Your baby just turned six months old and you’ve noticed some drastic changes. Suddenly they require more attention, cry more, and are eating less. You’re probably also witnessing mood swings – one minute your baby is protesting everything and the next minute they’re coo’ing at their stuffed animals. Their sleep has also probably hit a bit of a hiccup too! What gives? Leave five, leap five is what gives.
What is a leap?
A leap is a growth spurt your little one will go through, impacting them mentally and/or physically.
When do leaps occur?
Leaps occur throughout a child’s development. Leap five happens at about 26 weeks or 6 months. Leaps, also known as wonder weeks, are determined by a baby’s due date rather than their actual birth date. This is sometimes referred to as a child’s adjusted age.”
What is leap five?
Leap five is referred to as “The World of Relationships.” Broken down in simple terms, your baby can now understand the distance between two objects as well as the placement of objects. This means that when you walk away, your baby knows how far you are. They can also understand something can be inside, next to, on top of, underneath and even in-between something else.
During leap five your baby will, amongst other things:
Make connections between words and actions
Protest when mom and dad walk way
Show interest in details such as labels and zippers.
Blowing air (think raspberries)
Pull themselves to an upward position
Imitate sounds with their tongue
Lift objects to see if anything is underneath
How do leaps affect sleep?
Most leaps can affect sleep as new developments lead to new ways of thinking and new skills to practice. However, there are steps you can take to reduce the impact any leap or developmental milestone has on sleep. How? Well, for leap 5…
Develop a Soothing Nap and Bedtime Routine
If you haven’t already, now is the time to develop a soothing nap and bedtime routine. As your baby is making connections between words and actions, this routine will be very effective in communicating and cueing what is to come next – sleep!
Implement an Early “In-Crib” Time
The perfect time and spot to practice all the new skills your baby is learning, is when they’re left alone in their crib. With no distractions they can blow raspberries, pull themselves up, and make sounds with their tongue for as long as they please! It is important to note that, leaps do not change a child’s sleep needs! To ensure they get continue to get all the sleep they need you may need to have them in their crib earlier than normal for naps and bedtime so they are able to get their practice in and still fall asleep on time!
Remember, if your little one isn’t asleep on time, their body will begin to produce sleep fighting hormones that will make it difficult for them to fall asleep and stay asleep. If your baby skips a nap or takes a short nap due to “practice” then you will want to implement an early bedtime too!
To continue to be an independent sleeper your little one will need to be able to conquer their new skills andfall asleep on their own. If your baby is stuck standing, has thrown their pacifier from their crib, or insists on spending their entire nap looking at their new zipper – that is ok! It doesn’t mean they need their help. Your baby will learn to lay down or not stand at all. Your baby will learn not to throw their pacifier if they really want it and your baby will grow old of blowing raspberries, making noises, or checking out that zipper. Interfering will only develop bad habits as it enforces their bad habits. Throw a pacifier? Awesome! Mom comes in. Stand up? Cool! Mom comes in. They don’t need you. What they need is sleep!
Children learn everything through repetition so by remaining consistent with your routine and your behaviors this phase will pass. (This includes when they protest you walking away!) Inconsistencies send mixed messages and mixed messages get mixed results. While leaps are temporary, the healthy sleep skills you teach your baby will last a lifetime!
This blog post was compiled by Family Sleep Institute certified, Well Rested Baby consultant, Amanda Vriens. Amanda can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well Rested Baby is a team of Family Sleep Institute certified sleep consultants that helps families like yours identify, address, and correct their children’s sleep issues (such as crib climbing and transitioning to a toddler bed) WRB works with moms and dads to create customized sleep plans that reflect a family’s comfort level and philosophies. When paired with WRB’s 360-approach, the entire family is set up for sleep success. WRB offers a variety of support packages. ContactWRB today to schedule a consultation or learn more about how we can help you and yours get the sleep you need and deserve.