Like I mentioned last week, this four month sleep regression is literally HAVING MY LIFE. Yet on the other hand, Rafe is reaching milestones during this leap (he rolled over!) and I could just literally burst with pride, like he's won a gold medal. But I'm not going to lie - I'm finding this phase quite tough. Was in tears one day this week after having yet another bad night - and disaster nap, after disaster nap. So I felt compelled to try anything, so at 2am I was downloading sleep schedules, 9am I was sticking black out fucking blinds to the window with little success, stuffing a teddy bear down my top to try and get my scent on to it to act as a comforter, pushing the pram round the streets like a woman possessed, shushing him to sleep with such conviction I think I could shush a whole nursery to sleep, singing Twinkle Twinkle over and over and over again, googling and googling four month sleep regression with the same determination I use when I'm stalking my husband's ex on Facebook and texting my mum friends 1,000 messages for help.
And that was just Tuesday.
BUT (touch wood), have we started to master self-soothing?
So I downloaded a sleep schedule from Little Ones, (which seems to keep appearing on my Facebook feed as if they know) in my desperation to get Rafe to sleep in the early hours of the morning. I knew I was desperate as I forked out bloody 20+ quid for it. It's all a very strict pattern and I was a bit overwhelmed by it to be honest. And if I follow it down to the fine print it means really messing up his feed times which we have settled into. Still feed him on demand if he wants it but it's three hours between feeds normally. And the plan also says baby must have a two hour nap at lunchtime which I feel would be impossible to achieve. Well for now anyway. After literally sending 1,000 messages to my mum friends asking for help and advice - they both said the same thing: "All babies are different." So through the tears I decided to do a bit of trial and error and see what works for us. So what have I tried this week?
1. Alcohol. (I fucking wish. One day. One day I will be downing the tequila shots like I'm 18 again - if only I had the boobs.)
2. Travel black-out blind. (Why won't the suckers fucking stick!!) Popped that up (well my mum and dad did - I don't have the patience) to help during nap times and light evenings but not sure if helps or not to be honest. But going to keep the room as dark as possible at night and nap times (if he goes in the cot) so will keep sticking those bloody things on to the window for now.
3. Took away night light. This has helped as he no longer clocks it in the middle of the night and thinks it's HILARIOUS.
4. And I would walk 5,000 miles....in the pram. I know this is against what a lot of these bloody experts say - but at the moment, the one thing that gets him to sleep for more than half an hour is the pram - or baby carrier. He slept for an hour and a half in the pram yesterday. 🙌 Hoping that's not just a one off as he is still very much a 30 minute napper at the moment. I just physically can't get him to nap more than 30 minutes sometimes. My friend said for six weeks she had to walk her girls in the pram during all nap times to help them sleep - and they now nap in the cot. So while it works (kind of) it works for now. Once I can crack night-time, I'll attempt to crack naps but hoping once I can get him to self-soothe - this will come naturally....(will it?!)
5. MyHummy - This hasn't made a difference for us. But know it works for others. Sticking to Ewan the Sheep which I do think helps.
6. Self-soothing. I knew I had to try to tackle this. Not just for me - but also for Rafe. If he can settle himself to sleep, I think it will do him the world of good. I've had to edit some of this so I don't get in trouble with Little Ones for sharing too much info - but basically the self-soothing techniques are gradual and I think the key is consistency. It took one hour for Rafe to get himself to sleep the first time trying, (you don't leave their side when you start trying to help them self-soothe), 15 minutes the next. Then ten minutes the next night!!! I literally cried. I never in a million years thought he would be able get himself to sleep. And that it would work. Especially when it's been taking hours of shushing to just get him to sleep. Naps are a whole new ball game - think I need to get night-time nailed before I tackle those bad boys. I'm just hoping now he can settle himself, the sleepless nights will be no more...It's getting better than the hourly wake-ups - just still pretty exhausting. Hopefully next week, the four month sleep regression will be a distant memory!! 🤞 I live in hope.
7. On advice of my friend - I have moved bedtime forward again. So working backwards - I want to try and get him down at 6.30pm so he's in the bath at 5.15pm and then dressed, story - and then feeds for an hour. This seems to have helped. (I know it seems really early but once he starts settling quicker and feeding less, I will make it later.)
8. Chocolate and biscuits. Make sure I eat at least a full tin of biscuits a day.
9. I try not to leave it longer than 2 hours between naps as he starts to get sleepy and upset. In the evening it's a bit different as he tends to be awake for longer (At the moment he tends not to nap passed 4pm, but know a lot of people advise catnaps between then and bedtime so might have to try that - but equally don't want to mess up bedtime!) but hoping the earlier nighttime will help. But this of course changes when he has a class depending on when it is. I never thought I'd be so fucking stressed out about naps!! 🙈
10. Had a cry. I really have been so upset this week. I'm just so exhausted and getting so stressed out about him not sleeping through the day much - and the sleepless nights - but I know I need just breathe and read other people's comments (thank you) and advice who are going through the same thing - or have overcome it. I also need to remember all babies are different and not to obsess so much over all the books - and bloody google.
So to those women pounding the street pushing the pram, I'll be thinking of you!! (I'm hoping this exercise will get rid of my wobbly belly and turn me into a Goddess.)
I may be doing something totally different next week but you've just got to wing it most the time haven't you?! Has anyone had success with this Little Ones plan?
The little sleep thief rolled over front to back this week. 😍 He's been attempting to do it for a while now so when he did I literally got so excited I think I made him cry. It's amazing how proud I feel when he reaches a certain milestone. I think I will be an emotional mess when he walks or says his first word. 🙈
After saying he's feeding better - we seem to have taken a big step back and he's back to being fussy and on and off the boobs. I had another blocked milk duct but my friend recommended pouring hot water on to a nappy, waiting till you can touch it and then putting it on your boob and keeping it on there till it gets cold. Amazing little trick! He has also started blowing when my nipple is in his mouth and sometimes pursing his lips and coming sharply off my boob so my nipple really does almost come off. So that's a laugh a minute. 🙈 I don't know whether to try and stretch his feeds out to 3 1/2 to 4 hours - anyone else tried this?
My husband came home for the weekend and for Rafe's hospital appointment on Monday. He's been away for six weeks so was quite emotional seeing them together. We also had our first date night - and third time out just us since Rafe arrived. We've had a date afternoon so this felt a bit more wild. 😂 We went for a meal and was back at 9pm (he normally wakes between 10-11 for a feed) but it was lovely to spend time just us. Having a baby really affects your relationship - so I know we need to try and find time to have some alone time. Even if it's just two hours - it's two hours. Even if it takes four razors to shave my legs. It makes me laugh when he used to come home from being away, it would be like a military operation to get ready. Depending on how low long he'd been away for, it would mean, wax, hair done, eyebrow turned into eyebrows, fake tan - now he's lucky if I brush my hair. Lucky man.
It's Rafe's hospital check up on Monday. Have pushed it out my mind to be honest but sure all will be well. Thinking positive but will let you all now.
We've got this ladies!!
How did your Valentine's Day morning go? Breakfast in bed? Exchanging cards over a cuppa? I spent mine glueing toothpicks to my eyelids to stay awake while ripping my sheets off my bed as after I finally got Rafe back to sleep after he'd been awake since 4am wanting to play, (fuck you four month sleep regression) I needed to stealthy change his nappy - but obviously not stealthy enough as he woke up and peed all over my bed. Which he thought was HILARIOUS....And they say romance is dead....
P.s But he's the most gorgeous Valentine isn't he? ❤️
So, the early hours of Wednesday were a laugh a minute. Rafe had taken a while to settle, then was up at 10.30pm for a feed, then every hour after that. After his 3.30am feed he was wide awake. Chatting away to himself and just wanted to play. I shushed and I sang Twinkle Twinkle a million fucking times, I begged, I paced up and down, I gently rocked, I tried putting him on my boob, I tried leaving him to self soothe - nothing. This dude wanted to party. Every time I put him back down, a few minutes later I would peer over the snuzpod and he would just be staring back at me and smiling as if to say - YOU'RE NOT GOING TO SLEEP MUM. Was cute - but exhausting. I fed him again at 5.30am and praise the Lord he fell asleep but I really needed to change his nappy. I can do this without waking him, I thought. I don't need a changing mat, I thought. He won't wee as soon as I take the nappy off, even though he's done that very thing a million times before, I thought...So I held my breath and unzipped his sleeping bag and had everything prepared on the bed to do a record breaking nappy change. Just as I was about to put on his nappy, he decided this would be a good time to have a fucking wee. To prevent it from going anywhere, in my sleep deprived state I just put my hand out. Which made it spray everywhere. All on my sheets. So obviously Rafe woke up as I was trying to quietly take the sheets off my bed while through gritted teeth saying FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK. He found it all hilarious though. Then he refused to go back to sleep and in the end only had one measly 30 minute nap during the day - and on top of that he had his immunisations in the morning, which were obviously awful for him. 😢 So he was just so upset all afternoon. Poor little man.
AND wait for it.....We have teeth!! Well one tooth coming through. (Four month sleep regression+Leap 4+immunisations+teething=BRUTAL 😩) I noticed he had been quite upset the day before and then on Tuesday he was screaming and putting his finger in the same spot, so I had a look and there it was. A little white spot in his gum. (Wasn't it just yesterday that I was holding this tiny baby in my arms for the first time - and now my boy is getting his first tooth?!) I just feel so sorry for him and his little rosy cheeks but Anbesol seems to help and my friends recommended Teetha teething granules and they sometimes soothe him. But some days nothing seems to work and he's just so upset. He just hasn't been himself for a few days. (Any other teething tips to help? I have a teething mit, Sophie the giraffe and of course the wonderful calpol.) So back to Wednesday. On top of him being awake since 4am, his jabs and teething - he had a pretty rough first Valentine's Day. I'd had better too! Husband is still away. To be fair, I think my husband and I have spent one Valentine's Day together in the last six years as he's always been working and it's not like we go overboard anyway - but I do tend to miss him that little bit more if he's not here - especially when you see people posting cute Facebook statuses while I'm cleaning up wee. (His course finishes in March but he's getting to come home for the weekend next week for Rafe's hospital appointment. It's been six weeks so he's going to see such a huge change. Can't wait for him to see Rafe.)
So, this four month sleep regression is literally having my life. For those who have gone through it - seriously help! A mum commented on my post last week and gave some great advice about trying to change up Rafe's sleep associations so he doesn't always need rocking, or shushed, being on the boob. She said she has tried reading to her little one - or introducing a cuddly toy when feeding so they associate sleep with those things. But Rafe seems to be as stubborn as his mum and is not having any of it. It's boob - or rocking to sleep - or awake all night. I've been googling loads (obviously 🙈) and read that you should try and get baby to be able to self soothe back to sleep - and try to gradually take away each way you normally try to get baby to sleep (although keep using white noise) or you're making a bit of a rod for your own back if you have to always shush to sleep. And to try and have at least one nap in his cot and to have the room dark - and the big one - to put him down drowsy but he literally wakes up straight away and cries! I've tried leaving him to cry it out but no joy. So basically, in a nutshell HELP. Will he just sort himself out and do this getting back to sleep malarkey on his own? Or do I need a miracle? Or can I do something? Oh and people keep mentioning MyHummy. I have used Ewan the sheep since he was born and it works sometimes - but it goes off and I keep almost breaking my back to put it back on. My friend is lending me her MyHummy to try out - wish me luck!!
The fussy feeding is getting better(ish). I would recommend the teething necklace - https://www.mamaknows.co.uk/ as he pulls at it, rather than pulling at my boob! The fussiness seems to be just on some feeds - rather than all. But that could change again! He does however, seem to be feeding a bit more frequently. We had got into three hours between feeds routine (that dreaded word) but I don't know whether it's the teething, the development leap, growth spurt or what - but sometimes it's been every two hours or so again - or just having little snacks in between feeds. And obviously during the night he wants to feed a bit more. Have you found your baby seems to want to feed more at this delightful stage?
I bought a Minbie bottle the other day and got my mum to try and feed the little monster with some expressed milk but he's just not a fan. It's like he doesn't really know what to do and he just doesn't want to do it. So that's three bottles tried - with no success. But my friend said to try three times with a bottle before moving on to another one so will keep trying. I honestly wish I'd tried sooner but I was just so terrified of the whole bloody nipple confusion and because I struggled to breastfeed to start with I worried introducing a bottle would have a negative impact early on. I know midwives and health visitors advise not to try a bottle until breastfeeding is established so it's so hard as a first time mum to know what to do - but I know so many other babies who had boob and bottle early on - and took to both well. But who knows? He may never have taken a bottle and always preferred breast. And it's not like I want to stop breastfeeding - it's just so I can have a break now and again. Or have a night out! It's my birthday coming up (21 again 😩) so I'd ideally want to be face first in tequila for the night. I might just try and skip the bottle and go straight to a cup. Has anyone had success with this?
And finally - Hartbeeps this week was a Valentine's Day special. Literally LOVED it! So I will leave you with this photo ❤️ - and again, to all those going through the four month sleep regression and teething - high fucking five. We've got this!
P.s Thank you in advance for all of your advice, I know I've asked a million questions but value all your help!
P.p.s Lasted two days on giving up chocolate and biscuits for lent. As my friend quite rightly said: "You're fucking sleep deprived. Why the fuck would you give up chocolate and biscuits? You need it." So who am I to argue with her and everyone else who said I was an idiot?! So I'll give up cereal bars instead....🙈
So if I found a magic lamp and a genie granted me three wishes, they would be:
1. To sleep
2. To sleep
3. To sleep
And if he was being generous, my fourth would be to have a body like Jenna Dewan Tatum. But we can't have it all.
So you know when you're pregnant and you're constantly up and down weeing for England and people say it's your body's way of preparing you for losing sleep and waking up through the night? HAHAHAHAHAHA. NOTHING. NOTHING. NOTHING prepares you for this type of exhaustion. The type of exhaustion that when your husband (who is away) messages you to see how you are, you just reply two words: "I'm fucked." I used to be such a light sleeper. It was a running joke how I would need absolute silence, darkness and an eye mask and eye plugs to sleep. My husband always tells the story of when we first started going out and I would stay over. To start with, we would be pretty much drunk every night (living the dream) so I would pass out. But then, when we realised we also liked each other sober, one morning he says he woke up and started talking to me and I turned around and shouted: "WHAT?" while lifting up my eye mask and popping out my ear plugs. Maybe it's funnier when he tells it? Anyway, my point is. I don't need silence or darkness now, I genuinely think I could fall asleep standing up, at a football match at Wembley, in the day, with 50,000 people screaming. As you've probably gathered the four month sleep regression is going really well. Send coffee. Lots of it...
It's not like I was having loads of sleep beforehand. The newborn days were of course mind numbingly exhausting but as the weeks went on and the cluster feeding and hourly wake ups stopped, Rafe started giving us a few good days of long stretches of sleep - four to six hours at a time. With two feeds in the night. A couple of times only one. Which was amazing. But now, it's literally every hour. I see every hour of the clock. (Not always to feed - just needs settling.) And he's taking hours to put down after his bath and bedtime feed. So it can be - wake for a feed, feed for up to an hour, take an hour to settle and wind, then up again in an hour. Rafe used to be good (unless he had wind) of going straight back to sleep after a feed and not really waking up properly. Now it's like TING I'm wide awake at 3.30am. He's smiling away which is cute - but it would be cuter if he slept. During the day it's disaster nap after disaster nap - with the odd few successes where he's had okay naps. (Still 30 minute naps.) But few and far between. I guess we just have to ride the storm until this phase passes but it's, as I said last week - fucking emotional.
His fussiness during his feeds during the day (great at night) are at a whole new level. Please tell me I'm not the only one? Just coming on and off, on and off. I have bought a teething necklace recommended by someone after my last post (thank you!) so hopefully that will help - will let you know. Trouble is, I don't think he's emptying my breasts properly sometimes as I actually had a swollen lymph gland under my armpit this week. I didn't feel ill, or have any signs of mastitis so just massaged it and put heat on it, which seemed to have helped it go down. Any one else had this? He's also started literally almost ripping my nipple off when he's finished feeding too so that's fun!
Rafe is supposed to make leaps and bounds in his development these next few weeks but in some respects I feel like has stalled. He used to love rolling on to his side and trying to do a full roll, but seems to have totally lost interest. Which is normal at this stage apparently. Yet he is kicking and punching like he is going to take off and is even more active. He's always been quite vocal but now it's like he is having a conversation with you and is making gaa and goo sounds which is proper cute. So I guess he's changing and developing in different ways. So although these few weeks are a challenge - hearing him chat away makes it worth it. Kind of....
So, it's lent next week so I have vowed to give up biscuits and chocolate. Okay maybe just chocolate or....shall I just give up biscuits? Or just try not to eat a whole biscuit tin every day? (Deciding what to try and not shovel in my face for six weeks reminds me of when my mum said she was going to give up cereal bars for lent!! 🤣 Okay mum, I’m going to give up seeds....) I'll let you know how I get on....I also really want to try and get fit again. I saw a photo of Jenna Dewan Tatum (Channing Tatum's wife) the other day and I almost cried. I'm not overly bothered(ish) about my weight. I guess it's just about doing something for me again. And plus it's my two year wedding anniversary in March and I wouldn't mind losing a few pounds so if we do go out and I don't have a baby attached to my boobs - I might look almost human - less saggy potato sack. Will need to take a lawnmower to my legs and get rid of my beard too - but let's take it one step at a time. I'm going to download Emily Skye's app too, so let's see how I get on....
And finally, in my sleep deprived state I have been extra emotional. I saw this poem and obviously lost it. Thought I'd leave it with you all to read/lose it too.
So it's been a fun week. If fun means waking up in the morning and saying: "well that was fucking emotional," while pouring coffee into your eyeballs. Can you tell we've hit the four month sleep regression? This is not a milestone I particularly wanted to hit and I naively hoped that Rafe would miraculously skip this one. HAHAHA. I have been googling the shit out of this stage. "When will it end?" being the most searched. The infamous four month sleep regression is possibly the biggest ever change in baby's sleep apparently. From what I've read, it basically means baby is now conscious of sleep as they now wake between each sleep cycle. (Get me being all scientific.) So basically just when you think you've overcome the newborn weeks' of no sleep (shudder) and baby is waking only twice in the night, the universe comes and smacks you in the face and you feel like you're back to square one. On average Rafe's been up at least every two hours through the night - not always feeding but most of the time he does. The other night he actually slept 12-6, PRAISE THE LORD but that was after a 45 minute screaming match during his first nighttime feed so I think he had exhausted himself. But I thought - maybe he's cracked sleeping already - what a genius! Nope. The next night I pretty much saw every hour on the clock. So basically I'm looking for miracle ways to help get us both through this stage without too many tears. Though I know it's probably a case of just riding the storm. But advice would be great....Do you feed every time your baby wakes to settle back to sleep - or just try and settle? Will he just miraculously work out how to sleep longer than two hour stretches? Can I drink wine for breakfast?
As well as joyous night wakings - he is refusing naps completely. I mentioned the other week he had been doing this but it's daily now. Mostly his two morning naps - and he tends to go down for the afternoon nap - for a long... 30 minutes. But it takes a hell of a lot of persuasion to do so. I don't understand - I'd LOVE to have three naps a day. Sometimes I think I must look hilarious to my neighbours. The other day he was fighting his sleep so the only way to get him to settle was to gallop around the living room like a horse. But it worked. So I'll pretty much do anything and impersonate all farm animals if it gets him to sleep. The nap situation is making bedtime less fun as he just gets so upset and is overtired. WELL IF YOU SLEPT DURING THE DAY YOU WOULDN'T FEEL LIKE THIS WOULD YOU SON? He normally has one good feed on one side then screams for 15 minutes before settling on the other side. Though the other night, like I said earlier it was 45 minutes of non-stop tears. Just send wine. Not that I can drink much still. Maybe I can just smell it?
He's also been a bit of a fuss pot during feeds. Coming on and off the boobs. So much so, milk spurts in his face. (I don't laugh. 🙈) I think a lot of it is the leap he is going through (leap+four month sleep deprivation= send help) and he's also so much more aware (or nosey like his mum) and is getting distracted. I always try and have a quiet room if I'm in the house when feeding but any other ideas to help him be less distracted during feeds? Have you seen them breastfeeding necklaces - do they work?
Rafe has been sniffly for a couple of weeks but fine within himself - but on Friday he developed a bit of a cough and has been even more unsettled the past two nights and up every hour or so. We took him to out of hours yesterday as you can see he is working a bit harder to breathe and obviously overly cautious because of his heart. The doctor wasn't too concerned and said he has a virus and an upper respiratory wheeze - but it's not on his chest. Thankfully. Just need to keep an eye on the little sleep thief. Hate seeing him poorly. But he's still full of beans and smiling away. It just seems to be the night he gets worse. But sure he will be on the mend in no time.
A highlight of the week has to be hartbeeps again. Honestly I actually get excited to go! It's literally the rock and roll of my week. Oh how times have changed. Rafe was dressed in a shower cap and we sang a rap about brushing your teeth. Told you - rock and roll. Who needs Friday night tequilas when you're rapping 'brush, brush, brush your teeth?'
Rafe's started blowing raspberries which is bloody cute. And although we have had a bit of a tough week - he still loves story time after his bath. We are reading Beatrix Potter at the moment (erm, I can't remember it being as traumatic. That Mr McGregor is an evil fucker. Almost as traumatic as the nursery rhyme I love little pussy. You heard me.) and when I'm lying down reading to him and he is staring up at me, I feel truly complete.
And finally - I hope everyone who is going through the four month sleep regression is suitably caffeined up to the eyeballs to tackle another day of screaming in their head: "PLEASE (insert appropriate swear word here) SLEEP!!!!!" Good luck!!!
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.