Monday, July 2, 2012

Developmental Leaps and Sleep Regressions

I have a friend who has twins about a year younger than mine (and also two young daughters, but this is about her twins). She texted me last week stressed. Her babies had been nursing non-stop and she was exhausted and worried about her milk supply. She asked for my advice.

I suggested sending her daughters to be with family, ordering delivery, ignoring cleaning her house and laundry. I listed glactagauges that she could take to help with her supply. Things like oatmeal, flaxseed, fenugreek, & lactation cookies. I warned against supplementing as it would keep her babies from upping her supply.

And then I realized... maybe they are going through a developmental leap. So I found out their due date and looked it up and sure enough they were.

Then it occurred to me! I wonder how many moms (but especially twin moms because we are already more concerned about supply) stop breastfeeding thinking that their child is unhappy because they are not making enough milk for them, when really that child is going through a developmental leap.
I am also wondering how many well meaning parents have started a Cry-It-Out routine because of night wakings due to developmental leaps (a.k.a. sleep regressions)

So what is a developmental leap and why should you know about them?

There are at least ten developmental leaps. Each of these occur as your babies brain changes the way it perceives information. As this happens babies tend to be much more fussy, clingy, and have more disruptive sleep patterns. They need love and support as their entire world is changing.

It's hard being a mom. It's really hard when your baby is crying and you don't know why. It's easy to go to "Am I not producing enough milk?" or "Are they spoiled and need to learn to sleep through the night". But just like knowing your baby is teething it is much easier to be compassionate and actually help your baby if you know whats going on.

I learned about sleep regressions originally when Em, who had been an awesome sleeper up until this point in time, stopped sleeping well. Trusty old Google brought me Ask Moxie. What a relief to find out that this was normal and I was not the only one.
Start at her " Q&A: what are sleep regressions anyway? " and then read everything she has to say on it, even the comments. especially the comments!


Then buy the book "The Wonder Weeks" by Plooij & Vanderijt
They do have an app out now but all of the information on the app is on the website for free and you are really missing out on a lot of great info (including how to best help your child through each individual leap) if you don't read the book.

You can also sign up on The Wonder Weeks website and they will email you every time your baby is about to go through a leap.  Be sure to enter your baby's due date and not their actual birth date.

The good news is that if your baby is going through a developmental leap, it will not last forever and there are ways you can help them! Remember to be gentle on yourselves during these times too. They are hard. Our most difficult was around 8 or 9 mos. I thought I was going to loose my mind, but we pulled through. We are going through another leap right now and it is not nearly as bad.

Have you found a particular leap to be more difficult than the others?


  1. I so needed this post today. I read The Wonder Weeks with my second child but had forgotten about the leap at 8 weeks, the age of our third daughter. She has fussed and cried all day with only short catnaps while I have held or rocked her. Thanks for your timely post with great links. Love Ask Moxie!

  2. YES! This is an awesome post. I remember reading about "frequency days" and growth spurts in the book Mothering Multiples before my girls were born and it saved me SO much stress. I'm so glad you told her! I think that's also why we haven't done CIO...there usually is a reason why they are having trouble sleeping...