Wonder Weeks Chart: How The Wonder Weeks Affect Baby and Toddler Sleep

How The Wonder Weeks Affect Baby and Toddler Sleep

If you’re a parent, you’ve no doubt heard about The Wonder Weeks, written by Xaviera Plooij, Frans X. Plooij Ph.D., and Hetty van de Rijt Ph.D. The book outlines the 10 “wonder weeks” also known as baby leaps during infant development (which often cause sleep regressions), that all babies go through in the first 20 months of life.

The book outlines when and why each “wonder week” happens. It also offers parents insights into how to help their babies navigate each wonder week and turn it into a leap forward for baby. But, how do these mental leaps impact sleep? This article will provide a Wonder Weeks Chart outlining the impact on sleep based on my experience for over 15+ years as a sleep consultant. All views regarding how The Wonder Weeks impacts baby and toddler sleep are ours based on experience. The below is NOT taken from The Wonder Weeks book. For full information on each Wonder Week, reference the Wonder Weeks book itself.

Here is how The Wonder Weeks and baby leaps impact sleep!

Wonder Weeks Chart: How the Wonder Weeks and Baby Leaps Affect Baby and Toddler Sleep

WeekBaby Leap NameDescriptionImpact on Sleep
5 Weeks
Changing SensationsYour newborn is “waking up”, becoming more alert, and noticing the world around her. This is understandably overwhelming for newborns!This is when “the witching hour” usually starts – that period when your baby’s fussy from about 5 – 10 or 11 p.m. Be available to cuddle baby often (wearing baby is a great idea at this time); you may also need to feed more frequently in the evening. Baby may also go through a growth spurt at this time. Finally, keep in mind that this Wonder Week overlaps a bit with the 6 week peak of fussiness.
8-9 Weeks
PatternsBaby is beginning to recognize and create simple patterns in his world; he’ll practice moving his hands in the same way over and over, or make the same grunting sound again and again.All this curiosity and alertness can make it hard for baby to settle and fall sleep, so be sure to make your nursery sleep-friendly – it should be dim and quiet. This is also a great time to begin working on simple sleep time routines – start doing the same patterns of events at nap time and bedtime.
12 Weeks
Smooth TransitionsBaby’s movements become smoother and more coordinated; baby also begins to recognize changes in her world, and the patterns of these changes (i.e. every time the dryer buzzer goes off, mom leaves the room).Baby is getting squirmier at this age, and becoming more active – and that can mean changes to your sleep routine. Your baby may start breaking free of the swaddle. Some parents find that baby’s newfound ability to roll interferes with sleep – baby can roll from back to tummy, but not the other way around. Other parents notice that their babies settle into a semi-regular sleeping and feeding schedule at this age. But, don’t worry if your baby isn’t there, yet.
15-19 Weeks
EventsBaby is learning to recognize cause and effect, and to predict outcomes (i.e. ‘If I drop this toy, it will fall to the ground, and dad will come and pick it up’).Welcome to the 4 month sleep regression! If baby’s sleep was predictable up to this point, it may all fall apart now. Continue to work on building consistent sleep routines. This will help baby learn that certain events mean sleep is coming. You may also want to work on identifying any sleep associations baby may have. That will help with sleep training. There’s also another growth spurt that happens around 4 months.
23-26 Weeks
RelationshipsBaby begins to perceive distance at this point – the world becomes a much bigger place for her! This may be one reason why many babies begin rolling/crawling at this time.Separation anxiety may become a problem at nap time and bedtime, since baby now understands that when you leave, you’re far away. This is also a great time to sleep train your baby. Work on weaning your baby away from her sleep associations, and on helping her learn to fall asleep independently. Finally, there’s yet another growth spurt that happens around 6 months, for most babies.
33-37 Weeks
CategoriesBaby is learning that various things can be grouped together – for example, his blocks may all look different, but he recognizes that they are all blocks. Baby also makes big strides in mobility, learning to crawl well, to pull up to standing, and possibly to take assisted steps.This Wonder Week coincides with the 8/9/10 month sleep regression. Baby’s sleep may be seriously disrupted, thanks to all his new-found mobility. But baby may also begin to experiment with cause and effect at sleep times – ‘If I cry, what will mom do?’ Your baby will quickly pick up on any patterns, so make sure not to create any new sleep associations at this stage. Finally, if baby is still waking to feed at night at this age, we usually recommend an attempt at night-weaning. (Oh, and P.S. – there is (you guessed!) another growth spurt to watch out for, around 9 months.)
42-46 Weeks
SequencesBaby begins recognizing the steps involved in simple tasks, like getting dressed, or making lunch. Baby can also apply this to his own tasks – socks have to go on before shoes.Routines are so key at this stage. Most babies love knowing what comes next, so work to continue strengthening your sleep routines. You may find that your baby goes through the brief 12 month sleep regression around this time, and tries to give up her morning nap; we advise that you stick to two naps for now, as most babies this age can’t manage with just one nap.
52-55 Weeks
ProgramsYour toddler builds on his understanding of sequences and starts to learn that there is more than one way (or one “sequence”) to accomplish the same task. This is also when most toddlers start showing strong preferences (i.e. pink socks are great, but green socks are bad).Welcome to toddlerhood, parents! At this stage, separation anxiety often comes back with a vengeance. You may also start to see some nap time and bedtime resistance at this point, as your toddler is learning to assert his independence and preferences.
61-64 Weeks
PrinciplesThis stage is related to the cause-and-effect breakthrough we saw in the 15-19 week stage, only now, your toddler is learning how to use cause-and-effect to achieve her goals. She is also learning that her actions have certain consequencesIt’s time to talk about the D-word, parents – discipline. Your toddler is learning fast how you respond to her actions, so be sure that you are sending the right messages with your responses. This is the time to start establishing boundaries and setting limits for your toddler surrounding sleep, and enforcing them. We often tell parents that at this age, sleep problems are rarely sleep problems – they are discipline problems.
72-76 Weeks
SystemsYour toddler is capable of understanding larger systems now. For instance, she knows that the procedures and expectations at daycare are different than those at home. Your toddler can also change her behavior and actions to suit different situations, which explains why your toddler may be sweet and helpful for the babysitter, but grumpy and whiny for you (which is not at all uncommon, by the way!).If it hasn’t already, your toddler’s ‘toddler attitude’ may show itself full force around this time. Continue to enforce your sleep time boundaries and limits. By 17 or 18 months, tantrums are common. Toddler tantrums at bedtime and nap time are especially frustrating – it’s key that you stand firm during these tantrums. Also, watch for the 18 month sleep regression that happens at about this time; it tends to be one of the toughest.

This baby leap and Wonder Weeks chart has been created by The Baby Sleep Site®. All views regarding how The Wonder Weeks impact baby and toddler sleep are ours based on over 15+ years of experience and are NOT taken from The Wonder Weeks book. For full information on each Wonder Week, reference The Wonder Weeks book itself which you can find on Amazon.

Whew – that’s a lot of information to take in, isn’t it? I hope this Wonder Weeks Chart has helped you learn more about your baby. If you’re struggling to make sense of all this, remember that you don’t have to go it alone. Contact us at any time for real help and kind support!

Now you know how The Wonder Weeks and Baby Leaps impact your baby’s sleep. Good luck!

All content of The Baby Sleep Site®, such as articles, e-guides, e-Books, advice, evaluative consultations, text, graphics, images, and other material contained on The Baby Sleep Site® (“Content”) are for informational and supportive purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always, always, always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your or your child’s medical condition(s), behaviors, feeding and sleeping habits, and environment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on The Baby Sleep Site®.

The Baby Sleep Site® is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other product affiliate programs. If you click on a product link and make a purchase, The Baby Sleep Site® may (but not always) receive a small commission from the company selling the product, but will not affect your purchase price. We only recommend products that we believe are quality products and are good for our readers.

Holistic Sleep Solutions from The Baby Sleep Site®

e-Book bundles

Do-It-Yourself: Just getting started with your research but you want to stop Googling? Choose from any of our e-book bundles for practical advice you can put to use TODAY!  

Become a VIP Member

Do-It-Mostly-Yourself: Would you like to continue learning with the option of getting answers from an expert sleep consultant? We have a perfect solution! Become a VIP Member for access to all of our premium content. This includes ALL of our e-books and bonuses, audio courses, access to our “ask the author” feature giving you answers to your pressing questions from an expert baby sleep consultant, and more!

Get a Personalized Sleep Plan

Work With a Sleep Expert: Tap into over a decade of experience with thousands of families before you! Get a Personalized Sleep Plan® just for your unique situation, get guidance and answers to all your “what if?” questions while you work through your plan, and benefit from expert support along the way. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard “I wish I had done this sooner!” Not sure? Read these stories from well-rested parents.

Don’t lose another wink of sleep — GET STARTED TODAY with our gentler, kinder approach to healthy sleep!

FREE Guide: Five Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through the Night

Join over 500,000 parents for 15+ years & sign up today to receive the guide and Newzzz, our Baby Sleep Newsletter absolutely FREE!

Share to...