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Developmental leaps. What are they? Why should I care about them?

They are one of the biggest factors that will impact your infants behavior from birth to about 18 months–from their mood to their sleep. My 5.5 month old is currently going through a “leap”–she is super clingy, fussier than normal, constantly wanting to nurse but just sort of staring into space half the time–just generally acting a little off.

What is a “developmental leap”?

A developmental leap is a time during infancy when a baby is going through a big change in their understanding of the world and how things work. During this time your baby will begin to develop new skills.

Why should I care about “leaps”?

So you can stop stressing so much! Often times knowing that your baby is about to go through or in the process of going through a leap will calm your nerves. When you notice your little is a little off it could be a sign they are going through a leap–and it’s always reassuring to have some knowledge about WHY they are acting the way they are….

What should I be looking for?

  • Crankiness
  • Clinginess (Wanting to be held more than normal)
  • Crying/Fussing
  • Restless sleep or change in sleep pattern (or changes in sleep–for example: my daughter has been putting herself to sleep by sucking her fingers but now all of a sudden wants to nurse to sleep)
  • Practicing a new skill

What else do I need to know?

Understand that these leaps are NORMAL and should be WELCOMED! This is your baby growing and changing. As hard as it is, it’s what they do….right?

Also, understand that not everything is exact. It’s not like the leap starts on a specific day at a specific time–it’s a timeframe. Also note that there are often other things going on during these times too! Some of these leap phases are also accompanied by growth spurts (fun!) or sleep regressions (super fun!) or BOTH at the same time (the most fun ever!).

If you want more information about these developmental leaps I suggest buying a copy of the book The Wonder Weeks. There is also an app you can download to help you track your baby’s leaps.