The dreaded 4 month sleep regression. The time in a babies’ life where we seriously contemplate sleeping while standing up at work because we aren’t getting more than 3 hours at home. I swear, this is the sole reason that makes me debate having more kiddos (but in the end, the squishy cute baby faces ALWAYS win). The truth is, being sleep deprived can make us crazy but in the end, these little babes are worth every second of lost sleep. I can promise you this. You just need to survive this period of time (AND YOU WILL).
Before I tell you about our TWO experiences with this regression, I asked Melissa Perry from the Cradle Coach a few of the questions you posted on my #latenightnursingfeed and she answered them for you!
My first experience with the 4 month sleep regression with Liv was actually easier and I will tell you why. Liv gave me a run for my money from the very start. She was very colicky and she cried every day/night from around 4 pm – 11 pm when she went to sleep. She woke up at 3 months and never cried again but it also made it easier for me to lightly sleep train her when she went through the 4 month sleep regression. I don’t believe in letting your baby cry it out endlessly but I do believe that giving your baby the sleep that so desperately need is key. We followed an approach that I was completely comfortable and worked closely with Melissa from The Cradle Coach to train Olivia to sleep through the night. On night one, we put her down awake and she cried for about one hour total (and we went in every 3 minutes to sing to her and put our hand on her belly and then we would walk out after 10 seconds). If she stopped crying for more than 10 seconds, the 3 minute time clock would go back down to zero (when they quiet down, they are teaching themselves to self soothe, which is key!) On night two, she only cried about 20 minutes (again, with us going in every 3 minutes) and night three, she slept through the night. I made the active choice to still nurse her once around 3 am, but honestly, she didn’t need it in terms of her nourishment… I just wasn’t ready to drop that feeding. I did drop it at 8 months and she easily slept right through the entire night for 12 hours.
With Ellie, things were slightly different. We keep her in our room slightly longer than with Olivia and I also nurse Ellie on demand. So, every time she woke up at night, I would nurse her back to sleep. This is great, for the first three months, but after that, we started to create a habit. Ellie would wake to eat out of habit, not because she was actually hungry. One night, Ellie woke up every 20 minutes for the entire night and I completely lost my mind. The next night, we moved her into her own room and her own crib and that was the first step to success. Having her out of our room allowed her to feel safe in a different space without me right next to her. Plus, she didn’t smell the milk. It’s like a tease having the milk right next to her and then saying, “Oh no, you can’t have this right now”. We put her in her crib awake and started the same routine as we did with Olivia. This was a bit more difficult for me because Ellie never cries and it was so hard for me to hear her cry for even a second. However, I know that she needs her sleep and that in just a few nights, she would feel completely comfortable and be able to soothe herself easily. The first night went similarly to Liv’s first night. On the second night, she would let out a cry here and there but we never had to go in the room. The third night, she slept great! I still nurse her once throughout the night and that time will vary. For example, last night, she slept 845 – 5 and I fed her at 5, she went back to sleep until 845!
If you have any individual questions, you can forward them to my email or post them here and I will try my best to answer them!
Now, off to get Ellie to take three naps in her crib! 🙂
GENERAL // Things I Wish I Knew Before Our Baby Arrived (Written by over 50 other mothers!) // What to Bring a Mom after she has a Baby // New Mama Must-Haves // How to Transition from a Bottle to a Sippy Cup // Why you Should Hire a Birth Photographer // What I’ve Learned as a Mom Thus Far
BREASTFEEDING // Best Foods to Eat while Breastfeeding // Nursing Essentials // 10 Tips for those that Plan to Breastfeed // Nursing Essentials II // How to Increase your Milk Supply including a recipe for Lactation Cookies!