Although I don’t have any previous experience with babies, I think Em was/is a great sleeper for the most part. I know I talked about never getting enough sleep in the previous posts, but that’s pretty normal and expected for parents with newborns. Now, we weren’t as lucky as those whose babies slept through the night as soon as they came home from the hospital. Em was a normal, textbook baby. She slept the right amount of hours according to all the baby books I’ve read, she woke up every 2-3 hours at night to feed which gradually stretched out further to 4-5 hours. She took great naps, 2-3 hours on the dot, and I was even following the E.A.S.Y. method with a breeze (I didn’t actually purchase the book, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg, but read a mommy blog post I found after Googling the E.A.S.Y. method). Go me! Then she started getting older and having a mind of her own – too soon I tell ya! Right around 4 month mark is when their world opens and everything is fascinating and exciting for these tiny humans. Simultaneously, this is also when their sleep starts to become more adult like… Goodbye sleep champ, hello sleep monster!
About two weeks before Em turned 4 months old, Steve and I started to loosely sleep train her. I read everything from CIO (cry it out) to no-tear sleep training to the Ferber method and everything in between! Can’t you tell I was desperately longing for Em to sleep through the night? ;P I believe 4 months is too young for a strict sleep training. I feel like they are still in that vulnerable stage of development, so I wasn’t comfortable with diving in full force with a strict method. However, we did start a bedtime routine – bath, Pjs, bottle, book, rock while humming nursery rhymes – around the same time every night (8pm ish). We also started putting Em down in her crib drowsy. She’s always been a great bassinet/crib sleeper for the most part. The challenge was putting her down drowsy and having her learn to fall asleep on her own. When I say we loosely sleep trained her, we’d let her fuss and fake cry a bit before going in to her room to console her after putting her down drowsy. The first couple of nights, she fussed and cried which is natural because up until that point, she always had help falling asleep by either of us rocking her to sleep. Whenever she fussed, either Steve and I would go into her room, pat her, stroke her head, give her the paci (if she spat it out), and tell her it’s okay and that it’s bedtime. We didn’t pick her up unless she started crying. After a week or so, she caught on and started falling asleep on her own after we put her down in her crib. She would babble, toss and turn in her crib and eventually fall asleep and stay asleep! She’d only wake up 1 or 2 times at night to feed (still sleeping) and go right back to sleep. SUCCESS! Please give us a gold medal, because we #WINNING! Not so fast…
Then this monstrous thing called sleep regression came for a visit. It was about a week or so after she had turned 4 months old. Steve and I were still feeling like winners because we had this bedtime/sleeping thing down. We even managed to push up her bedtime to 7-7:30pm! But out of nowhere, our sweet little sleep champ did a complete 180 on us and turned into a sleep monster! Em decided without consulting us (LOL) that she is no longer going to go to sleep at her bedtime and will fight us by crying immediately after we put her in her crib. Sometimes she would start crying while being changed into her PJs as if she knew what’s coming next. And when we finally got her to sleep, she’d wake up every 1-2 hours, literally. It also transferred to her daytime naps – goodbye 2-3 hours of naps, hello 30 mins – 1 hr catnaps! It was pure hell. In my delirious state, I was Googling how to get through 4 month sleep regression at the wee hours of the night, e.v.e.r.y. night for a week straight. Speaking of Googling anything baby related, I have learned that everything you read online can be a great resource, but take it with a grain of salt. And yes, everything you find online contradict each other on what works best. In the end, Steve and I did whatever it took to get her to sleep during the grueling week of 4 month sleep regression. We reverted back to rocking her to FULL sleep, forget putting her down drowsy, she would scream her head off. We also used the swing, the carrier and sometimes brought her into our bed (GASP!), don’t judge until you go through it yourself. But one thing that stayed constant was her bedtime routine. Thank GOD it only lasted a week (or so we think..knock on wood that we have jumped over the hurdle), but sleep regression really, really sucks. Big time. Now that we think the storm has passed, Em’s been back to normal – sleeping at her normal bedtime, falling asleep on her own, not waking up at night except to eat once. Actually, I want to note that last night (Feb 22, 2016), she slept through the night for the very first time (YAYYYYYYYYYYY)!! This is a huge milestone for us parents, so I just have to document it. She went down for her bedtime at 7pm and slept until 7am this morning! Did not wake up at all to eat. Hallelujah! I don’t want to be TOO optimistic that she’ll continue to sleep through the night, but she is getting there! Slow and steady wins the race, right?
All in all, we have survived the dreaded 4 month sleep regression. Although it may not have been as bad as what other parents have experienced, it was brutal for Steve and me, and we are so glad it’s done and over with!…At least until the next sleep regression. One thing I learned from all of this is that we have to be flexible. Having a Type A personality, it was tough for me to come to terms with the fact that what I think should work may not work for Emma. Not all babies are the same, so whatever I was reading on the internet or in the books may not be the right path for Em. We just have to roll with the punches! In the end, we do whatever is best for our babies, right? We wanted Emma to have better sleep, so she can be a happy baby even if we had to take a step back from what we thought was a great progress made. After all, these babies are helpless, they just want lots of love and nurture to be able to overcome their developmental milestones. Can you imagine what it’s like being a baby where they are experiencing something new every single day? It’s like sensory overload for their brains! BUT I still would not want to go back to that week from hell..at least not until the next one hits. ;D
So as a first time mom, I wanted to start a series of my mom experiences in the rawest form in order to capture whatever I have going on in my head. This was the first post of the series and hopefully I’ll have many more to come! It’s probably just a lot of my mumbo jumbo word vomit, but hope you enjoyed it nonetheless!