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The Wonder Weeks: A Forecast For Your Baby’s Development 

By Dr. Katie Gleisner

October 2020

A child experiences an incredible period of mental and physical growth through the first three years of life.  Their nervous system is required to jump over developmental hurdles that play a crucial role on how your baby experiences, interacts, and grows.  Babies were designed to learn.  It may seem that some evenings you put to bed a completely different baby then the one who wakes up the following morning.  What could have possibly happened over the span of a few hours?  So much, as a baby is born with 100 billion neurons that are constantly firing and wiring new pathways to recognize faces, coordinate movement, smile, and learn languages. 

The brain is designed to be sensitive to new experiences.  All babies go through ten mental development leaps throughout their first twenty months of life, The Wonder Weeks.  They all go through each of the leaps at the same time.  With each new leap, your baby is able to learn new things.  However, all of this dramatic development can cause fussy and difficult days for your little one. The Wonder Weeks are based on neurological research and shared parental experiences.  We tend to track our babies’ physical milestones—holding their head up, rolling over, sitting, crawling, and walking—more so than their mental leaps.  Monitoring your baby’s Wonder Weeks will help you forecast their grumpy days or weeks, and get a glimpse into their new experiences with every leap. 

Throughout the first month of life you are getting to know your new family member and in awe of how rapidly they grow. Around five weeks your baby enters their first leap. This leap impacts your baby’s senses. They will experience heightened sensations inside and out. Internally, your baby’s digestive tract is undergoing remodeling and their metabolism fluctuates. Externally, your baby’s visual, auditory, and tactile senses are heightened. As your baby embarks on a rapidly changing world, they may express the three C’s: crying, clinginess, and crankiness. Throughout this fussy phase, your baby will crave more comfort, so the day will be filled with more cuddles, walks, and gentle massages. Your voice, scent, and touch will be soothing and create a sense of ease for your baby as they experience the vibrancy of their new world. At the end of leap one, your baby will be more alert and preoccupied with looking and listening, as well as smiling and gurgling with pleasure.

Now that your little one is able to experience their world in a new way they will jump into leap twoAt eight weeks old, your baby’s head circumference dramatically increases and their brain waves change, which allows them to start recognizing recurring shapes, patterns, and structures.  If you start to notice your baby having fussier moments, it is likely they are preparing to learn new skills.  They will find their hands and feet and explore how they taste and move to grasp an elusive toy.  They will be fascinated by the contrast and movement of shadows against the bright wall, as well as colorful books and knick knacks on a shelf.  Your baby will gain more control of their body, too.  They will explore holding their head up, kicking, and rolling, as well as making silly faces and sounds as they discover their facial muscles and vocal cords, respectively. 

At twelve weeks your baby will enter their third leap.  This developmental milestone allows your baby to smoothly coordinate their body and perception of their world.  You may start to notice that your baby’s sporadic movements become smoother and coordinated.  They are able to control their hands, feet, head, eyes, and vocal cords.  When they reach for a toy or pull to sit while holding your fingers it will be with a deliberate, controlled motion.  They are intrigued by the change of daylight, the pitch of the dog barking, and the movement of family members.  With each day your baby’s world is becoming more organized as they are constantly learning new skills. 

At four months, babies’ brain waves dramatically change, and their head circumference increases.  This primes your baby for their fourth leap at nineteen weeks.  Through this leap your baby begins to understand events, or short familiar patterns.  For example, a few weeks ago your wee one needed full concentration to grasp an object in front of them, but now they begin to understand that they can grab it, shake it, and put it in their mouth.  This movement requires intense focus and coordination. The fourth leap is trying, resulting in more fussy weeks as they grow comfortable with the changes to how they see, hear, smell, taste, and feel their world.

A few weeks of calm pass by as your baby wiggles away to explore before they enter their fifth leap.  At twenty-six weeks your baby will begin to understand relationships.  The biggest lesson is learning the distance between their parents and themselves.  Your baby will cry and fuss to be in your arms, but once they have reached their goal, they will squirm away to discover more interesting things in the world around them.  Typically, fussiness during this age is associated with teething.  However, it is also related to your baby’s ability to understand and develop new skills with people, objects, sounds, and feelings. 

Between the fifth and sixth leaps you may notice your baby’s personality and interests developing.  Every baby is different, but they all love anything new.  Showing excitement in your baby’s new skills or interest will spark and accelerate their learning process.  At thirty-seven weeks your baby will enter their sixth leap, which is focused around investigation and categorization in their world. They are able to recognize people, objects, and animals.  Now, they are able to differentiate between items as they categorize them throughout their senses.  In addition, their understanding of language will soar, even if they are not talking yet.  Through this leap you may notice your baby being grumpy, restless, and impatient as they go through another big change.  After the leap, they will be able to divide their world into categories.  They will be able to differentiate between a dog, cat, or bird, but also the characteristics that make something small, big, light, heavy, soft, or sticky, as well as emotions. 

With each leap your baby’s world continues to expand.  In between the sixth and seventh leap you may find that your baby has a knack for destruction.  A part of understanding an object is by taking it apart and fiddling.  However, around forty-six weeks your baby will enter their seventh leap, which allows them to put things together.  After a few weeks of fussy, sleepless nights, your little one will be able to point out and name an item, respond “meow” to your question, “what does a cat say?,” put objects in and out of a container, and push an object to where they want to go and discover next. 

A few weeks after their first birthday, around fifty-five weeks, your baby will enter the eight leap.  They will begin to understand programs throughout their day including getting dressed, eating lunch, and going to bed.  Your baby will be eager to “help” and may insist on doing things themselves. This leap provides them flexibility and independence to discover their world.  They may be prone to temper tantrums when their “plan” does not coincide with yours.  However, at the end of eighth leap your toddler will initiate activities, be eager to “help,” and study how you and others carry out everyday programs. 

Your cheerful and independent toddler will enter their ninth leap at six four weeks.  Typically, they will experience a few weeks of clinginess and cuddles before they burst into activity.  During the ninth leap they are preoccupied with thinking and strategizing about what they want and what they are doing.  As they become more physically and verbally skillful everyday is a new adventure.

With each leap your little one is becoming more independent and developing their personality.  Between the ninth and tenth leap you may notice more bouts of moody, obstinate “teenager” behavior.  This independent streak continues as they jump into the tenth leap around seventy-five weeks.  Your toddler discovers that they control their body and can make choices for themselves.  Some toddlers are fascinated by their body and what it can do.  Or they are preoccupied with their families, friends, and house.  Others may be enchanted by drawing, music, or physics.  Every toddler has different mobility, preferences, and talents that allow them to develop into unique individuals. 

Throughout infancy and childhood, your child will continue to learn and observe as they develop their outlook on life.  Your love, patience, and all those sleepless nights are worth it as you watch this tiny being discover whether they like to talk, build, music, or physical play.  The Wonder Weeks provides you insight into their development and variable moods along the way.  Use their moods and behaviors as a barometer.  If you notice that your baby is clingy, craving cuddles, or fighting sleep watch them closely as there is a good chance they are learning a new skill and need extra support.  Following along with The Wonder Weeks Book or app creates an interactive way to track your baby’s development, and give yourself some grace through these hurdles. 


People don’t give us sickness…we take it.

People don’t give us sickness…we take it.

People don’t give us sickness…we take it. Let me explain.

by Dr. Melissa Sonners

“Germs seek their natural habitat – diseased tissue – rather than being the cause of diseased tissue.” – Antoine Béchamp

People don’t get us sick.  They don’t give us their colds, viruses, stomach bugs, etc…we take them.

Think about it.  Why can there be ten people in a room, one of whom has a cold virus and only three people end up getting it?  What about the other six? Why didn’t they get it?  If only germ theory was at work, everyone in the room would get the virus since they’d all been exposed.

Germ theory is a theory that underlies our entire current medical model.  It states that microorganisms known as pathogens or germs create disease.  In contrast, the terrain theory argues that if the body is well and balanced, then germs that are a natural part of life and the environment will be dealt with by the body without causing sickness.

Germs Theory By Melissa Sonners

I believe both to be true.  Yes, germs can make us sick.  But I also know germs are not the enemy.  We need germs, viruses and bacteria to survive.  We have at least as many bacteria in us as we do human cells.  Many scientists will say we have closer to three times as many. 

More research is becoming available as attention is being paid to the microbiome which is all the bacteria that live in us and on us.  Dysbiosis— bacterial imbalance in our bodies, particularly our guts—is being shown to have a major impact on our immune system.  Science and research are proving that this bacterial balance is being formed and perfected even before we are born and the majority of the variability (a good thing) in our bacteria is developed by the age of three.  Good news parents!  That means when your kid accidently eats off the floor or hangs out with his friend Susie, the snot bucket, you are actually helping proliferate their bacteria and, in a sense, growing their immune systems.

Fortunately, the terrain theory and the importance of our microbiome was a major part of our curriculum in chiropractic school.  Chiropractors believe in the vitalistic principle, meaning we know that our body has an innate capacity to heal.  We get a cut, it heals without any outside influence. That happens because of what we call innate intelligence.  When we get sick or are diseased, we first look to what is interfering with that innate system.  

Because of this information, we have raised our family mindfully when it comes to food, lifestyle choices, how we support them when they are “sick” (we actually call it “expressing health”) and what we teach them. 

 So, what does this mean for this moment in time? 

  • For me personally and for our family, it means I am mega-focused on our terrain. 
  • It means I have taught my kids to not be afraid.  They don’t need to live in fear of a virus.  They are healthy.  We make choices every day that have gotten us here, and exactly what is going on right now, reinforces these choices.  Would it be easier at times, to grab a quick meal at Mcdonald’s drive thru? Definitely.  But does that nourish their bodies and keep them healthy? No. We eat healthy foods. 
  • It means we limit sugar, with the exception of fruits.  Does this sound like deprivation? Well, with regard to our immune system, sugar is one of the most detrimental things we can feed our bodies.  So no, to me it doesn’t and I explain that to them. It’s really not even a big deal in our home because they have been raised this way.
  • We are all taking our immune boosting vitamins.  We take vitamin D, mushroom extract, nasal sprays, zinc and multis. They get most of their vitamins from food and we supplement the rest.
  • We are getting adjusted.  Chiropractic adjustments reduce interference to the nervous system’s ability to perform optimally.  Since the nervous system controls all functions of the body—including the immune system—chiropractic care can have a positive effect on immune function.
  • We are getting sleep and limiting stress.  Fall tends to be a time of burnout, so we are very conscious of this right now. Although our schedule is a bit nutty, we are intentional with our time and carving out dedicated time every day to be in nature or relaxing on the couch. This time is sacred and non-negotiable.  Whether it’s a few hours or merely some minutes, we fully embrace and enjoy this time.
  • Limiting blue light. This is a HUGE one, especially right now with all things virtual.  Blue light is awful for our brains and it prevents us from making melatonin, that magical sleep neurotransmitter.  We are all exposed to so much blue light from our computers and phones.  We aren’t intended to be exposed to this much blue light and it is especially important to limit or avoid it after sunset and before sunrise in order to support our natural circadian rhythm.  Here are ways to set limits:  Most phones have a blue light filter. You can keep it on all the time and you can also set a timer for it to filter even more blue light out later in the evening.  Get blue light blocking glasses (there are many choices, but look for a pair that has an obvious tint to the lenses and you should be fine).  I have a pair with a very light tint that I often wear during daytime computer work and then I have a pair with orange-ish lenses that I pop on if I am ever on the computer or looking at my phone late at night or early morning.
  • Last and most important—gratitude.  We make time to be thankful each and every day. Being in a state of gratitude literally prevents you from feeling negative emotions. It’s so important to find things to be grateful for as it can be very easy to slip into fear, anger and anxiety during a time of such uncertainty and in an election year!

I hope these tips help you focus on building your terrain, empowering you to have a sense of control of your health during this time!

As always, feel free to reach out with any comments and questions.