/ The Daisy Foundation with Lesley Doig

A baby in hindsight: developmental leaps (sleep regression)

Developmental leaps:

(Or “Why is my baby not sleeping again?”)

(Or “Why is my baby feeding so much?”)

(Or “Am I producing enough milk?”)

(Or “Why is my baby having midnight parties?”)

(Or “Why has my baby’s sleep pattern changed?”)

(Or “Why is my baby so fussy?”)

 

You see where I’m going here?

So many questions can be answered with “developmental leaps” followed by, “It’s normal!!!!”

Now, I am in no way saying that all of these questions can be answered every time with this answer, but it is usually the one that I land on when people ask me. I look at the baby, take a guess at the age based on the perceived issues the parent is seeing and what do you know? I’m right! How, you ask? Because these “issues” happen with nearly every baby and are NORMAL!

Often, I ask the parent to think on the behaviours and what we would think if the child was older. If a seven-year-old suddenly starts eating every five minutes and never seems to be able to satisfy their hunger, do we call the parent out for not feeding their child properly? No. We assume that the child is going through a growth spurt. So why is it that if a baby has the same “issue” we blame and shame the parent? How often have you heard the phrase “You are clearly not feeding the child enough”, “You need to be getting that baby on solids, the milk isn’t enough” or one of my personal favourites, “You need to be thickening that baby’s milk with porridge/baby rice/a rusk”. Cue me rolling eyes and dramatically throwing my head back in disdain!

Babies are developing at a faster rate than they ever will again in their lives. The brain and body are making huge leaps and bounds all the time, but these leaps also manifest at certain points. And these magic points of development lead to some dramatic changes to baby. Maybe they suddenly start smiling, or rolling over, or babbling, or move around. The list of milestones and firsts seems endless. But they are all part of the normal developmental leaps that babies will go through.

In summary: during a developmental leap, your baby will most likely feed more, sleep in shorter bouts and seek an increased amount of physical contact. This behaviour is normal so feed them more, rest when you can and try and enjoy all the cuddles. You might not enjoy every cuddle, but that too is normal and perfectly ok. You might find these periods difficult to cope with and you become more irritable and impatient. That too is ok. Get a good support network around you and make sure you are safeguarding your own physical and mental health. These times can be tough and can seem never-ending (especially around 4-6 months when some huge leaps are happening!) but they do end. It might not feel like it, but time will forever move forward and your baby is growing and changing all the time. You got this!

For more information on these developmental leaps, you can look into The Wonder Weeks. This system can track your baby’s leaps and spurts, and even has an app that can block out cloudy weeks when baby will be fussier, and sunny weeks when things will settle down again. It is shockingly accurate! Here is their list of 10 leaps to look out for:

https://www.thewonderweeks.com/the-mental-leaps-and-wonder-weeks/