The dreaded 4 month sleep regression

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“Coffee, pass me the coffee” – these are usually the first things that come out of my mouth in the morning.

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We’re 5 weeks into the 4 month sleep regression, and yes, it’s been extremely tough.

5 weeks of wake ups every 90mins – 2 hourly during the night, no rest during the day (whoever said sleep when they sleep obviously never had anything to do!), and therefore no energy to do anything takes its toll. Physically as well as mentally.

A few weeks into the regression I started questioning everything that I was doing, and whether it was wrong. I read lots of articles on how to manage the regression and of course, like anything, there was nothing but conflicting advice. What made it even worse, was that other babies I knew of the same age were “sleeping through the night”.  Something that didn’t help my self confidence.

The most useful forum in those early sleep deprived days was Mumsnet. It was nice to see that there were many mums in a similar position who were going through the same thing, all supporting each other with positive comments and cheering you on to hang in there.

The most defeating thing for a breastfeeding mother is when someone turns around and tells you that your breastmilk probably isn’t enough and therefore your baby is hungry – basically, a nicer way of saying it’s your own fault! I concentrated on feeding for a while as I could see that he was distracted during the day if I tried feeding him when we were out. However this didn’t make a difference and he didn’t want anything but the boob during wake ups. I also know mums who had introduced formula at night and said it didn’t make a difference. The sleep regression is related to a change in the babies sleep cycles, so the majority of advice was to “ride it out” and not to worry.

Co-sleeping was recommended, so I kicked my husband out for a few nights and tried putting little one in the bed with me in his sleepyhead. He slept a little better on the first night, and feeding was better, but it didn’t make too much of a difference in the following nights. Plus, it meant that I didn’t sleep as well. So, that was that.

I have introduced a dummy, which sometimes helps, and other times doesn’t (when he cries as it has fallen out). But, it does mean that i can try that before offering the boob.

As of last week he is in his own room (!). This was after a few nights of feeling as though we were disturbing him every time we moved / made any noise (I was more concerned about the snoring  coming from next to me, and many dirty looks were given!). The first night was great – he managed a 3 hour stint. The past few nights have been touch and go, but I normally get at least one 3 hour stint somewhere.

Fingers crossed it gets better quickly. Whoever said it gets easier after 12 weeks lied, he slept much better before this.

I’m still super jealous when one by one friends tell me their babies are now sleeping and the regression has ended for them, but, after 5 weeks of worrying, I have decided to change my approach completely. I’m not going to worry about it (easier said than done), i’m not going to compare him to other babies, i’m going to drink all the coffee when needed to get through, and we’re going to ride it out – hoping the 3 hour stints turn into 4 hour stints, and then 5 hour stints. This time goes way too quickly and I would rather be there for him and give him lots of cuddles rather than feeling frustrated and that I am failing at this parenting malarkey!

For those mums going through the same thing right now – sending you big hugs. There are lots of us going through the same thing. It will (hopefully) get better soon. Each baby is different. And, the best piece of advice, stop comparing your baby to other babies. It’s using valuable brain cells and time – spend that time giving your baby cuddles and looking at that adorable smile. It has taken me 5 weeks of worrying to come to this conclusion.

The next step for me is him being able to fall asleep awake, but for now, it’s time to feed him back to sleep again…….One step at a time.

Mummy S x

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