams like being possessed by a devil weren’t the easiest to handle. The only way to soothe her was by feeding and rocking again. Our approach has always been that do whatever works (within reason! we’ve never taken her for a midnight car drive or a pram walk) and neither of us want to let her cry for too long, hence we will never try the CIO (cry it out/controlled crying) method on her. I wasn’t even worried that I was creating ‘bad habits’ because she keeps changing all the time and I was confident she would be sleeping better again.
What made the worse nights even worse was that we weren’t at home and in our familiar environment. We stayed at my sister’s, all three of us in the same room, and when she woke up we tried to deal with it quickly and quietly so not to wake others up. It made it a bit more stressful than normally. At home we only have our cat to worry about. 🙂
Secondly, let’s cover skills as I must say I’d rather be happy about what she’s learning than dwell on how bad her night sleep got. She started:
- Clapping hands
- Pulling herself up on her knees and then to stand
- Turning pages of a book
- Putting things into a basket and taking them out (over and over)
- Pointing at things
- Grabbing a spoon and clumsily feeding herself
- Handing things to me
- Making new sounds
Those new sounds… She grunts and growls and gets really upset sometimes, especially when I try to brush her teeth or put teething gel on her gums. She growls and bites me and I’ve started calling her a Tasmanian Devil. A cute devil.
Since we got back from Estonia, she started sleeping through again! Maybe it’s just the familiar bed, toys, smells and sounds that helped her. And boy, did we need those better nights ourselves. The other evening I wanted to stretch my back and laid down on the floor but fell asleep instead. 😀
Overall, she’s a joy to watch during the day – she laughs and smiles, plays peacefully by herself, crawls and chases our cat and didn’t mind being handled by others while we were on our holiday in Estonia. So, perhaps separation anxiety isn’t her thing, she seems to be quite a social baby. Maybe I have to thank my husband for taking her to pubs since birth when giving me time off.
To me, this leap wasn’t so bad overall, the worst so far were leap 4, 5 and the ‘grey period’. She was sleeping badly and quite fussy and I’m so glad we’re long past those
Share your experiences around any of the leaps! I’d be really keen to read which one you’ve found the most difficult to handle so far.