Being a parent is brilliant. There is no getting around it. I can’t help but gush with love and pride when I talk about my little boy. But, it won’t shock any of you when I say that I have also found it to be really, really hard work.
We’ve all been there: the utter excitement and butterflies you get when you think about the first time your baby lays eyes on you, or smiles and giggles. And it’s true, being a parent has some of the most wonderful moments I could ever have hoped for and never even dreamt could happen. But those of us who already have our bundles of joy know that there are a few testing moments, where you’re filled with fear at how your happy and content little baby, who has been sleeping so well, has suddenly turned in to a monster child who cries and whinges every time you try to sit down.
But what if I told you there was a way that you might be able to navigate the small minefield that it a growing baby. Something to give you patience in the most testing of times. Something that could help you understand why your child is suddenly behaving so very differently.
For me, The Wonder Weeks has been amazing. It comes in two forms: a book and (more usefully) a really comprehensive app. It’s a guide to your baby’s mental developments, the ones you can’t see. The ones that make your child wake up an almost entirely different baby, for seemingly no reason.
I first started using The Wonder Weeks when our boy was about 6 weeks old, which in Wonder Weeks is about 8 weeks, as it’s from due date and he was somewhat tardy in his arrival. Up until this point he had been fairly easy going, but he had suddenly wanted to feed to much more often, but wouldn’t be properly drinking, he would just sit there with it in his mouth as a comfort. Every time I took it away, he cried. The Health Visitor has advised that this was probably a growth spurt, but that didn’t fit for me as he wasn’t actually drinking very often. After a week of having him attached to me almost all the time, my sister asked if I had The Wonder Weeks app. I downloaded it instantly (at this point I would have tried almost anything) and had a read about my baby’s current ‘leap’.
It fit. Every word.
He wanted to breastfeed all day long but didn’t really drink, he cried more easily, took him longer to be at ease with other people… all of the signs were there. Our little boy, only a few weeks old, was going through such a confusing time and the app helped us discover that the one thing we could do to help was comfort him if he needed it.
But, more importantly, it also provided a reason that our baby had suddenly become like this. The world as he knew it had completely changed, and for a baby that is huge. This meant that I stopped worrying about him getting in to ‘bad habits’ (he was only 6 weeks old!) and I found some patience to help my baby through this transition without getting myself frustrated to the point of tears.
The Wonder Weeks maps out the first year and a half of your baby’s development, showing you where to expect a rocky ride and where your baby will be a delight to be around. During the explanation for each leap in your child’s development it gives you a list of things they will learn during each ‘thundercloud’ week, explains how their brain is developing and what games you can try with them to encourage this.
I’m not saying this is a hard and fast solution to child rearing (goodness, if that were the case they would charge an awful lot more!) but merely a tool to help you understand and therefore find some ounce of patience when you are just about ready to pull your own hair out. For me, having the app there to refer to meant I could excuse his temporarily turbulent behaviour, help him get through his leap and then reap the benefits on the other side.
– Leanne Glover, Sebastian’s Mum