January 24, 2024

Will The Wonder Weeks App Help Your Baby Sleep?

Babies, Toddlers

The Wonder Weeks app (and book) – will it actually help your baby sleep??

People seem to really land across the board with The Wonder Weeks. Some love it and swear by it, some have it but just kind of reference it as they think of it, and others don’t have it, maybe haven’t ever even heard of The Wonder Weeks.

And for those who use it, some really hold on tight to the Wonder Weeks when it comes to certain leaps and how it might affect their baby’s sleep, and baby sleep is of course our thing!

Maura, another sleep consultant on the Via Graces team, used The Wonder Weeks book and app with her son and enjoyed having it as a resource, but I never used it with my girls and didn’t feel like I missed out. And we’ve both known families who have been really helped by The Wonder Weeks when it comes to sleep, and we’ve also known families who seem to hold on a little too tightly to The Wonder Weeks when it comes to their baby’s sleep.

So in this post, Maura and I are sharing all about The Wonder Weeks app (and book) and if it could actually help with your baby’s sleep. We will cover:

  • What is The Wonder Weeks?
  • How can The Wonder Weeks app be helpful?
  • How can families use The Wonder Weeks to help with their baby’s sleep?
  • How should families not use The Wonder Weeks app when it comes to sleep?

And so much more!

What is the Wonder Weeks?

The Wonder Weeks is a book written by Dutch pediatricians who outline ten “wonder weeks,” also known as “leaps,” that babies progress through in their first 20 months of life. The Wonder Weeks is also an app you can download.

These leaps mark significant milestones babies and toddlers go through in their first 20 months of life, including how they perceive the world, how they interact with you, what physical milestones they might be going through, how their appetite could be changing, what behaviors you might be noticing, and sometimes even “sleep disturbances”.

The Wonder Weeks book goes into much more detail about why each leap occurs and it offers practical advice for how to go through each leap with the baby to them through this developmental transition.

And the app is especially helpful because you can input your baby’s birthday and due date and it will alert you when a leap is coming, when your baby is likely in a leap, and when the leap should be over.

So for parents, The Wonder Weeks is a great tool to have when trying to better understand your baby’s development.

(Maura) Was The Wonder Weeks helpful when you had James? How?

Yes, my husband and I both really enjoyed The Wonder Weeks. We both love research and it was fun for us to learn more about how baby James was developing and better understand how to support him through that development. Not every baby will clearly go through a “leap” just because the app says it’s time, however, James did seem to hit every leap as was predicted in the app.

So The Wonder Weeks was a really helpful tool for us to have, especially as first-time parents. We were thankful we had both the book and the app.

The Wonder Weeks helped us feel more empowered in understanding our baby and it made us feel more confident navigating parenting. It helped normalize when James seemed extra fussy because we understood what changes he was going through developmentally, and ultimately helped us feel more confident navigating the early weeks and months of his life.

How to use The Wonder Weeks when it comes to your baby’s sleep

The Wonder Weeks is a great tool to have in your parenting toolbox to help you better understand your baby. It helps you recognize that they are developing humans and need lots of help getting there!

The Wonder Weeks book, especially, gives you suggestions for how to help your baby through their leaps during the daytime. Depending on the leap, some of those suggestions include skin-to-skin time, regular tummy time, getting outside, more story time, intentional one-on-one time, etc.

And the daytime suggestions of course will help with sleep overnight! For young babies who are starting to really wake up and see the world around them, that can be overwhelming or scary for them! So having more contact naps during the day, or extra time in the carrier, might really help them when it comes to being in their bassinet overnight.

Or when babies and toddlers are learning new skills, such as rolling, crawling, walking, and talking, it’s not uncommon to see sleep regressions happen, as well. Their little brains and bodies are in overdrive trying to learn this new skill, and it’s exciting! So why not practice walking around the crib before I fall asleep? Or why not wake up at 2 am talking to myself?!

But when parents can support their baby’s specifical development and practice these new skills with their babies and toddlers during the day, it can help their brains and bodies not be in such overdrive overnight. That doesn’t mean the sleep regression won’t happen, but that daytime support will help overnight, too!

How NOT to use The Wonder Weeks app for your baby’s sleep

While The Wonder Weeks is a great tool to help you anticipate your baby’s physical and emotional milestones, it’s important to be careful that it’s not the only tool or reference you use.

And when it comes to sleep, while The Wonder Weeks does address “sleep disturbances” in various leaps, it is not a predictor of terrible sleep just because your baby is going through a certain leap.

As sleep consultants, we have found some families under the impression that their baby is struggling with sleep “because they’re in a leap.” And while a leap could cause some sleep disturbances, it is not the reason a baby wakes up every three hours in the night, or only takes 32 minute naps, or refuses to fall asleep unless rocked.

Even when a leap IS causing some disruption in a baby or toddler’s sleep, that’s not to say the answer is therefore, “Sorry, The Wonder Weeks says it’s leap, you’ll just have to survive and deal with it until it’s over.” There are tools and tips and tricks for both daytime and nighttime to support your little one in that leap and help sleep get back on track!

For example, a milestone that comes to mind for newborns is at six weeks old – around this time, newborns start to spend more time awake, they’re able to see farther distances and they’re just more aware of the world around them. It’s a really sweet milestone!

As both a mom and sleep consultant, I (Lauren) have found that sleep can start getting a bit tougher here. Newborns might be fussier in general, or take longer to fall asleep, but that doesn’t mean sleep is impossible. They might benefit from more contact naps or more time in the carrier, and spending more time just making eye contact with mom and dad, but sleeping in their own bassinet overnight is still possible.

Similarly, around four months old, babies go through the four-month regression. What this actually looks like baby to baby is going to be different, but all babies’ sleep physically changes around this time. And while yes, naps might get shorter or night wakings might increase, it doesn’t mean sleep is impossible during this time. Understanding sleep might be more off is certainly helpful, AND we can take steps toward making sure sleep doesn’t get even worse, or that we never seem to come out of the four-month regression.

So is The Wonder Weeks a helpful tool to better understand why your baby’s personality just seems off, and why all of a sudden sleep seems off? Sure! It’s not, however, an excuse to explain away any sleep challenges and resign to the idea that nothing can be done to help.

Conclusion

So, should you get The Wonder Weeks book and/or app? If you want to, do it! It is a great resource for parents looking to better understand their little one’s development. Just remember that your baby may seem to follow the leaps closely, or they may not, and it is not going to magically fix your baby’s sleep!

You also don’t have to use The Wonder Weeks, and your baby will still grow and develop and you will also get to know them incredibly well!

Either way, sleep is possible! You don’t have to wait for a certain leap to pass or until your toddler is 20 months old and is through all the leaps.

You can help them sleep now, and learn the extra tools and tips and tricks that will help you navigate any sleep regressions that might come up due to developmental milestones, so you can keep sleeping.

If you’re reading this and sleep has been rough and you don’t want to wait for a leap to pass or until they’re done teething or you’ve made it through a certain regression, we want you to know that this is what we’re here for!

We will support you through a step-by-step plan to get your little one sleeping, and we’ll help you understand how to navigate those off nights, the leaps, sickness, etc. If you’d like to learn more about what that could look like, check out what services would best meet your family’s needs.

With Grace,

Lauren & Maura