As I mentioned in a KERF post last week (thanks for all of the advice!), we’ve just been through the 4 month sleep regression (so it seems! And note the past tense!) Mazen didn’t sleep more than 3 to mayyyybe 4 hours since before Christmas (with the exception of New Year’s Eve which was a totally lucky fluke of 4 hours and 45 minutes!) and our second-half-of-the-nights have been exhausting. We have successfully moved bedtime up to about 7:30 and he goes down pretty easily but then wakes up again within an hour. He’ll typically do a longer stretch (3 hours or so) from a 9:30/10 after a feeding to just past midnight and then the rest of the night looks like this:
We can’t pinpoint any discomfort or temperature or hunger problems (I nurse him maybe 2-3 times from 9 to 7am) so I’m chalking it up to 4 month regression and I’ve stopped worrying that it’s something I’m doing (for the most part).
For the first time since M was born, “sleeping while the baby sleeps” is quite necessary. I’ve had to take a few daytime naps to keep my head on my shoulders. This stage has been way harder than the newborn stage. At least then he was sleeping two hours at a time instead of one or less!
I don’t mind if he wants to wake up at night at all (because he needs me) and I’m not wishing he’d sleep for 10 hours yet (although that would be nice..) I just wish we could get back to hours of sleeping time instead of minutes. It’s the up and down for the whole second half of the night that means neither of us is getting any rest.
You know how everyone talks about morning sickness but you don’t really get how bad it’s going to be until you’re in it? That’s how the 4 month sleep regression is. No one warned me it would be this bad! I hear there’s an 8 month sleep regression. Maybe potty training is worse than people say. Terrible Two Tantrums?
I’ve read Healthy Sleep Habits, The Baby Whisperer, Harvey Karp’s sleep book, No Cry Sleep Solution so far and have gathered the common themes from them all. We are working on dark, still crib naps, not having him be overtired, etc. but I feel like there’s just SO much information out there, and I’m not sure it always works for us. For example, two days when he didn’t nap well he slept well at night. That is counter to what EVERY sleep book says about sleep begetting sleep. And despite the “fact” that movement naps in swings and strollers “aren’t restorative,” they really do seem to recharge him. I”d rather him nap an hour in the stroller than 20 minutes in the crib.
I know what you guys are going to say: every baby is different and you can’t raise your child based on what a book says. I know this. I would just think that the sleep experts and doctors writing these books would know what they’re talking about, so I’m surprised when my baby does the opposite (although this is not the first I’ve heard from other moms of non-nappers sleeping well at night regardless).
Several of you have said that your baby just “got it” one day when it comes to sleeping, so I’m hoping that works for us. Hoping.
However, as hard as it is to get up in the middle of the night over and over, I have to say that I often look forward to our nighttimes. When I settle down in the master bedroom for first shift, I miss him, and after that first longer stretch, no matter how tired I am, I’m always glad to snuggle close to nurse. Even when he’s crying hard, he’s still my cute little baby.
Just a few days after writing this post, the clouds parted and we got a 5 hour stretch, followed by 4.5, and then another 5. The second half of the night has been much better too, although still more like 2 hours + 1 +1. Naps are still shorter than they were, but I’ll take them. I also feel like he has reached that developmental leap – suddenly he’s reaching out for toys with concentrated intention and he just seems to be more alert. He wants to sit or stand up all the time now. Growing fast!