About eight weeks after her due date, your baby will see a whole new world! Leap 2 introduces your baby’s brain to the World of Patterns.
You might notice an increase in ‘The Three Cs’ – Clinginess, Crankiness and Crying.
These are your baby’s responses to big changes that happen around each Wonder Week.
What your baby needs during Wonder Week 8
Your eight-week old baby will need lots of contact and reassurance while she goes through this period.
Watch for cues she is becoming over-stimulated, and offer extra breastfeeds and cuddles to help her relax.
What your baby is learning during Wonder Week 8
Patterns occur everywhere in our day to day life. We process them without conscious effort, through sight, hearing, and our other senses. A new baby’s brain, though, is only now beginning to experience them.
You might find your baby gazing intently at the ceiling lights in a waiting room, the slatted blinds in your living room, or the leaves on the tree above her in the park. She is noticing patterns of light and dark, bright and dim, straight lines or curves, and other details you rarely notice around you.
She is hearing sound patterns – the ticking of the car indicator, the beep of the pedestrian crossing lights, and the sound of water filling her bath. You might find she become still when she hears a rhythmic sound.
As she transitions from reflexive to voluntary movements, your baby will begin to see patterns in the way her body behaves. In her very earliest intentional movement, she notices she can move her arms and hands. These movements are not the subtle controls which will one day allow her to feed himself, or write with a pen: for now, she will observe that her hand comes into view when she moves it one way and out of view as she moves it another. In-out, in-out – it’s a pattern of movement she doesn’t know she is controlling, but she’s aware it is happening.
What you can do to help
At eight weeks, your baby will enjoy toys and books with strong patterns, distinct colours, and sharp contrasts. She will be interested in hearing rhymes and songs with a clear rhythm, and music with a distinct beat.
At the same time, she will be easily overwhelmed by so many new sensations, so she will also need periods of quiet reflection and predictable sounds; white noise played gently in the background might be helpful.
Your baby will find lots to interest her in your home and garden, so there is no need to rush out to buy special toys or books. You can easily print out black and white striped patterns from your computer or cut them from the card. There are books with strong patterns, designed for this stage. Borrow them from your local library. Lay your baby down under a mobile, made of interesting household items. She will be happy to see all sorts of things.
After the leap
Around 10 weeks, your baby will have adjusted to her new perspective and a short period of relative calm begins. You will see she is less like a newborn – a little more controlled in her movements, and more focused on her observations.
She will continue to enjoy patterns in her daily life, integrating them into her play. She will wave her arms with just a little more intention, turn her head to find out where a sound is coming from, and smile when she hears a pleasing song.
But there is no time to stop and smell the roses. Wonder Week 12 is not far away, and Leap 3 will help her appreciate the World of Patterns even more.
Recommended Reading: Have a squizz at our baby week by week series – it will be a welcome relief to your sanity levels! We also recommend grabbing a copy of the Wonder Weeks book. It has a really helpful chart, which you can photocopy and stick to your fridge. It shows you a timeline of when to expect the sunny weeks and the cloudy weeks – so you can quickly identify the reason behind changes in your baby’s behaviour.