How to handle Wonder Weeks and twins.
Have you ever wondered why your babies are just freaking out? I know, babies cry a lot for all kinds of reasons. But you’ve fed them, they’ve rested, you’ve held and played with them. And still, they are very unsettled. Your twins could be in a wonder week. These are weeks of specific brain developments and leaps in understanding about the world. This is something all babies go through, not just twins. But, as with a lot of things, twins sometimes bring in special considerations. So how do you handle wonder weeks and twins?
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Wonder Weeks and Twins
What are the Wonder Weeks?
What are the Wonder Weeks? They are a series of developments, called leaps, that babies make as they grow in the first two years. These leaps were researched and put together by Dr. Plooij after he spent time observing the mother/baby interactions in chimpanzees and later in humans. He found that there is a predictable pattern of babies where they go through a period of clinginess followed by one of independence. This clingy time period is when they are putting together a new level in how the world around them works. (You can learn more about the development of the Wonder Weeks here: How the Wonder Weeks came to be.)
How Do the Wonder Weeks Work?
The Wonder Weeks are fairly straightforward on the surface. Babies follow a predictable pattern that can basically be timed out. There are Wonder Week charts you can follow that show you when your babies will go through periods of developments. Because these developments are often accompanied by fussy behaviors, they are called stormy periods. But once the stormy period has passed, your child should be back to being happy.
How Are the Wonder Weeks Determined?
The leaps are timed out based on the due date of your babies. The theory is that babies hit the leaps at predictable times. These times are determined by brain growth, which the creator claims is pretty consistent after the 40 week due date of babies. This is of course considered full term, so it would follow that development remains the same for babies after this point. For example, leap one will take place 5 weeks after your babies’ due date, the second 8 weeks after, and so on.
Handling Twins with the Wonder Weeks
How do twins impact the weeks?
Having twins itself doesn’t change the theory of the Wonder Weeks. You have two babies, but according to the creator, they should still be hitting the leaps at the same time as singletons. That makes sense. You had twins you didn’t have a different species. They are two individual babies. But there are a few ways that twins can be different from a typical Wonder Weeks baby.
The Due Date Factor
Wonder Weeks are designed to be measured from the due date of your baby, not the birth date. So if your baby was born at 38 weeks, the first leap would be when your baby was 7 weeks old, not 5 weeks. You wait those two weeks between birth and the 40 week due date before you start counting the leaps. Many singleton parents find that the leaps line up better with birth date. I think the recommendation is to measure the leaps from both birth and due date and see which seem to line up better.
Due Dates and Twins
Going off of your twins due date is fine, but what is that due date? Twins often come early, and in fact, it is planned for a lot of them to come early. My twins shared a placenta, and some research put the due date for full-term birth at 37 weeks. So would you start counting then? Or do you still have to wait until 40 weeks?
The creator insists on using the 40-week date to start counting leaps, even for preemies. Preemie twins would not be an exception to this. Only… I think they could be. My girls were born at 36.5 weeks, and according to all the different doctors who had seen them they were considered full term and there was no need to ever use a corrected age. This follows the idea that identical twins could be considered full term at 37 weeks. (Note: I am just going off of what I have heard from medical professionals. I am not a doctor. Listen to your doctor for this sort of thing.)
My girls hit leaps on time from the birth date. In order to be as accurate as possible for leaps and twins, I think you need to take a look at a couple of things. Time leaps based off of birth date, 40 week due date, and maybe a date in between, like the 37 or 38 week date. This is more work, yes. But it might help you to be better able to predict when stormy times will appear.
Why Do Twins Hit Leaps Differently?
A challenge can come up when your twins seem to hit leaps at different times. How do you handle that? Can babies born on the same day hit leaps at different times?
Fraternal Twin Factors
Twin moms know that fraternal twins are the result of two eggs being fertilized by two different sperm. So they are the same as regular siblings, they just share a birth day. So could they hit leaps at different times? I would think absolutely yes. Brain development follows a pretty consistent pattern across children, but the details are not going to be exactly the same. Think of it this way. All babies get teeth within a similar time frame. But they don’t all get them at the same exact moment. This is true with leaps. They can hit them around the same time, but not at the same exact moment.
Identical Twin Factors
Identical twins start off exactly the same. But once that initial egg splits each baby has their own unique experience in the world. Even identical twins don’t pop out teeth at the same exact moment. There are many factors that go into how we grow and develop, and identical twins do not life the same exact life. Leaps are just a few weeks long, and some are very close together. That is a short time period of time. This can make it seem like identical twins are hitting leaps at vastly different moments, when in fact if you pull back to a bigger picture they are well within the norm and quite close together.
According to the creator of the Wonder Weeks, every baby will go through this development in this order. That doesn’t mean they will all react to the leaps in the same way. Some babies are very laid back and you barely notice that anything has changed in their world. With other babies, every leap is a challenge. Twins have distinct personalities. One twin might be extremely clingy during a leap, while their sibling just isn’t. That doesn’t mean leaps aren’t taking place, just that each baby will have a unique response to the developments.
The Mom Factor
Look, having twins is busy. There is a lot for us moms to keep track of. Two babies, plus everything else that is going on in life, can make it harder to really keep track of things like the leaps. They don’t take place at consistent intervals, and every leap might not cause stormy periods for your babies. If you have one of the Wonder Week apps you can get alerts when a leap is about to hit, so that can make it easier to keep track of. But even with that, it can be really easy to lose track of the leaps. That can make it feel like one twin hit one differently than the other. That’s okay. Your babies will develop just fine without you worrying about hitting these leaps. (Learn how I handled the mom factor–> Wonder Weeks Without the Stress.)
Real Twin Mom Advice on the Wonder Weeks
My real twin mom advice? Don’t stress the Wonder Weeks. The information on how babies perceive the world is fascinating. But there are so many factors that go into how babies grow and learn that I have a hard time believing every baby will go through this exact pattern of development. Not even identical twins do everything the same.
I think the Wonder Weeks can be a helpful tool. If your babies are extremely fussy and you can’t find any other source, check the weeks. Maybe they are in a leap period. This can reassure you that everything is normal with your twins, and remind you that you are doing a great job as a mom. Because you are.
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