The Wonder Weeks blog #5: My Wonder Weeks Journal

Logo_TheWonderWeeks_300dpiYou can be the writer of the best, most special book ever!

How did YOUR baby make the leaps? What did he do? How did he react? What did he like to look at?

 

You do not have to be a writer to become the writer of the Best Journal Ever. You just have to write down the daily ‘normal’ things that you observe your baby doing.

Journal 3dThe NEW Wonder Weeks Journal will help you to get an insight into the little things that make a big impact.  Writing and scrapbooking in this journal is fun PLUS the questions make you much more aware of the brainy things your clever, smart, fabulous baby is doing.

My Journal_1Collect and create the best of each leap.  Be as creative as you want!  Stick all your special memorabilia in the journal.  It might be a receipt of the latte you drank at that special little café where the waiters always compliment your baby, the label of the bear that was interesting to your baby this leap, or a lipstick kiss of grandma who, just like with every leap, kissed your baby all over.  It’s these little memories that make a big difference later on!

‘My Wonder Weeks Journal’ is based on the worldwide bestseller ‘The Wonder Weeks explaining the perceptual world and the leaps babies make from 0-20 months.  Based on extensive research at top Universities.

My Wonder Weeks Journal . . . For all those magical leaps

Meet Xaviera Plas-Plooij at BabyExpo Berkshire and hear more about The Wonder Weeks!

www.thewonderweeks.com

 

The Wonder Weeks Blog #4: What the BLEEP do babies know?

Logo_TheWonderWeeks_300dpiHave you ever seen the movie, What the Bleep Do We Know? If not… do so! The way they explain the basics of quantum physics is quite similar to the way I explain how babies’ brains change dramatically every so often and why they can’t perceive certain things before each change in The Wonder Weeks.

In What the Bleep Do We Know?, they explain to us that the Native Americans couldn’t perceive Columbus’ boats at the horizon. Why? Not because they had problems with their vision, but because the boats at the horizon were so very different from anything they had ever seen before.

With babies, it is a little like this, too. If their brains are not yet wired to perceive something that we adults can see, then that something isn’t there as far as the babies are concerned. Of course, there are huge differences between the Native Americans not perceiving the boats and babies being unable to perceive certain things, but the basic idea is the same.

After years of studies, we found out that babies go through 10 mental developmental leaps in their first 20 months of life, and after each leap they perceive the world around them in a totally different way. That frightens them and that is why they get fussy for a while! The bad news is that such periods are very difficult for both parents and babies and they are characterized by the three C’s: Clingy, Cranky and Crying.

And now the good news: We know exactly when these periods start, what babies are able to perceive and learn after each leap and why babies can suddenly do and understand ten times more than before each leap.

image What The BLEEPThe 10 new types or levels of perception that are given to your baby at predictable ages are arranged hierarchically. Each new higher level of perception is superimposed onto the lower levels of perception that are present already. If your baby has reached only the fifth level of perception, that level is on top. Also the peak experiences for your baby are things that we adults take for granted. Every Wonder Week leap enables your baby to perceive the world more in the way we adults do; every leap brings your baby one step closer. So, the younger your baby is, the more difficult it is for us as parents to descend to our babies’ way of looking at the world. But, it is crucial that we try. If you succeed, you can understand and better able to deal with things such as:

•           Sleeping problems

•           Cranky, Crying and Clingy phases

•           Separation anxiety

•           Temper tantrums

And so on…

The best solution to all these problems is to know and be aware of how your baby perceives the world. Basically, to Know What the Bleep Babies Know…

Meet Xaviera Plas-Plooij at BabyExpo Berkshire and hear more about The Wonder Weeks!

www.thewonderweeks.com

The Wonder Weeks Blog #3: One of the reasons mothers stop breastfeeding?

Logo_TheWonderWeeks_300dpiIt’s not your imagination– all babies go through a difficult period around the same age. Research by Dr. Frans Plooij Ph.D. and Dr. Hetty van de Rijt Ph.D., has shown that babies make 10 major, predictable, age-linked changes – or leaps – during the first 20 months of their lives taking place around weeks 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, 55, 64 and 75.  During this time, they will learn more than in any other time.  With each leap comes a drastic change in your baby’s mental development, which not only affects his mood, his health, sleeping patterns and the “three C’s” (crying, clinging and crankiness) but also… baby’s drinking and comfort seeking habits.  Unfortunately these Wonder Weeks are often a reason for mums who do not know about these wonder weeks, to stop breast-feeding their child.

With every new wonder week a baby gets a totally new perception of the world.  Every Wonder Week is like waking up on a strange planet.  A baby did not ask for this, did not see it coming, but suddenly this whole new world was there.  What would you do?  You would retreat to a well-known and safe place.  For a baby that is mum.  How would you do that?  By literally clinging to your mum.  Being one with her, holding on tight and the best way to do that would be via literally sucking yourself to your mum.  This is where breast-feeding and Wonder Weeks meet.  Whilst on the one hand Wonder Weeks are in fact something good and signal progress in development, on the other hand, when the Wonder Weeks are misunderstood, they are often the reason mums give up breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding“My daughter was crying so much that I was afraid something was terribly wrong.  She wanted to breastfeed constantly.  I took her to see the paediatrician, but he couldn’t find anything wrong with her.  He said she just needed to get used to my milk and that many infants went through a similar crying phase at 5 weeks.  I thought that was a strange thing to say, because she hadn’t had any problems with my milk until then.  Her cousin, who was the same age, kept crying, too, but he was being bottle-fed.  When I told the doctor that, he pretended he hadn’t heard, I didn’t push the subject though . I found out about wonder weeks later on, but I keep on wondering why nobody told me about these wonder weeks earlier.  ” Julitte’s mum, 5th week

Wonder Weeks and the milk doubting mums:

As the baby gets more Clingy, Cries more and is more Cranky during a wonder week, many mothers start doubting themselves.  Are they doing something wrong?  If a baby wants to drink so often, does this mean they do not have enough milk?  Or is their milk not good enough?  Mums who know their baby is in a wonder week, don’t doubt themselves or their milk.

“Around the third wonder week my daughter suddenly started nursing less.  After 5 minutes, she would start playing around with my nipple.  After that had gone on for two weeks, I decided to start supplementing my milk with formula, but she wouldn’t have any of that either.  This phase lasted 4 weeks.  During that time I worried she would suffer from some kind of nutrition deficiency, especially when I saw my milk supply starting to diminish.  But now she is drinking like she used to again, and my milk supply is as plentiful as ever.  Now I know this is normal behavior during a wonder week. I never doubted my milk again since I know when these wonder weeks are.” Hannah’s mum, 19th week.

Wonder Weeks and the exhausted mums:

Even the mums not doubting their milk sometimes give up breastfeeding.  Simply because the impact of the leap on the behavior of their child is wearing them out.  The mums that know about Wonder Weeks tend to be less exhausted as they know what is happening and that Wonder Weeks are actually a good thing.

Wonder Weeks and the mum of a six month old:

One of the most difficult leaps is the one of relationships, around six months after due date.  The exact same time breast milk alone is not enough anymore and most parents start to give solid food as well.  Mum is exhausted from the leap, doesn’t sleep or sleeps very poorly, while at the same time her child needs food.  Just days after giving the first ‘meals’, the baby is in a much better mood.  Often mums explain this whole sequence of events wrongly and seem to think their child was in need of other milk than theirs.  While in fact the child just went through another leap and finished the leap when he turned six months.

Wonder Weeks and nipple cracks or abrasions:

Pain is, logically, one of the reasons mums want to stop feeding their child.  When a child is in a Wonder Week he wants to drink many times more often than is normally the case. As this is one of the only times a baby is quiet, a mum doesn’t really pay as much attention to the feeding process as she normally would and this can often result in the wrong feeding positions resulting in discomfort for mum.

Making parents aware of Wonder Weeks will enable parents to understand their baby’s behavior much better and will help many mums to continue feeding their child and to make sure these Wonder Weeks are not a reason to give up.

Meet Xaviera Plas-Plooij at BabyExpo Berkshire and hear more about The Wonder Weeks!

www.thewonderweeks.com

The Wonder Weeks Blog #2: Is my baby normal?

Logo_TheWonderWeeks_300dpiWe’ve all seen or experienced it; mums “competing” with each another.  For mums, especially new mums, there is always that worry of “is my kid ‘normal’?” especially when all the other mums in the playground boast of their youngster’s latest accomplishments (standing, walking, rolling over, smiling… the list goes on and on).  The conversation in the playground can get spirited but before Team Mummy gets fed up, takes her toys and heads off, she needs to remember a few things…

All these “competitions” are based on a baby’s developing motor skills.  Trying to achieve the next milestone.  But WHY?

WHO WINS? Every child (with the exception of those with medical issues) will walk, roll over etc. at some point.  But, will those who take their first steps first be the ones to achieve great things later in life?  Would Obama and Steve Wozniak have been the winners in this walking competition? Most probably not!

INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE BACKS IT ALL UP!  Every infant goes through 10 predictable mental development leaps in their first two years.  With each leap the baby / toddler is able to perceive things he never perceived before.  With each leap a whole new world of new things to explore reveals itself to the baby.

Image_Is_my_kid_normal[1]When it comes to what a baby does and on what timescale, it’s up to your baby to pick and choose which skills he wants to master first.  Some babies choose the motor skills (walking, rolling over, etc.) which are really noticeable for everybody; and others choose more sophisticated skills, less-noticeable-but-more-promising-for-the-future skills, like finding out what gravity is and how things change in perspective while moving.

Here’s a great example:  There was a boy whose parents believed he was falling within the autistic spectrum.  While the other kids were playing, making a lot of noise and running about, he sat in the corner, playing with a spool for hours.  Turning it around, looking at it, and doing ‘nothing.’  Or so they thought.  Fast-forward 40 years and he is one of the most innovative IT professionals in the world, holding a double degree from a top university, and a millionaire.

It seems that his doing “nothing” was actually quite something!  Letting the spool slip through his fingers and slowly fall to the ground was his feeling how gravity worked.  He didn’t just throw it to the ground; he felt the action of how it fell.  He played with the movements of his fingers, showing him the point where gravity took over.  He was so absorbed by this that he forgot the world around him.  By turning the spool, he saw how the perspective of things changed while holding it in different angles.  He was doing baby-science and he wasn’t so interested in motor skills.  Actually, he never ever really learned how to walk.  One day he just walked.  He never fell and never made a mistake. Why? Because he took his time observing other people walk and he learned by watching the movements of others.  The same goes with riding his bike, he never really “learned,” he just did it.

He wasn’t the first one to walk or ride a bike, and he didn’t get the experience (or scrapes and bruises) of trial and error but then again, he never needed to.

Meet Xaviera Plas-Plooij at BabyExpo Berkshire and hear more about The Wonder Weeks!
For more information visit www.thewonderweeks.com

The Wonder Weeks: How Your Baby’s Brain Grows

Logo_TheWonderWeeks_300dpiNature is a remarkable thing.  I am sure, as new parents, you have already experienced this. But the innate abilities babies are born with never stops amazing me.

When a baby is born it is perfectly capable of sensing “what”, for example hot, cold, loud and bright, and “how much”.  A baby placed on its mother’s tummy will root around, searching for more warmth until it finds the hottest spot – the nipple.  It may take the better part of an hour but the test has been done!

The “how much” perception may even precede birth; we call it “intensity”.  The “what kind” perceptions comes a little later — we call them “sensations”.

Sometimes I am asked what I mean when we say “mental development” and “leaps in mental development” when it comes to describing what’s happening inside your baby’s head.  From a scientific perspective we mean the natural growth of the brain and entire nervous system, from a few neurons making connections in the embryo all the way to the fully functioning brain and nervous system of an adult.  Just like the various physical parts of the body, the brain grows, adds new functionality and matures.  As it does, in stages, on nature’s schedule, the cranium grows, neurons are added and successively higher perceptual functions emerge.

This is what is happening with every leap… more functionality, more skills to learn and master.

We know with indisputable certainty that all babies, no matter what, make 10 major, predictable, age-linked changes – or leaps – during their first 20 months of life.  With each leap comes a drastic change in your baby’s mental development but this development can also manifest itself as poor sleep, bad appetite, crying, clinging and crankiness.  It is hard on your baby and exhausting and frustrating for mum and dad.

Why?  Well, each leap sets the stage for the subsequent development of skills.  Suddenly your baby can think, feel, notice and understand what is happening around him in a new way.  These new, higher levels of perception begin to emerge one after the other in rapid-fire and, amazing as this is, it is also scary for the baby.  These cognitive changes can influence what the baby can do and how he behaves. That is why, before he is comfortable exploring his new abilities, a baby often cries more, is more clingy and crankier.

image_How_Your_Baby_Brain_Grows[1]You see, each stage or period of mental development described here is accompanied by an initial period of confusion as neural connections in the brain are rearranged.  To your baby, this is bewildering.  He’s taken aback — everything has changed overnight.  It is as if he has woken up on a strange planet.  In each case your baby seeks reassurance, which means “back to mama”.  Your baby will cling, cry and get cranky.  The clingy periods alert and worry you as parents, resulting in more intensive care giving and interaction with your baby.  This facilitates the new learning and helps your baby to make the leap into the new world.

When parents understand, even before these periods occur, what each of these developments mean for a baby’s understanding of the world around him and how he uses this understanding to develop the new skills he needs at each stage of his development, they can use this understanding of their baby’s developmental leaps to help him through these often confusing times in his very new life.  They will be able to understand better the way their baby is thinking and why he acts as he does at certain times. They will be able to give the right kind of help, when needed, and the right kind of environment to help him make the most of every leap in his development.

Meet Xaviera Plas-Plooij at BabyExpo Berkshire and hear more about The Wonder Weeks!

More information: www.thewonderweeks.com

Saving Tiny Lives – BIBS (Babies in Buscot Support)

BIBS logoBIBS (Babies in Buscot Support) is a registered charity formed in 1987 that supports the neo-natal and Special Care Baby Unit (NICU or SCBU) at The Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.  Buscot ward provides care for babies born too soon or too sick.  Approximately one in ten births within the hospital are of a premature or sick baby.

BIBS fundraise for medical equipment and technology for the unit, giving babies the best possible chance and start in life.  Recently BIBS purchased a new travel incubator to transfer sick or premature babies from the delivery suite to Buscot ward, giving them critical life support care during their most fragile stage.

BIBS work closely with the paediatric and neonatal consultant teams to identify equipment which would make a difference on Buscot Ward.  BIBS are currently trying to raise £29,000 for a much needed state of the art incubator for the unit via their Saving Tiny Lives appeal.

Support services are also a major area of focus.  Parents will be feeling stress and emotions that are probably completely new to them.  BIBS funds an NCT post-natal practitioner to regularly visit Buscot Ward as well as running a weekly drop-in session where parents can meet and talk with others that have been through the NICU and SCBU journey themselves.

BIBS also manage facilities such as the family lounge, an area where parents can get away and make themselves a drink or have something to eat.  They have also recently refurbished a number of areas used by parents such as a quiet room and overnight accommodation where parents can stay if their baby is very ill, preparing to go home or has maybe been transferred far away from home.

BIBS is an official charity partner of BabyExpo Berkshire – to find out more about this amazing charity please click on the links below.

www.justgiving.com/Bibs-incubator

www.bibs.org.uk

STOP PRESS – new show announcement

BabyExpo Bounces into Surrey!

What’s On 4 – the organisers of the highly successful regional babyshow brand BabyExpo are delighted to announce the launch of a brand new show in baby-centric Surrey!

The show will take place on November 24 2013 and there are some very special show deals available for a limited amount of time for exhibitors attending the flagship Brighton event and new Surrey Show. Read on for more!

Why Surrey? Surrey has seen a 20% rise in birth rates over the past decade. With a resident population of 1.1 million it is the most densely populated county in the South East region with the largest sub-regional economy and had the highest Gross Disposable Household Income per head in 2010 of all the SE counties.

The organisers have had a Surrey event on the radar for several years but were waiting for a venue large enough to accommodate the show and to meet the needs of such an exciting event.

Event Director Suzanne Borrell says

‘We are delighted that we have now secured a fabulous venue in Surrey Sports Park. This University of Surrey owned multi million pound facility is ideally located close to Guildford town centre, the Royal Surrey County Hospital and the University and is on major bus routes with lots of parking – it offers a wonderful space to showcase our fantastic exhibitors and to welcome thousands of parents from the Region’.

The Park offers 2 inter-linked, highly spacious exhibiting areas on the ground level with easy buggy access and modern facilities and is already well-known to local parents and the wider community.

The show will follow the proven model of the previous highly successful BabyExpo events – welcoming over 100 exhibiting companies, VIP parenting experts, high profile sponsors, a packed entertainment programme and thousands of visitors as the BabyExpo brand continues to expand nationwide.

Need to know information

Show Date – November 24 2013

Venue –  Surrey Sports Park, Guildford, Surrey

Media Partners – ABC Magazine and kids4media.com

Organisers – What’s On 4 Ltd

Cost – £75 per metre to include carpet, shell scheme walls, fascia name, wi-fi and publicity – SPECIAL OFFER FOR BRIGHTON EXHIBITORS – for a limited time, exhibitors who sign up to both shows can get a massive 50% off the m2 rate for Surrey. This will mean exhibitors can get a stand at each event from as little as £112.50 PER SHOW!  Please note this offer is only open until April 17 2013 – to view the floorplan click here.

For more information call Mel on Direct Line: 0121 288 0102, mobile 07730 094670 or email mel@whatson4.co.uk

See more here –  www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk and here – www.surreysportspark.co.uk

RIP Guy Lewis – father to 3, husband to Hanna and Gymboree Brighton Owner and Manager……

Yesterday I had the privilege to join many others to say goodbye to Guy after his tragic and unexpected death earlier this year.

It was a beautiful, emotional service with some very moving tributes and music choices including ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ at the end, which at least made us smile – so very Guy. We were reminded in the service of many things about Guy not least his kindness, his unbounding energy and commitment to everything he did, his love and passion for his family and his continued drive to ‘seize the day’.

Guy and Gymboree at BabyExpo

This morning, like many I expect, I have woken feeling sad and a little numb having witnessed at 1st hand the pain of the parents who have lost their son and the wife and mother whose 3 tiny, beautiful children will grow up without their lovely dad. I can only imagine how they are coping.

I first met Guy about 7 years ago – I was new to the area, a very new mum and a bit of a disaster really. Motherhood had not panned out quite as I had planned – I seemed to spend my days as a sleep deprived zombie, often covered in sick, I was incredibly lonely and felt a failure on all counts. Then I signed up to Gymboree and suddenly I could start to see some light. Guy would greet you with a massive smile or a hug, little ones were enchanted by him and when we first met I couldn’t believe he didn’t yet have children of his own such was his rapport with the whole class. As with many kids’ activities, I met other mums and made friends, we had a purpose to our day (even if it did take 2 hours to get out of the house) and George loved the classes – he came home stimulated yet sleepy (yay) and he loved meeting the other babies and toddlers. Guy’s warmth radiated and the classes were an oasis and we grew alongside Gymboree.

Gymboree at BabyExpo

Yesterday there was a mention of the thousands of parents who had come into contact with Guy over the 8+ years he ran Gymboree and I hope he knew how important he was. I now know many mums felt the same as me in those early stages of baby and toddlerhood and such classes DO become a lifeline.

BabyExpo is hosting the What’s On 4 Junior awards with Konfidence this year – these awards reward and celebrate the very best activity providers and as always I am so moved by some of the testimonials from nominating parents paying tribute to those class leaders who made such a difference to their and their child’s lives and development.

So, if your lives were enhanced by a fabulous activity, community volunteer, party entertainer or class do make sure you nominate them in the What’s On 4 Junior Awards – just click here – there’s a category for everyone from ‘Best pre/post natal’ to ‘Best after school club’ and you could win 2 tickets to join us at BabyExpo for the champagne awards on June 30.

There’s just a month until nominations close so seize the day and do it now ;-)

Guy on the main stage at BabyExpo with Lucy Piper, Jo Tantum and Phil Gallagher from Cbeebies Mister Maker

I am delighted that Guy’s legacy will live on in Brighton with Gymboree continuing to run under the care of widow Hanna and class leader Bobby and you can see them at BabyExpo on June 30 alongside further Headline Sponsors Sing & Sign, Water Babies and Busy Bees. Guy will be there too in his own way I am sure.

BIG Babyexpo welcome to Water Babies – our final headline sponsor for June!

Happy New Year!

We are delighted that along with the fabulous Gymboree, Sing & Sign and Busy Bees our final headline sponsor for Expo Brighton 2013 is Water Babies!

 

Water Babies runs fun, innovative baby swimming classes across Sussex.  Our fully qualified instructors are world class and could have trained as private pilots – three times over – in the time it takes them to qualify with us.  With a multi-award winning programme which teaches vital water confidence and safety skills from birth, our overall aim is to teach you to teach your baby to swim. So we’ll always explain why we’re doing everything, as well as carefully demonstrate exactly what to do.

Through carefully structured training, babies can be taught life saving skills such as turning onto their backs or, following a sudden submersion, swimming to the nearest solid object. They grow familiar with what it feels like to fall into water, so that should they ever accidentally fall in they are far less likely to panic and drown. And our results speak for themselves.  In the last three years alone, at least ten of our tiny clients have saved their own lives as a result of the skills they learnt at Water Babies – and five of them were just two years old at the time.

Water Babies classes run 7 days a week across Sussex and the surrounding area.  For further details please call 01273 552454, email bubbles@waterbabies.co.uk or visit www.waterbabies.co.uk .

here we go……

baby show venue
baby show venue

BabyExpoUK are delighted to announce the launch of a new
2 day Baby Show to take place this September 29 & 30 at thecentre:mk Milton Keynes!

To visit the new website and watch film testimonials from
last year’s clients see here http://www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk
thecentre:mk offers a fabulous nearly 2000 m2 of ‘blank
canvas’ exhibition space, all on one level, in one, very central high profile
location and exhibitors are already booking fast – Click here for the floorplan
www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk/floorplan
As a shopping centre, the facility is already set up for huge visitor numbers
in terms of parking, restaurant facilities, award-winning baby change/breast
feeding areas, accessibility and superb signage in the surrounding areas and
within. With significant numbers of young families choosing this Region to set
up home, thecentre:mk offers very ‘friendly family facilities’ to include
buggies, rein hire and ID wristbands not to mention ‘Kiddy Cars’ rental! All of
which make an organiser’s life less challenging and enable us to focus on the
content of the event.
There will be no entrance charge for the general public but
there will be a ‘Privilege Shoppers’ opening hour on both days where those VERY
keen visitors can access the event 1st. They will be badged
accordingly so exhibitors can spot them throughout the day.
Price per m2 for this 2 day event is currently
£77 per metre + VAT but this is the Early Bird rate and only valid for a short
while. To take advantage of this special price deal and the very best pitches, exhibitors
should reserve their space now at http://www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk/exhibiting/babyexpo-contract-form-for-exhibitors