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Mental Leap 5 - 26 weeks – Your baby begins to understand connections

Your baby is approaching 7 months and developing rapidly. In fact, it can happen so quickly it might overwhelm your baby.

Your baby begins to understand distance between objects. The world needs to be explored, but the same time, there's a need to maintain close contact with the parents. You may also experience a clingier baby during this leap.

Please also read: Mental Leap - Follow your child's development through 10 leaps

Here's what to expect during the fifth leap

As your baby grows older, the interest in exploring increases—even though it may seem a bit scary at times. Your baby has truly realized that things can disappear. If he/she throws a piece of toy away, it stays there.

You may notice your baby is very focused on toys’ placement. The different items can suddenly be on top of, under, next to, or inside something. Prepare yourself for a period that involves throwing toys from the playpen, highchair, play mat, or when your baby is sitting on your lap.

If you leave the room, it's not uncommon for your baby to start crying – he/she thinks you've disappeared and may never come back.

Signs of the fifth leap (26 weeks)

Many of the signs from earlier leaps are repeated. The fear of losing you is significant, so it's important to give your son/daughter extra attention when you can see crying is imminent. It's also not uncommon for your baby to become clingier than usual.

Restless sleep

The many new impressions need to be processed during sleep, which can make it harder to find peace when putting your baby to bed at night. You may also experience your baby wakes up more during the night, and during the day, it can be harder to put your baby down for naps and to remain asleep for longer periods at a time.

Grumpiness

The leap at 26 weeks is also known for making your baby dissatisfied and grumpy more quickly. The changing table is a good example of this - where it might have been easy to change the diaper before. Now, your baby lies more restlessly, and sometimes even throughs a crying fit. Try to be patient and allocate the extra time for changing your baby.

Mental Leap at 26 weeks - how long does it last?

The fifth leap can last between 3 and 6 weeks, which can feel like an eternity when increased crying, clinginess, and restless sleep are prominent. But remember, it's just a phase, and all babies develop individually. Some may hardly notice the various signs, while others are more affected.

Tips for getting through the fifth leap

Patience is a great tip for this leap. Lower your expectations and go through the day on your baby's terms. Creating daily routines that are recognizable for your baby can also help.

Create plenty of cozy moments where your baby feels your presence and try to anticipate his/her needs if you sense crying is imminent. Try giving a gentle massage either using a bit of baby oil or by stroking your hands over the clothes.

Continue with simple activities your baby finds interesting, and always remember to exaggerate your enthusiasm when he/she tries something new or makes progress. Keep an eye on when enough is enough to avoid an overtired baby, which can lead to crying.

If you've truly tried everything to get your baby to sleep, you can try using a baby hammock. Perhaps you've had success rocking your baby to sleep before? A baby hammock combined with a cradle bouncer can help keep your baby asleep for longer periods due to the comforting, rocking motion. You'll experience more energy when your baby takes longer naps.

The time after the leap (26 weeks)

After the fifth leap, it's almost as if you have a completely new baby. Your baby is curios and interested in exploring the surroundings. Everythingneeds to be touched and put in the mouth - whether it's food, toys, or whatever else you have lying around the house. This is also a good opportunity to take care of potentially "dangerous" items that your baby should not be
able to reach.

Cognitively, there has also been a significant change. Suddenly, things can disappear – try introducing a shape sorter box for your baby. There are probably also more sounds emerging, and perhaps you notice your baby is trying to imitate sounds. Feel free to introduce picture books with animals where you copy animal sounds - you'll have a lot of fun doing that.

Don't worry if your baby hasn't reached these milestones yet. Remember that leaps are experienced differently, have varying durations, and of course, your baby will learn different skills at his/her own pace.