Leap 3 & Sleep
Can you believe it? Your baby is 3 months old! Where did the time go?
As a new mom, I remember people saying “cherish every moment because they grow up so fast!” At the 3 month period, I started to understand what they meant!
I vividly remember when Adeline was 3 months old. One day I looked at her and asked myself “Where did my newborn go?”
It seemed like her newborn status disappeared overnight and now I had this little baby that was rapidly growing and developing. All of a sudden she was starting to be more coordinated with her movements and interacting more with me and the world around her. It was wonderful!!!
But this period wasn’t without its challenges as well…including sleep and having an adorable stage 5 clinger!
First things first…
What Is A Leap?
A leap is mental grow phase where babies gain new perspectives and abilities. During these timeframes, babies are able to perceive or sense the world differently than they were able to before. Leaps can affect some or all the senses, including feel, smell, taste, hear and see.
Babies will experience difficult periods during their first 20 months of life while they are going through these dramatic developmental progressions. Babies can experience mood, disturbances, more tears, clinginess and a crankiness. Sometimes babies will eat less during these periods. Also, sleep can be disrupted.
Knowing about these leaps helped explain what may be happening with my baby at different ages and stages. Above all, it provided insight into how I could support her through the developmental leaps.
When Do Leaps Happen?
One thing to note is that leaps are based on your baby’s adjusted age. This means that leaps should be calculated based on your due date, not the day your little one was born.
After this leap, at 12 weeks, your little one will still have 7 leaps to go. The timeframes are:
Leap 4 = around 19 weeks
Leap 5 = around 26 weeks
Leap 6 = around 37 weeks
Leap 7 = around 46 weeks
Leap 8 = around 55 weeks
Leap 9 = around 64 weeks
Leap 10 = 75 weeks
Signs Your Baby Has Entered Leap 3
As with the prior two leaps, your baby may exhibit the 3 C’s to announce the leap’s arrival:
- Crying more
This is because, yet again, your little one’s world is changing and this may make them feel confused, puzzled, and bewildered.
You’ll likely find that with all of this change, your baby will want a lot of comfort and holding.
What’s Happening With Leap 3?
Developmental leap 3 is known as “The World of Smooth Transitions” which includes development in all 5 of your baby’s senses.
- Begins to move more deliberately from one position to the next
- Has better control of their head movements
- Can intentionally follow things with their eyes and will oftentimes survey everything around them
- Swallows smoother
- Will recognize transitions in pitch and volume
- Starts to practice using their own voice, including babbling, gurgling and shrieking!
- Starts to see better, almost adult-like
How Long Will The Leap Last?
A developmental leap will happen for a day or may last up to a week and then your baby should calm down again.
That’s encouraging, right?
How Will Leap 3 Affect Your Baby’s Sleep?
As with the past two leaps you may see a change in your baby’s sleeping patterns. All of a sudden, your little one who seemed to be starting to get it from a sleep perspective, may have a regression.
At this age, your baby’s sleep patterns will start to shift. Around 3 months, babies are starting to sleep less during the day and start to sleep more consolidated through the night.
However, during this leap, you may find a regression in one or more of the following areas:
- Resisting naps
- Waking in the early morning
- Waking more frequent than usual overnight
Deep breath! This is temporary and a normal part of your little one’s development!
How To Support Sleep Through Leap 3
Even though sleep may be challenging, there are small, intentional changes that you can do to try to help and also will work towards creating healthy sleep habits, including:
- Sleep environment: if you haven’t already, this is a good time to introduce a safe, consistent sleep space and environment.
- Bedtime routine: this is a great time to start to create a soothing bedtime routine for your little love. A consistent, soothing bedtime routine is a powerful cue for your baby to know it is time to transition from wake time to sleepy time.
- Sleepy cues: take note of your baby’s sleepy cues. These are good indicators that it is time to put baby down to sleep.
- Pause: for night wakings and for short naps, begin to pause instead of rushing in. Your baby may start to surprise you by resettling themself without a feed or any help from you!
- Scale back: if you’ve been helping your baby to settle to sleep, you can begin replacing your baby’s preferred sleep associations (eating to sleep, rocking/bouncing/holding to sleep) with sleep associations that aren’t your little one’s favorite, but are still effective. Then gradually begin pulling back on those alternate methods, gently teaching your baby to self-settle to sleep.
- Eliminate unnecessary night feeds: we always want to meet our babies needs, but we want to move away from your baby’s reliance on feeding back to sleep so we can avoid creating a sleep crutch (aka sleep association or sleep prop). Many babies are beginning to be able to sleep longer stretches at night between feedings. The first stretch of sleep at night can be 5-8 hours at this age! Then the subsequent feeds are normally every 3-4 hours after that. This means that if your baby is still eating every 2 hours at night and you know they aren’t waking out of hunger, with your pediatrician’s approval, you may want to start offering feeding 2-3 times at night max. Try to use feeding only as a last resort outside of those timeframes.
Leap 3 & Sleep Takeaway
During this leap, your baby will be making major progress in their development, which can result in a disruption in sleep. This is temporary, usually a few days to a week. But now is an excellent time to begin making small, intentional changes so that you don’t continue with habits that will be harder to break once your baby turns 4 months old.
Feel like you may need more insight and help in helping your baby through this leap and creating healthy sleep habits! Our team would LOVE to help you. Please reach out to learn more about working together.
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