1/10/12

When are the Wonder Weeks?


There are ten Wonder Weeks the first 20 months of a baby's life. Each wonder week has a fussy period at the start of it (see the post Signs a wonder week is about to start for fussy signs). If it sounds like I am speaking total gibberish to you right now, then check out the posts WW Book Review and What are the Wonder Weeks :)

Knowing when one of these weeks occurs can help a lot when troubleshooting baby's suddenly fragile (and, let's just admit, nightmarish) condition. Yes, you'll want to rule out that baby isn't sick or in pain etc. first, but after you do that, you can be comforted by the fact that baby is being fussy not because of something you have done, but because she is in a Wonder Week. If you own the book, you'll also get loads of tips on how to help baby reach his potential during and after these leaps.


All babies go through these wonder weeks at a predictable time, give or take a week or two. They usually last anywhere from 3 days to a few weeks (although, gulp, they can last up to 6 weeks long!), often increasing in length as baby gets older. But don't worry, they also occur less often as baby gets older.


They don't necessarily coincide with growth spurts, cutting teeth or other common baby milestones, although they might end up, by chance, happening around the same time. Physical developments may be indirectly related since babies start to be able to do more physically as they understand more mentally.


Make sure to calculate weeks from the due date, not the actual delivery date. If it is tricky trying to figure out how to keep track of how many weeks old your child is, try writing your baby's age in weeks on your calendar at the beginning of each month. I have also included the months for you with each of the weeks (following the complaints of my sister Sharon:)


Here's a helpful chart on the Wonder Weeks. And there's even an iphone app.


Wonder Weeks and Fussy Periods:

  • Wonder Week 5 - fussiness starts around 5 weeks and usually lasts 1-7 days.
  • Wonder Week 8 - fussiness starts around 8 weeks and usually lasts 3-14 days
  • Wonder Week 12 - fussiness starts around 12 weeks/2.8 months and usually lasts 1-7 days
  • Wonder Week 19 - fussiness starts around 15 weeks/3.5 months, peaks at 17 weeks and skills appear around 19 weeks. It usually lasts 1-6 weeks **From now on Fussy periods will last longer than previously
  • Wonder Week 26 - fussiness starts around 23 weeks/5.3 months, peaks at 26 weeks and skills appear around 26 weeks. It usually lasts 1-5 weeks
  • Weeks 29/30 or 6.8 months - This isn't actually a Wonder Week, but many babies act fussy during this time as they begin to understand that their mommy can leave them. Just thought I'd let you know :)
  • Wonder Week 37 - fussiness starts around 34 weeks/7.8 months, peaks at 36 weeks and skills appear around 37 weeks. It usually lasts 3-6 weeks
  • Wonder Week 46 - fussiness starts around 42 weeks/9.7 months, peaks at 44 weeks and skills appear around 46 weeks. It usually lasts 3-7 weeks
  • Wonder Week 55 - fussiness starts around 51 weeks/11.7 months, often peaks at 53 weeks and skills appear around 55 weeks. It usually lasts 3-6 weeks
  • Wonder Week 64 / 14.7 months
  • Wonder Week 75 / 17.2 months
  • Over 20 months - Other wonder weeks have been documented throughout childhood. It is also suspected that adults even go through some wonder weeks.
For loads more information on your baby's sleep, from short naps to bedtime battles, check out the blog index, sleep by age index and blog user guide. It's time to say goodbye to sleep problems!

41 comments :

  1. How interesting! My little one is going through a wonder week as I write!! And here I was , thinking I was doing something wrong. Honestly, this is the FIRST time I am hearing about this!! Thanks so much for the valuable info!!

    Aarathi

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  2. Aarathi,
    Good timing for the post! Isn't it weird that this stuff isn't more well known. It would save people a lot of stress!

    Rachel

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  3. I miss the baby stage too. It goes so fast that you just can't get enough.

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  4. Returning the visit! Thanks for visiting! Interesting post!

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  5. Self sagacity,
    I have really felt like I can't get enough of my little guy the second time around. The first time yes, but I think I was so excited to see him grow up and do new things that I was ok with him leaving the baby stage.

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  6. Or this post takes me back to the days when my two where like that :-) Thanks for popping over from alexa http://www.beckvalleybooks.blogspot.com xx

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  7. Hi! I'm returning the follow:)

    Thanks for following me!

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  8. Thanks for all of the great info! Thank you for following Random Endeavors. Have a great day!!

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  9. Hello! Sorry for the late visit. I'm here for Alexa hop :)

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  10. Thanks for following Mommy Time Out

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  11. Thanks for stopping by beckvalleybooks! You bet you don't miss your kids going through their wonder weeks :)

    Rachel

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  12. Thanks for the visit Tonya. Glad the information was helpful!

    Rachel

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  13. Thanks for the visit Alegene!

    Rachel

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  14. Thanks for stopping by angela.

    Rachel

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  15. Thank you for linking to the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop Linky Party at Katherines Corner. Hugs and smooches and wishes for a wonderful weekend!

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  16. Thanks Katherine, It was a busy but great weekend!

    Rachel

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  17. Good article, except you spelled peaks wrong every time...sorry, I'm a spelling Nazi :P

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    1. Thanks vegancatlady. Unfortunately I'm sure I have a million spelling and grammar errors (some of these are actually intended) on this blog. I'm not the best english person in the world, and sometimes I don't even have time to look over a post before publishing it. I guess I could keep it at peek if you want to think of it a different way. Actually kind of works!

      Delete
  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. So, does the 5 week one start when they are in their 5th week (aka 4 weeks old and some change) or when they turn 5 weeks? Thanks!!

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    1. Good question AB,
      I believe it is suppose to be when they are 5 weeks old. So the end of their 5th week. But it can easily vary at this age by a week so the exact 'when' only matters so much :)

      Rachel

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  20. Just started reading up on the wonder weeks... We are now at our 4 th wonder week... Ouch first long one... What are other mothers doing with schedules during these periods?? Our sleep training went out the window with the 3 month growth spurt, and now lost our 10 hrs straight sleep... Really gone back to 2 months.... Also, how are other mommies dealing with crying fits?? It's exhausting ATM sometimes hitting scary nerves where I remove myself from the room to calm down....

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    1. Gabrielle,
      Are you around 3.5 or 5.5 months?? If 5.5 months, your little one is probably starting to protest and I would try to give as little attention to that as possible to not reinforce it. You should learn to tell the difference between the cries--protest, pain, hunger etc with some practice. If it crying because she feels uncomfortable, then I would try to give comfort and mainly distract at this age. You are doing the right thing to leave the room when you feel overly upset. I'd try to get some extra support during this rough time and have someone watch baby while you go out and have a little time to yourself. This is really important to do during the tough times with baby so you don't get too overwhelmed. Even 20 minutes walking around the block will do tons to help you feel better. In fact, walks may also help your baby feel better and relax.

      During wonder weeks I try to keep things as normal as possible but offer comfort (as much as is needed, try not to go overboard during sleep times) when it is needed. Some babies won't regress with sleep or will only regress during the wonder week then go back to normal. Some will still struggle once the wonder week is over so you'll have to work a bit harder on sleep once you get to that point.

      Rachel

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  21. This is a really great post. I knew about the wonder weeks but didn't know the schedule for the start of the fussy periods. This explains so much! My daughter's been very fussy for the last few days - including sleep disruptions - and I couldn't figure out why (she's otherwise content and healthy). According to your post she's right on track for the fussy period for wonder week 19.

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    1. Monique,
      Even if you don't end up being able to do much about the fussiness, it really gives you peace of mind to know what is going on, huh.

      Delete
  22. What's a good awake time for a 18 week old (4months) we get usually 45-1 hr sleep then crying after 1.20 of waketime..she always goes down so easy that's why thought was good awake time. Babywise says 45 min nap are OT are they UT? Thanks!! Also do you think bad sleep this age connected with Wonder Week?

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    1. Garrett and Denise Stone,
      Bad sleep any age can be connected to a wonder week, especially right now. But it can be due to lots more too.
      Check out this post for waketime length. You'll likely be around 1.5 hours
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/02/wake-time.html

      Short naps can be due to ot and ut. But often they happen for no good reason. Look at this post for more...
      http://www.mybabysleepguide.com/2009/02/waking-early-from-naps.html

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  23. Wow, so glad I saw this post! My son is 37 weeks and has turned into a different baby! Sleeping only an hour and a half at night before waking up with the most horrible crying, not content seems bored and just very fussy! Thought I was doing something wrong and feeling so guilty! I can NOT WAIT for this to be over! Thank you for the information!

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    1. Ashley joe,
      It's amazing how much it helps just to know int your fault--even if you can't do anything about it. I hope you're out of it by now.

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  24. Ha ha Rachel. I was just reviewing this post for my new babies and noticed I must have complained when Liam was little about the months not being posted!

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  25. I have purchased this book and at first was very happy with it, but as the chapters went by (I'm at the wonder 37th week) i realised that it's almost a copy paste, it's always the same signs/ symptons. They are also varied which actually cover any child behavior. Also, although the wonder week peaks at a certain time, it says it can strat a few weeks before and last up to 6weeks, by which time you get to the next wonder week early point-which always makes laugh! No respite for tired mummies!! I'm sure there is truth to it but i feel more observation is needed to define the different chapters, or make the book shorter instead of repeating the same. Unless it's written with keeping in mind that mums are gonna go straight to the page they need. Anyway, just the thoughts of a sleep deprived mum!!
    On another note, thank you for your work on here, I have been reading everything on it since my son was 4 months old and napping only 30min, he is now 9mo, napping brilliantly and almost sttn, I just need to sort out his 5.30am wakings, he's too excited and using his cot as trampoline! Lol. Looking fwd to you next posts.

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    1. Esmeralda,
      It is a bit much to go through if you go through more than just where your child is at once. I agree, much of the s/s are the same, but they do vary a bit. I'm sure to the authors that are so heavily involved with it would think they vary quite a bit, but for me, it pretty much sums up to bad sleep and difficult behavior.

      I'm glad you've found this site helpful!

      Rachel

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  26. My boy is a premie, he is 8 weeks 4 days, started being fussy exactly in the beginning of 8 week. His corrected age is 16 days ( he is a 34th weeker

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    1. Mouni,
      Some babies will start to get a bit fussy as they get past the super sleepy first two weeks (which would be about 8 weeks for you). Sometimes there is a cause, like tiredness or reflux, sometimes it is something that you have to wait out during the newborn period.

      Rachel

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  27. Great advise here.
    My 9 and a half week old started this lastnight. His isn't accomanied by less sleep, but was sleeping all day, when he was awake he was very fussy, I thought he was getting sick. Our five and six hour stetches have gone down to 3 or 4 sometimes 2. He has also started drooling a lot? Is this normal?
    He normally has short frequent naps during the day, and we already seem to be on track as hes awake longer today, but I was positive he was getting ill yesterday. Can these last just a day or two?
    You seem very insighful, any advice on the short naps? Is this just him? My other son had long naps.

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    1. Ashley White-Fougere,
      Yes, it can just last a day or two. Sounds like it may have been a growth spurt too. Maybe he was eating more too? He could also be ill. It's a little hard to know not seeing him, and sometimes you figure out what was wrong once you are past the phase ;) Check out the short nap post. (under naps in the index). That has a link for extending naps on it too once you troubleshoot some things. Best of luck,

      Rachel

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  28. I need some advice! I am trying to ST my 16 week old, but could we be in the middle of a wonder week and it not be a good time?? and is there any relation to drooling and wonder weeks? I don't feel any teeth, and last fussy period she had was also major drooling... thx :)

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    1. Andrea Q,
      Drooling usually increases at 4 months, regardless of teething--so that might be the cause there. There isn't a connection to drooling and WW that I know of, but since there are so many wonder weeks and so many teeth coming in, they are sure to happen at the same time eventually.

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