The Wonder Weeks

The Wonder Weeks: How to Turn Your Baby’s Eight Great Fussy Phases into Magical Leaps Forward


I scored a copy of this rare find from my BFF when we were down in Singapore.  After reading through the chapter on Wonder Week 46 – the world of sequences, I can finally put to rest a lot of the concerns about gavin that I had been having over the last few weeks.  For such a vital parenting book, I can hardly believe that it is no longer in print!  It’s out of stock in all the book shops that I checked (unless you live in the states and can order it directly from Borders) and in the few places it is available online, it is being sold for an obscene price.

Wonder week 46 is the penultimate wonder week that a baby goes through before graduating to toddlerhood and usually begins somewhere around week 42, although it can begin as early as the week 40 and as late as week 44.  If you’re lucky, your baby will be over it in three weeks.  If you’re unlucky, it can take up to seven weeks before the phase passes.  Considering that Gavin still appears to be getting through it, I guess I fall into the unlucky category.

What are some of the signs that your baby is going through WW46?

1. Clinginess!  Particularly to Mummy.  Although I think Gavin’s doing pretty well considering he still allows other people to carry him out of my sight.  Although if anything is wrong – if he hurt himself, if he’s tired or hungry, he’ll usually only want me.  It was also interesting to note that although baby may also cry when in Mummy’s arms, they generally cry less.  I noticed this during the times when Gavin would be crying and no matter what I did, I couldn’t console him.  When the hubby tried to help by taking Gavin, Gavin would just cry harder.

When I was in school studying psychology, our lecturer explained that babies generally enjoy playing with Daddy more because he’s more fun than Mummy but when they’re scared, hurt or threatened, they’ll only want Mummy because she represents safety.  This goes to show the importance of having both parents playing an active role in a child’s life because each gives something different to the child.  It also explains why Gavin cries less when with Mummy.  Something else I noticed was that this relationship appears to extend to the grandparents.  For instance, when Gavin is in a playful mood, he seems to prefer grandpa and Ah Kong, but otherwise, he prefers grandma and Ah Mah.

2. Baby suddenly becomes shy around strangers.  Indeed, Gavin hasn’t been his happy, smiley self around strangers like he used to be.  Instead, he just wears this disapproving frown that almost seems to say, “Stay away from me!”  I think if it weren’t for his Michelin rings, he might have lost his “cute” label that passerbys have been keen to give him whenever they lay eyes upon him.

3. Baby wants to be kept busy with Mummy’s undivided attention.  Indeed.  When I am nursing Gavin, sometimes it seems as though I am not allowed to take my eyes off him.  If I do, he’ll fuss and pull off the breast.  When he’s playing by himself, he usually wants me nearby where he can keep an eye on me, even if it means I’m just sitting next to him doing nothing.

4. Baby may be jealous – well, can’t say I’ve noticed this in Gavin but then again, I haven’t done anything that might make him jealous.

5. Baby can be moody – think baby with PMT and you should get the idea.  Sometimes there is no apparent reason for the sudden change in mood which naturally makes Mummy feel insecure.  It doesn’t help when you’re carrying the baby and he suddenly goes from happy to howling and everyone turns to look at you as if you’ve just dropped him.

6. Baby may sleep poorly – they refuse to go to bed (too right!), have difficulty falling asleep (oh the tales I could tell you about this one…) or they may wake up earlier (try 4-6am where previously he would wake up at 8:30am).

It almost seems as though Gavin is trying to shift from two naps a day down to one but isn’t coping with the change.  He fights sleep so hard that we sometimes end up with only one nap, but then he’s cranky and overtired by the time we get to dinner.  If we managed to get in two naps a day, he doesn’t get to bed until 10pm when his bedtime is normally 7:30-8:30pm.  Where previously, he would be ready for a nap two to three afters after waking, he now pushes to four hours plus in between naps and sleep.  This also makes it extremely difficult to work out a schedule for our day so we usually end up taking everyday on the fly.

7. Baby may get nightmares.  Gavin used to get these during the first few months and after a while, they seemed to stop, although he occasionally had them on and off if he had a particularly exciting day.  Recently, they seem to have started back up again where he would suddenly start crying and crying with his eyes tightly squeezed shut.  We would have to turn on the lights and wake him up before we would have any success in calming him down.  Usually, I would have to jump out of bed and rock him, at the same time speaking into his ear telling him I’m here.

8. Baby may appear listless.  Nope.  Haven’t noticed this at all in Gavin.

9. Baby refuses to have his diaper changed – or getting dressed/undressed.  To hear Gavin screaming and howling when I’m changing his diaper or clothes, you’d think I was torturing him or something.

10. Baby may lose his appetite or become fussy with food.  When I read this, it was like one of those “aha!” moments because we have been so worried about his lack of appetite and refusal of the spoon.  Now we know why…  He is starting to come around again and occasionally will take a few mouthfuls from the spoon, although the fussiness is still present.

11. Baby may behave more babyish.  Can’t say I’ve noticed this one, either.

12. Baby may be unusually sweet – bringing toys to play, books to read, or expressing affection to get your attention.  Lately, Gavin who is usually rather tight-fisted when it comes to his toys, has been offering me his toys.  When I take him to my exercise classes at Fitfor2, he’ll crawl over to me and start wrestling with me.  A few times, he’ll come up and kiss me – at least I think that’s what he’s doing because he’ll leave a trail of saliva all over my face.

13. Baby may be mischievous.  I think this really depends on your definition of mischievous.  To be fair, I think it only appears as if Gavin is more mischievous because he’s now a lot more curious about things we don’t want him to be curious about – like wires, powerpoints, opened drawers, mobile phones, car keys, and well, you get my drift.  Babies at this age may understand the word “no”, but they haven’t quite developed the ability to do what you say every time so naturally it will appear as if they are being more mischievous.

Below: Gavin after Daddy woke him up…


That’s it for today, I’ll write more about WW36 in the next post…

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

6 thoughts on “The Wonder Weeks

  1. Hi
    It is so great to read about the wonder weeks! I have been trying very hard to get hold of a copy in the UK but they are so expensive! My little boy is just 6 months and he’s gone right off his food-I wonder if it is one of the wonder weeks?!!
    Kind regards


  2. Hi Andrea! Yes, it is very possible that your son is experiencing a wonder week. At about 6 months, babies start another big leap forward where they begin to understand the relationships between the things in that make up the world they live in.

    Loss of appetite may be one of the signs you’ll observe. Some others are:
    – refusing to change diaper
    – listlessness
    – reaching for cuddly objects
    – clingy to Mummy
    – demanding more attention
    – more shy
    – experiencing nightmares
    – sleeping poorly

    This wonder week may last anywhere between 1-5weeks depending on your baby. The book recommends some of the following tips:
    – show you aren’t deserting him (e.g. let him follow you wherever you are going)
    – help him explore the world around him by roaming him surroundings (if your baby is an early crawler, you may want to encourage him to crawl by creating interesting objects to crawl into, out of, under, over, in between)
    – help him explore this world by using his body (e.g. he may want to sit up but may need assistance doing so)
    – help him explore the world through language and music

    Games to play:
    – peek-a-boo
    – hide and seek
    – look at picture books together
    – song and movement
    – balancing, e.g. helping baby to “fly” around the room
    – swimming

    This is just a really quick view of the wonderweek. The book goes into a lot more detail if you can get your hands on a copy. Try a library – they might have a copy you could borrow.


  3. Thanks for all the info! I have tried the libraries, even the British Library which has every book, journal, research paper etc that you can think of but not this book!! In reading the details above, my son is certainly hvaing a wonder week!
    Thanks again!


  4. My pleasure, Andrea! That’s a shame to hear that it’s not available in the library.

    At least you know he’s going through a wonderweek. Sometimes the knowledge of knowing why he is extra fussy these days is enough. At least you know it’s not because of something bad, right?

    All the best getting through it!


  5. Moms and dads, The Wonder Weeks is in print! I bought it at Amazon. Be sure to get the new one and not the second hand ones that cost ten times more than the new ones!


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