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The Wonder Weeks: How to stimulate your baby's mental development and help him turn his 10 predictable, great, fussy phases into magical leaps forward Paperback – 1 Mar 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 338 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Wonder Weeks: How to stimulate your baby's mental development and help him turn his 10 predictable, great, fussy phases into magical leaps forward
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  • The Wonder Weeks Milestone Guide: Your Baby's Development, Sleep and Crying Explained
  • +
  • My Wonder Weeks Journal
Total price: £36.54
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Kiddy World Promotions B.V. (1 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9079208043
  • ISBN-13: 978-9079208043
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (338 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


"This is a very practical and entertaining window into the baby's first year and a half. van de Rijt and Plooij have observed and found the vulnerable times in an infant's development that I independently came to in my book Touchpoints (Perseus). The authors' observations and practical suggestions are wonderful." (T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., professor emeritus, Harvard Medical School). ---"Anyone who deals with infants and young children will want to read 'The Wonder Weeks.' This book will open parents' eyes to aspects of their children's growth, development, changing behavior, and emotional responsiveness that they might otherwise not notice or find puzzling and distressing." (Catherine Snow, Ph.D., Shattuck Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education). ---"van de Rijt and Plooij's work on infant development has enormous value for clinical use and scientific application. Not only have they explained the periods of puzzling, difficult behavior in infancy which so worry parents, they have also shown how these behaviors mark developmental leaps and have described the stages in the infant's understanding. Together, this gives parents and professionals soundly based insight into babies' developing minds. What's more, van de Rijt and Plooij have described the play and communication that work best with babies at different ages and thus helped parents understand and connect sensitively with their babies. This parent-child connection is the major prerequisite for the development of secure, well-adjusted children. 'The Wonder Weeks' is essential reading for everyone who works with infants: pediatricians, social workers, psychologists, and, of course, parents." (John Richer, Ph.D., Dip. Clin. Psychol., consultant clinical psychologist and Head of Pediatric Psychology, Department of Pediatrics, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, England). ---"van de Rijt and Plooij will help you see the world the way an infant sees it. As the child grows, displays of emotion (such as crying) tell us the child is summoning reserves of energy and is calling out for help in finding new ways to perceive the changing world. Because van de Rijt and Plooij have discovered predictable stages in the widening of the infant's perceptions and skills, they can enable you, with their superb examples, to recognize the onset of these stressful episodes and to join your child in coping with them. So rich, indeed, are the implications of finding new perceptions and new skills in the midst of stress that whether or not you are a parent, it can never be too early or too late to profit from this book." (Philip J. Runkel, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology and education, University of Oregon). ---"'Terrible Twos' a Misnomer, According to Research; Extended Edition of International Bestseller Released, Helps Parents Weather Emotional Storms. Research shows that the so-called 'terrible twos' don't need to exist when it comes to child development. In fact, the behavior often associated with this stage - tantrums, moodiness, nagging and an affinity for the word 'no' - begins shortly after the first birthday. For parents, it is important to jump into action at this point so they can prevent the 'two's' from becoming terrible and turn them into something tremendous. A child doesn't need to act so 'terrible,' as long as you know what to do and, more important, why he is acting this way. By understanding these leaps you can make the transition into toddlerhood, and the subsequent stages including the 'terrible two's,' into the 'tremendous two's' and beyond. 'Tremendous,' says Dr. Plooij, 'because it is with these leaps that a huge part of socialization is set for life. And tremendous: because good values and norms start now. If you invest in your toddler in this time, it will pay off for lifetime and especially in puberty." (From the SFGate, home of the San Francisco Chronicle). "For those of us who love 'The Wonder Weeks' but wish it wasn't just about babies, your wish is granted. They've just released a new, expanded edition that goes up to 20 months and has more ideas about things you can do during the wonder week leaps to make the leaps more entertaining for you and, presumably, your baby. US$25 at Amazon, which makes it the perfect baby shower or new-parent or gift-giving-holiday-at-the-end-of-the-calendar-year gift." ( ---"Great News! 'The Wonder Weeks' have come out with their new, expanded edition up to 20 months old. I love this book, and highly recommend it for some fascinating reading on what is really happening in your little one's development. (Best Milk Bistro, via Facebook). ---" 'The Wonder Weeks' - a look at cognitive growth in the first year - why might the baby be fussy, and what can parents do." (via Carolyn Hax, The Washington Post Writers' Group, Facebook followers). ---" 'The Wonder Weeks' is a great book for new parents! It takes you step by step through the first two years of life and helps explain out those mysterious times in your child's life where you think your fabulously well behaved child has suddenly become possessed... I can't wait to get my hands on an updated copy of this book, because I think the insights will be invaluable in terms of being prepared and navigating the independence stage in a positive way!" (Heather, ---"We've found 'THE' must have gift for all parent's to be! 'The Wonder Weeks - How to stimulate your baby's mental development and help them turn their 10 predictable, great, fussy phases into magical leaps forward'!" (WHO Adelaide Chummy Mummy' and 'Tot Shop'). ---"Everything I know about when and what the actual developmental spurts are I learned from the book 'The Wonder Weeks.' One of the things I love about this book is that they don't tell you what to do, aside from suggesting games to play. They just tell you what's going on. I have a definite bias against books that tell you how to raise your kids, and I love that this book is just a roadmap of what's going on when." ( ---"If you want to be really prepared for the 'regressions,' I'd say borrow or buy 'the Wonder Weeks' book, read it, and pay attention to the signals your baby is giving you. Once you know what's going on, it becomes fasciating and annoying instead of worrisome and torturous." ( ---"You all know of my love for the book 'The Wonder Weeks.' I love it because it explains what developmental leaps happen when with your child, up through the first 15 months or so, so you know why your happy or sleeping baby is suddenly wigging out and/or not sleeping. By doing that, it revealed exactly why there's a hideous 4-month sleep regression as well as an equally-if-not-more-hideous 8-9-month sleep regression. It's a book that tells you what's going on, not what you're supposed to do. I can't count the number of times people have said to me, 'It let me have patience with my baby and realize I wasn't doing anything wrong.' Score." ( ---"So last week I was on Twitter and discovered that 'The Wonder Weeks' has a Twitter feed ( iPhone app. Which I think is just brilliant. Also, the iPhone app is only US$2 (yes, that's two dollars). Even more brilliant." ( ---"Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love this book, 'The Wonder Weeks,' to describe the age-linked changes (leaps) in development in a baby's first 14 mos. If you don't have this book, and you have a baby, GET IT! Fascinating read. And now they are here on FB and Twitter @thewonderweeks, they also have an iPhone App." (Stacy Rodes Meyers, Founder, ---"Ask Moxie is a HUGE proponent of your book, that's how most people probably learned of it. At least I did, almost 3 years ago and waited for it to be back in print. I LOVE it!" (Stacy Rodes Meyers, Founder, ---"I highly recommend the book, 'The Wonder Weeks' as they all really do go through extra clingy phases when going through developmental changes. If I recall, around now give or take a couple weeks they go through a stage of separation anxiety as developmentally they've realized that you're capable of moving away from them and that the distance between you is out of their control. I'd love to go into it more but I'm sneaking in some online time while feeding the monkey in between packing for holidays!" (Petra, Boston, via ---"I've got 'The Wonder Weeks' and refer to it constantly. It's not just the odd day though, or even the odd group of days, its been every single day since he was born, he will go to other people once he knows them, but I still have to be in eye sight, and the sleeping thing is crazy, I can't even nurse him off to sleep and then sneak out off the room, its like he feels the pressure change on the mattress and instantly wakes." (Moderator, ---"Thanks so much! I LOVE the book!!!" (AnnMarie, Kentucky). ---"I LOVE your book and cannot stop suggesting it to friends!" (Janelle, California). ---"I have been using the info in this book since I first got some notes on the Dutch version (in English) WAAAAY back more than a decade ago. I still give this book as an essential book for new parents. It makes so much just plain sense, when otherwise, it seems random!" (Heather, Delaware). ---"This book is 'exactly' what every new parent wants: a guide that tells exactly why your baby is fine one week and freaking out the next. We all know about the physical growth spurts at 3 and 6 weeks and then 3 and 6 months, but there isn't anything else that tells you when developmental spurts are happening. Until now. As soon as I got this book, I went back and looked in my journal from when my son was a baby, and all his fussy weeks matched up with the ones in the book! If I'd had this book at the time, it would have been so much easier just to roll with it and not wonder what was 'wrong'." (IME). ---"The best thing about this book is that it doesn't tell you how to be a perfect parent, or give you some focacta plan you have to follow exactly to make your baby turn out the right way. Instead it just tells you why your baby is doing what s/he is doing, so you can have patience and not worry that there's something wrong with either you as a parent or your child." ---"I just ordered two more to give to new parents I know. This is my one constant shower gift. I can't believe this book hasn't gotten more press than it has, because it would really be a lifesaver for any parent with a baby under the age of 1." ( ---"I recently purchased 'The Wonder Weeks' to try to help understand why my 4 month old daughter was going through a horrible sleep regression. I found the book to be reassuring - knowing that some things are phases rather than the 'new her'. As expected, she went back to being more predictable after the new developments. It's helpful to know when the next developmental stage is coming and when it will be over." (Sarah Beck). ---"The woman who reviewed this book for the Library Journal has clearly never had an infant who acts fine one week and then crazy the next. If she had, she'd love this book as much as I did, and the 3 friends I've given this book as gifts too did. The reason the authors don't refer to other research studies is that they're the only ones who've specifically been studying this, and they use plenty of examples from their own research. Yes, it's true that it's not written in a really scientific way, but is that what you want to read when you're just trying to figure out why your child stopped sleeping and eating all of a sudden? Not me. I'd rather know what developmental leap is coming up so I know how long the cranky phase will last and what I can do to help my child through it. This book is so easily worth the money and time spent reading it, just because it gives you the patience to be able to wait out difficult periods when you know why they're happening and when they'll stop. No things you should and shouldn't do, just a sort of reference manual of what's going on and why. Buy the book and your life with your infant through 12-month-old will improve immensely." ---"I bought this book when my first baby was 8 weeks old and right in the middle of an extremely fussy stage. For a whole week he was crying everyday, had to be held, restless, not sleeping well and not eating well. After talking with his pediatrician who told me he's just fussy I wanted more answers. I searched online "very fussy 8 week old baby" and this book came up. I read lots of reviews and decided to buy it. Lots of the reviews say the book is repetitive. I loved the book. In my opinion when you are as sleep deprived as new parents are you forget things and the reminders - aka repetition - in each chapter from the chapters before are very helpful to me. I thought this book was excellent. It helped me realize that my baby was going through a wonderful transition and a special milestone and I was able to embrace it with confidence that there was nothing wrong with him or me. I highly recommend this book, it WILL give you a piece of mind and turn something scary and frustrating into something to celebrate." ---"My son is famous among parents of similar-age babies we know for being the most cheerful, non-fussy baby there ever was. But even he gets more Challenging during the wonder weeks. We're going through the week 46 one now (which actually starts earlier than that and can last several weeks) and it's the worst one yet. He normally falls asleep within 5 minutes with no fuss and now it takes him 30 minutes to 2 hours to fall asleep. And no, not because he's not tired. He's totally tired, in fact he's overtired due to his sleep troubles. He's regressed in some of his physical abilities too, wanting to just lay around and chew on things a lot of times. He's moody. All of this would have concerned me so much I'd have gone to the doctor if I didn't have this book a friend loaned me. I didn't read every word cover to cover, like others I think this book could be half the size, but it's been so helpful even just to know there's nothing wrong that I would encourage parents-to-be to get this book and be aware of what to expect before the baby arrives. If we'd had this book from the start we would not have been going so crazy during those first couple cognitive spurts when things went haywire." (Lulu McBride). ---"Every new parent should read this book. It gives remarkable insight on what is happening with your baby. My son has reached every 'wonder week' so far and exhibited the behaviors and emotions listed in this book. It has really helped save my sanity just knowing what is happening with him and why he suddenly cries more often, doesn't sleep through the night anymore, etc. Also, knowing it is just temporary is great. I have been able to relax and really enjoy watching the developmental progress going on through the changes in his behavior." (C. Breed). ---"Really want an iphone now so I can get the @TheWonderWeeks app. So much to learn!" (@dimplescfg). ---"Welcome to Twitter, @thewonderweeks! Their book saved our sanity during C's first year." (@krapsnart). ---"@thewonderweeks- these people saved my sanity my entire first year of being a parent!" (@ChristinaRTS)."

About the Author

Born in 1944, Hetty van de Rijt studied Educational Psychology at the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands and she worked in an institute for the mentally handicapped. She obtained her Ph.D. in Physical Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, England in 1982. Born in 1946, her husband Frans X. Plooij studied behavioural biology in the Netherlands in Amsterdam, Nijmegen, and Groningen, where he received his Ph.D. in 1980. Together they studied infant development in free-living chimpanzees with Dr. Jane Goodall in the Gombe National Park, Tanzania, East Africa from 1971-1973. Consequently, from 1973 to 1976, they studied with Prof. Robert Hinde in the Medical Research Council unit on the Development and Integration of Behaviour, University of Cambridge, England. In 1976 their daughter Xaviera was born. From 1976-80 Frans worked at the department of Developmental Psychology, University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands, filming and observing babies in their home environment. From 1981 to 1993 he was head of the department of Research and Development at the institute for Child Studies of the City of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where, among other things, he worked on the implementation of an innovative second- and foreign-language teaching method for preschool children. From 1993 to 1998, he was a professor at the Department of Developmental and Experimental Clinical Psychology, University of Groningen. Currently, Dr. Plooij is director of the International Research-institute on Infant Studies (IRIS) at Arnhem, and president of Kiddy World Promotions B.V., a consulting firm that serves companies producing products related to children, such as toys. He is a full member of several international, scientific societies including the New York Academy of Sciences. In addition to numerous scientific publications, Dr. Plooij has written several bestselling parenting books. As a post-doc at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands from 1986 to 1990, Dr. van de Rijt studied the development of human babies in their home environment. As lead author with her husband as co-author, she wrote the best-selling parenting book The Wonder Weeks, which has been published in twelve languages, from the USA to Japan. She designed a parental support and education program called "Leaping hurdles," based on the Wonder Weeks and published a scientific evaluation study to report on the effects of this program. She died far too young at the age of 59.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I only read a small part of this book and what I read did make sense. However, in hindsight it probably wasn't the best purchase I've ever made.

The problem is that when you have a baby when do you really get the chance to read a book? Especially a book of this size. If you do get the chance to read then you must be a parenting genius, in which case you won't need this book anyway, but it may be wise for you to write your own book in order to share the secrets of your success!

Basically what I learnt in a nutshell is don't expect your baby to sleep EVER. There is always going to be a reason for them not to sleep - teething, growth spurt, learning new skills blah blah blah! If anything it just makes you realise that sleep deprivation is something you have to learn to live with for a very long time!

Sometimes it does make you feel better to know that you're not the only one who's child doesn't sleep, so you may get reassurance from reading this book.

Perhaps dipping in and out of sections that are relevant to you would be a more realistic approach than reading the whole book - it's a big book and your child will probably be a teenager by the time you finish reading it. Unless you have childcare, but let's face it, you'll probably prefer to catch up on your sleep if you get some child-free time rather than read a book, especially a book which reminds you about how exhausted you are! Or you may prefer to have a nice hot fresh cup of tea which hasn't been reheated 5 times in the microwave. You could even drink the whole cup. Wouldn't that be a novelty!?

It made me feel better buying this book but to be honest it didn't really help anything. You'd be better off saving your money for coffee and energy drinks.
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I cannot say what a life saver this book has been throughout the 14 months of parenthood I've so far had. I found it was really hard in the first few weeks, and then my husband suggested I pick up the wonder weeks book to look in that to see if any of the behaviour my baby was exhibiting was stipulated in there. I did nearly throw the book at him when he suggested that (when do you have time to read in the first few weeks of a newborn???!!) however, when I did finally pick it up, I was so glad I did. It reaffirmed his behaviour and helped me to understand it. I've recommended this book to countless pregnant women, or women with new babies since. I know you can also download an app, which may help and be more accessible to read during the 2am night-time feed perhaps? I should add that I had postnatal depression too; and this really helped me. Obviously it didn't directly combat the depression, but it helped me understand why my boy was being fussy; why he was clingy, and gave me a relative time frame for how long it would last; this helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Suddenly it was no longer a never ending thing; there was an end in sight; and actually I could rationalise it much better. I could understand as best I could what he was going through and how distressing it must have been for him. It also helped me to look out for the things that changed after the developmental leaps; it gave me ideas of games to play with him etc... I really do recommend this book over any other for any parent to be, or new parent.
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Even if you don't believe in being able to understand week-to-week of your baby's progress, reading a chapter of this book once a month to coincide with your child's age is enough to make anyone feel calmer, reassured and even more loving and nurturing towards their baby. I struggled with breastfeeding at around 6 months and this book helped me to continue, and any times my daughter has been particularly unsettled or behaving unusually, I can usually refer to this book and find solace. It may at times feel like reading a horoscope (that it can relate to any child of any age and isn't quite specific enough), but I have always found it helped me to focus on what my daughter might be trying to learn, and be able to encourage her to do so.

At times, it just stopped me pulling my hair out when she was screaming at 4am, because it had at least more of an explanation for it than I did! I'd say this book has allowed me to understand my daughter better than I could have done had I not read it, as it brings a whole new perspective on what is going on in her world.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the best baby book I have bought. It's so interesting and really helps you understand the mental and physical development of your baby. Suggestions on how to make the most of the new skills your baby develops is also really useful
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I personally think this book is great, and have been recommending it to friends. Having said that, my baby is only 9 weeks old so I can't say if every stage of development will match the predictions... but so far it has explained a lot of his behaviour.
It's easy to read- not too dumbed down but not too complicated for the sleep-deprived brains of new parents!
The calander is handy... I've added the 'leap alerts' to my own calander so I know when to expect a difficult patch- or rather to know why it's happening so I don't freak out and start looking for reasons (oh my god he's got colic/reflux/he's turning into a horrible child!!!) Plus it's exciting to see the developments in him, to understand what's going on in his world, and what will come next, and what I can do to help encourage the learning.
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