I’ve started writing this at the delightful hour of 5.30am! It’s been a long night… started at 9.30pm with an early dream feed. All fine, then he woke at 12.30; not a problem, then 1.30…….2.40….3.30….. 5.00. By this point I was thoroughly pissed off! Josh is normally so good and would do a midnight feed and another around 4am before getting up at about 6.30. I couldn’t believe how badly he had slept, or not slept as the case may be. Then it dawned on me, the dreaded four month sleep regression. Josh is 16 weeks tomorrow, could it be coincidence?
I heard about the hideousness that is sleep regression from one of my NCT friends (and can I just take a moment to say I love my NCT girls; it is so comforting to have one another to vent to when you are waking a million times in the night and we are always there for one another with advice and encouragement. They are a god send). Any way back to the sleep regression.
So one minute you’ve got an adorable four month old baby, sleeping fairly well and you’re feeling far more human than you did in those early days. Then out of nowhere your little angel is transformed into a nocturnal, cranky disaster who won’t sleep! Long gone are the decent stretches of sleep between feeds and the somewhat manageable sleep schedule. Now you are both exhausted and you have a baby who won’t fall asleep or stay asleep for longer than 20 minutes! After much wracking your brain and googling (why do we do it) you get told it must be the dreaded four month sleep regression!
Now hold on to your knickers ladies cause the description of this vile. The four month sleep regression marks a permanent change in your baby’s sleep habits. Before this the baby didn’t have the distinct deep and light sleep stages that us adults experience, they basically just sleep deeply all the time, which is wonderful and explains why Josh has always been a delight at sleeping anywhere; car, moses basket, peoples houses, in the middle of the floor in a baby sensory class…!!! However it would appear that four months hits and your babys brain matures (a good thing; comfort yourself with that fact when you’re awake at all hours) and sleep patterns develop much like ours. So baby is going between deep and light sleep. Now you can take comfort in the fact this is a healthy and normal developmental milestone in your baby, always a good thing; your babies growth is right on track.
However, as lovely as all this may sound, it is of no comfort at all when it’s 3.30am and you’re up for the fifth time and feel like a demented overtired lunatic.And if you’re experiencing this you have my sympathy! It is like reverting back to those early days which, as cute as the teeny tiny baby was, no one misses because you were up half the night and thoroughly exhausted. And now that baby is experiencing these sleep cycles it appears that he or she now needs your help even more to fall back to sleep.
Now as if all that wasn’t a bitch enough, here’s the cherry on the cake; it doesn’t go away! It appears that unlike the sleep regression your baby will experience at around 9 months, which tends to pass after a few weeks with your little ones sleep returning to normal, this one is permanent! So you can imagine my initial reaction upon reading all of this. I came to the most logical decision going; ignore it and hope that it wouldn’t happen to Josh. But if last night is anything to go by then this could be the start of this quite frankly shitty sleep regression! So how can you cope? Short of investing in shares of coffee and undereye concealer, it seems that you will just need to find a way to cope!!!What a bitch. You can try to help baby get back to sleep if you can; if you know certain things settle him or her, such as a mobile, a night light, a comfort blanket, make sure they have it when trying to soothe them. I personally don’t rock Josh or hold him till he sleeps as I’ve drummed into him from day one to self settle and get himself to sleep, but I do turn on a night light and his Ewan dream sleep which he should hopefully associate with falling asleep! And although it didn’t work last night, a dream feed has worked wonders for me in the past and can get you a good four to five hours sleep under your belt!
Above all don’t struggle alone. If someone offers help accept it and have a nap if you can (often easier said than done). And lean on your fellow Mummy friends; hearing that someone else is suffering too is weirdly a comfort. You can always ask your baby to pack it in and let you get some sleep but oddly I’ve not found that that works as yet….!!
If you’ve already been through this then it would be great to hear how you coped and if you have any tips!
Sweet Dreams Yummy Mummys x