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!!
Royal Marine Wife. Mum to Rafe.