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Mental Leap, 8 weeks – it’s a “new” world

You have already enjoyed the company of your beautiful baby for 2 months – how time flies. Perhaps you've noticed your baby has started showing interest in his/her hands and feet, and in what's happening around him/her. Most likely, the second leap, which typically begins after 8 weeks, has begun.

This period entails more crying and your baby seeking more contact, while eating less. But don't worry, like all other leaps, this is entirely normal and temporary.

Also read: Mental Leaps - Follow your child's development through 10 leaps

What to expect during the second leap?

For some babies, the second leap can be challenging as new sensory impressions are tested. Your baby becomes aware of patterns, shapes, and contrasts, whereas before, it was only mom and dad who seemed to exist.

It's also during the second leap your baby starts to notice his/her hands and feet, exploring them extensively. Generally, you'll notice your baby using his/her body more. Now the head and body can be held in various positions, and facial muscles are actively exercised, while the eyes can focus for longer periods.

It's also during the second leap your baby starts to notice his/her hands and feet, exploring them extensively. Generally, you'll notice your baby using his/her body more. Now the head and body can be held in various positions, and facial muscles are actively exercised, while the eyes can focus for longer periods.

Typical signs of the 2nd leap at 8 weeks

You might have observed your baby seems more insecure around others than you. This is entirely normal - during the second leap, the baby seeks the secure and familiar. Until your baby becomes accustomed to the new surroundings and impressions, expect a period where he/she seeks attention, clinging more to mom or dad.

Increased use of the body

Most babies can lift his/her head and briefly hold it in a fixed position. The same applies to the rest of the body, which is extensively explored. Hands are probably the most intriguing, with your baby attempting to control them – a preliminary stage to being able to reach out for things.

Increased crying

Crying often intensify during this period. The multitude of impressions and processing can be tough, which is why your baby seeks extra contact.

Have you noticed small changes in your baby’s crying? This is most likely due to the development of vocal muscles. New types of crying are to be expected which you’ll have to get accustomed to.

Restless nights

You'll experience more nights where your baby’s sleep is disturbed. This is caused by the many new impressions and senses that naturally need to be processed during the night. Perhaps you've noticed that it takes longer for your baby to fall asleep? This is naturally linked to this developmental stage and the need for contact - it's difficult for your baby to let go of you during
this leap.

Reduced appetite

Appetite can vary significantly during this leap. Some babies eat less and instead use their fingers as pacifiers. Others have a greater need for a bottle or breast but without eating much - this due to the need for contact and closeness. If you're concerned about your baby's food intake, always consult a healthcare professional.

The 8-week leap - how long does it last?

People are different, and the same goes for babies. The leap can last from a few days up to 2 weeks. Even though it might feel like a tough period to get through, remember that it will pass. Embrace each moment and observe how your beautiful baby develops day by day.

Tips for navigating the second leap

To navigate the 8-week leap successfully, it can an advantage to acknowledge beforehand there might days and nights when your baby seeks extra comfort and close contact. Hold your baby close to your body when he/she cries and consider using a baby carrier if it becomes too challenging for your arms.

A baby hammock can also be the solution to sleep difficulties during this period. The cradle motor imitates the familiar rocking movements from mom and dad's arms, providing the best conditions for your baby to sleep longer.

Of course, this entire period is not just about crying and sleep problems. Now you can stimulate your baby’s senses, for example, with a baby mobile over the changing table. There are many beautiful mobiles available, but feel free to choose a simple one that clearly illustrates some shapes, visible when the baby lies on the changing table and looks up.

Also, make sure to encourage the baby every time he or she tries something new, and consider introducing age-appropriate toys that help stimulate the "new" senses.

Post-leap time - 8 weeks

After 8 weeks, your baby will be able to recognize patterns and shapes that were not interesting before. He/she also becomes more aware of his/her body, and his/her hands are used actively. There are likely new sounds too, as the vocal muscles are trained.

Continue to introduce new age-appropriate toys with shapes and patterns while challenging your baby to lie on his/her own and look at things independently. You'll also experience many more facial expressions and gestures, likely resulting in many delightful laughs - babies can make the
funniest and most adorable expressions. Make sure to continue sharing your enthusiasm every time the baby attempts to use his/her body, makes new sounds, or expressions.