Wednesday, September 3, 2014

4 Month Sleep Regressskerflafla

Hello, smug mom. I've got some terrible news for you.  I too used to have a baby that slept like an angel. One quick snack at 3 or 4 and not another peep til morning! And then there was that little daycare cold that lingered. That caused a few rough nights. And then I experimented with putting him down unswaddled. And then there was his last round of vaccines... And holy excuses I have not slept like a normal human being for a month! I now rub coffee grounds into my eyeballs in hopes of transferring some of caffeine's magical properties directly into my soul. It hit me this morning that I have now spent weeks staggering around the office like an extra from World War Z looking for Brad Pitt. He is nowhere and I am tired and my 21 week old baby has regressed to 3 wake ups per night. The 4 month sleep regression is real, my friends. Started at about 4-4.5 months and now we're a day shy of 5 months old. Consider this your episode of Scared Straight: Baby Fails.

Will I take this lying down? (Pun just realized and enjoyed.) Hell no! So here is what I'm doing to proactively change nights for the better.

  • Falling asleep while reading that baby sleep book I purchased to preempt a 4 month sleep regression. Oops. Like so many other "this is how to soothe/feed/raise your baby" book purchases, it sat on my virtual Kindle shelf until I was absolutely desperate for its sage advice as well as beyond the point of being helped. 
I'd like to lodge a complaint against every baby "method" theory book ever written. Dear infant experts, try a different format. Perhaps a pamphlet? Something with bullet points totaling less than 20 pages? I am too tired to read the thrilling testimony - always in a gray box and in italics - of the parents who took your advice and got their kid to sleep in less than 30 seconds thus saving their marriage. Just give it to me straight. Do this, not that. Then do this, no, not that. Good. Stick to it. Stop that... ok, much better. That's how your book should read. Then I could stay awake and glean actual information from its pages. In summary, PAMPHLET WITH BULLET POINTS. If you have written a second chapter, you have gone too far.

  • Practicing consistency. Also, inconsistency. 
    • I always put Henry down "drowsy but awake" unless of course he's been particularly difficult or I am particularly exhausted in which case I put him down either mostly asleep or totally asleep. 
    • In response to increased night wakings, disassociate nursing. When Henry wakes up at times where I am positive that he is not hungry, I pick him up and rock him back to sleep. Unless of course I am catatonic in which case I whisper, "Shush baby, don't cry. Here is the gift of my boob." 
  • Obsessing about the swaddle. Henry is a swaddle addict. While freebasing Halo Swaddle Sleepsacks, he is practicing rolling over and mocking me in his Rock n' Play. So yeah, at 5 months he's still swaddled and still in the RNP. Oops, my bad. Unswaddled he sleeps in such short bursts. Long enough for naps but not for night sleep. I find thinking about it far more manageable than doing anything about it.
  • Thinking about moving Henry into his own room. That would probably help with the whole nursing disassociation. Yep, bet it would. I should totally try that sometime. Except my husband basically bursts into tears when I suggest we should do that and, when attempted once, insisted we sleep with the monitor on full blast (the static was deafening) and brought him back to the room the first time he cried. I'd be annoyed if it wasn't so incredibly sweet. I am also quite tired and lack the energy to argue/reason with him. Co(dependent)-sleeping/parenting is endearing.
So how did you handle all of this? You probably weaned your kid from the swaddle at an appropriate age and had him sleeping in his own room. That would make sense. But let's say, hypothetically, that you hadn't done those things. What would you do then? 

Argh, it might be baby sleep boot camp time. Next week.


  1. Well. I feel like this was written specifically for me... perhaps because I rely on you so much to be my crystal ball glimpse into the future. I've heard of this "4 month sleep regression" of which you speak but of course I've had that smug attitude, like it's not gonna happen to me. Sounds like I better check myself 'fore I wreck myself.

    The image of you rubbing coffee grounds into your eyeballs? Simultaneously horrifying and epic, because let's face it, that's some extremely visual prose you've composed right there. So I'm simultaneously terrified of the future and bowing to your exemplary writing skills.

    I don't know what to say. I'm very, very afraid. I hope things get better for you (soon). Keep using that RNP and don't feel bad about it. Molly's crib is brand new and unused because my mom never could transition my little sister into it. It's not easy. And can we talk about how adorable it is that your husband is the one who wants to keep her in the room? So cute!

    1. You're not smug mom! I am smug mom. Smug mom who got her comeuppance. I listened to people complain about their kids' sleep habits and I was all, "Sorry about your epic parenting fail." And then it happened to me and I blame it on my child. All your fault! Molly may never betray you the way H has betrayed me. My friend's daughter never went through a sleep regression. Maybe she'll love you enough to skip it!

      Thanks for your very kind words regarding my depiction of macerating my eyeballs. I feel my strength lies in creating awkward metaphors and embodying the spirit of TMI.

  2. Just when you figure it out it's going to change so don't stress it and hang in there.