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Mental Leap, 5 weeks – the senses develop in the first leap

First and foremost, congratulations on the role as parents. Your baby has been a part of your life for a little over a month, and perhaps you've noticed some changes in his/her behaviour.

If you noticed your baby is crying more than usual, has changed his/her eating habits, or is sleeping more restlessly, it may indicate the first mental leap is underway (begins around 5 weeks).

We recommend you also read our article “Mental Leaps – follow your child’s development through 10 leaps".

What happens during the first mental leap?

During the first mental leap, your baby undergoes a massive brain development, which can be quite a change. The senses develop, and your baby transitions from seeing in shades of grey to suddenly seeing in colours. Your baby becomes more aware of his/her surroundings, which can result in a fussier and more restless baby needing extra comfort and closeness for the duration of this phase.

In addition to the sense of sight, the hearing sense develops, which can be overwhelming. Now, your baby can suddenly hear all the sounds around him/her, whereas before, it was only the voices of mom and dad that could be heard from the safety of the womb.

For some babies, it's a challenge to handle so many new senses at once, while others navigate the first mental leap more easily, which lasts for about 2 weeks.

Signs of the first mental leap at 5 weeks

All people are different - the same applies to children and babies. Therefore, there can be differences in how you experience your baby's mental leap compared to your friend's or those in the mothers' group.

You might notice your baby quickly becomes overstimulated, there's no need to worry. It's completely normal. It's your task to make your baby feel secure for the duration of the first developmental stage.

Clear signs that your baby is going through the first mental leap can include:

More crying

There can be many reasons why a baby cry. If you feel like you've tried everything - such
as breastfeeding, offering a pacifier, changing the diaper, or comforting - but nothing works, it's likely due to the neurological development.

Changes in eating habits

If your baby has started to reject the breast or becomes more restless during breastfeeding or bottle feeding, it’s often because the appetite is changing during the first mental leap. However, the appetite can also increase because the baby associates breastfeeding or feeding time with something comforting and reassuring.

Restless sleep

As the new senses and surroundings need to be explored, a lot of energy is used, which can
result in a more tired and less energetic baby. New impressions need to be processed, and the consequences of this can be restless sleep throughout the entire day/night.

How to get through the first mental leap

For the duration of the first mental leap at 5 weeks, it's essential to observe your baby's needs and provide him/her with extra care, comfort, and closeness. If the crying seems to go on for what feels like an eternity, you can try holding the baby close to your body, rocking, and letting him/her hear your voice. You can also try putting the baby in a sling or baby carrier, so he/she is close to
your body.

If your baby struggles to fall asleep and stay asleep for an adequate amount of time, a baby hammock may be the solution. As new parents, it's also important to experiment and get to know your new role and your baby.

The time after the first mental leap - 5 weeks

Once your baby has passed the first mental leap, you will experience a more alert and livelier baby who maintains eye contact and observes the surroundings. It's time to experience the world, and you may have noticed that he/she can be active for longer periods at a time. Perhaps you have also experienced your baby's first smile, which for many occurs around this period. It is also now
you can begin to introduce the first pieces of toys, which will surely be well-received and capture your baby's interest.