Sometime around eight weeks, your baby will begin to experience the world in a new way again. He will be able to recognize simple patterns in the world around him and in his own body. Although it may be hard for you to imagine at first, this happens in all of his senses, not just vision. For example, your baby may discover his hands and feet and spend hours practicing controlling a certain posture of his arm or leg. You may notice your baby looking at his hands as if examining them with awe. Your baby may also become endlessly fascinated with the way light displays shadows on the bedroom wall. You may notice your baby studying the details of cans on the grocery store shelf or listening to himself make short bursts of sounds such as “ah”, “uh”, and “eh”.
After making this leap, your baby does not experience the world as a single, indivisible entity anymore. Instead, the world has become like a bowl of soup where everything blends together, and he begins to differentiate regular patterns in the world around him. Your baby starts to distinguish the ingredients in the soup so to speak. Many of your baby’s automatic reflexes will also disappear around this time, allowing him to do things purposefully. The motor movements that your baby makes around this time may still appear stiff and uncoordinated like a puppet on a string. All of these things (and a whole lot more) signal a big change in the neurodevelopment of your baby. This change will enable him to learn a new set of skills that he would have been incapable of learning at an earlier age no matter how much help and encouragement he was given. But just as in the previous neurodevelopmental leap, adjusting to this new world will not come easily at first.
Do Remember: Most babies go through this leap around eight weeks after the due date. This leap into the perceptual world of patterns is age-linked and predictable. It sets the development of a whole range of skills and activities in motion. However, the age at which these skills and activities appear for the first time varies greatly and depends on your baby’s preferences, experimentation, and physical development. For example, the ability to perceive patterns emerges at about eight weeks, and it is a necessary precondition for sitting with minimal support; however, this skill normally appears anywhere from two to six months. Skills and activities are mentioned in this app at the earliest possible age that they might appear, so you can watch for and recognize them. Remember that they may be rudimentary at first. This way, you can respond to and facilitate your baby’s development.
After having gone through this leap, Liam is able to perceive patterns, not only visually but with all his senses. For example, he can feel patterns in his body with the help of muscle spindles, tendon receptors, and joint receptors that enable him to perceive and control body position.
The fact that your baby can perceive patterns now makes it possible for him to understand and do new things. But of course, a baby never does all of them at once. From the whole list of potential new skills, your baby chooses to do the new things that attract him most.
These are examples of what your baby might do after making this leap:
- Is able to hold his head up much better than before.
- Clearly turns his head towards sounds.
- Likes to shift his weight forward while sitting on your lap.
- Flaps his hands against a toy (forerunner of grasping).
- Feels toys without trying to grasp them.
- Discovers and observes parts of his body.
- Looks at patterns (i.e. abstract paintings or a flickering candle).
- Makes short, explosive sounds (effort grunts) with his voice with the help of glottal stops.
Soon, you will recognize Liam’s leap-making behavior in a flash. It may still be difficult to recognize as this is only the second leap your baby has gone through, and yet, you’ll notice for sure.
Note the following signals:
- Your baby wants to be entertained more often.
- It will take a little longer before he is at ease with other people, especially those he does not see every day.
- He wants to be breastfed all day long but doesn’t really drink.
- He is craving more physical contact.
- He cries more easily.
Note: Some babies show all the signals while others show just a few!
Your baby’s world is turned inside out when he suddenly gets insights into the world of patterns. Your baby just got used to living outside the womb after having made his first leap, and then, everything changes again! That is, everything changes except the relationship he has with you. You are the only entity that is known to him. Logically, the best way to help Liam through this leap is to simply be there for him in these times of troubles.
Let your baby see that you’re there for him by:
- Comforting your baby when he cries.
- Giving your baby physical contact when he needs it.
- Talking reassuringly to your baby.
- Taking time to help your baby through this leap.
- Forgetting the normal daily things a bit and being there for your baby.
You help Liam master the skills of this leap by:
- Endlessly playing together with the appealing new things Liam discovers.
- Encouraging your baby when he wants to do something new.
- Applauding and praising your baby if he does something new.
- Letting your baby determine how long he wants to do something (if Liam needs a break, give it to him).
These are examples of fun ‘games’ that help Liam go through this leap more easily:
- Keep toys at various distances: This way, you train your baby’s eye muscles.
- Show your baby “real” things: Does your baby like something in particular? Lift your baby up, so he can see it clearly.
- Show your baby different things: The living room is getting boring now. Time for variation!
- Chat back if your baby “chats”.
- Show your baby many things with patterns on it.
Did you know…
The head circumference of your baby increases drastically around seven to eight weeks in addition to the changes in the brain waves at around six to eight
Reference: The wonder weeks