Parental Guidance Recommended

Pregnancy and parenting for the perplexed

4 months: Sleeping & crying, two gigantic black holes on the internet

So, my little sweetie is now almost 4 months old, and we’ve been going through some stuff. Previously happy to eat, happy to sleep, cheerful in the mornings, and almost sleeping all the way through from 10pm to 6am, MissB is now struggling and crying when I try to feed her, crying and screaming when we put her down to bed at night, and waking multiple times before dawn and requiring lots of soothing and sometimes another quick meal before she’ll go to sleep again.

This seems to be a common story. I’ve done a lot of reading (and I mean a LOT of reading) on the internet about this stuff. Our early strategy was sleep education a lá this study, and that paid dividends. I really recommend it as a structure to follow with your newborn, after the first couple of weeks have passed and you’re pretty sure you’re ready to start trying to figure out something resembling a routine.

But then suddenly this all went topsy turvy, like I said. A friend who has a baby a little older than mine pointed me to the excellent Troublesome Tots blog and I read up a bit on the 4 month sleep regression that MissB seems to be experiencing. Then through extensive clicking, read about this developmental period on The Wonder Weeks, different wrapping techniques, and about a million other things. I’m pretty sure I ended up, as you do, on a bunch of product pages all of which sell things that promise to help your baby sleep. But I managed to stop myself just in time from actually purchasing any of these things.

The key seems to be what we’re doing to get her to sleep. While she’s in the midst of this “leap”, as the authors of TWW call it, we’re doing whatever we can to ensure she (and we) gets a reasonable night’s sleep. But if any of these new compensation strategies last too long, we’re in danger of setting new sleep associations that will persist. And given that she’s about to start rolling, and outgrowing her bassinet (and therefore about to move into her own room) we don’t want her dependent on a swaddle, a pacifier, or being rocked/nursed/sung to sleep. She was sleeping on her own, and we need to get back to that, in spite of the fact she can now Look At All The Things and get frustrated that her body is not doing what she wants now. Enormous amounts of stimulus are available to her; but she still needs to be able to sleep.

So we’re following this advice. When we’re feeling brave enough to possibly not have any sleep for up to 5 nights in a row. Which will be… sometime in the next fortnight, I promise!

This is making me think I want to research sleep patterns in babies, and compare it with developmental stages. I’ve been considering putting together some research in infographic form — what would you, the good people of the internet, be interested in finding out more about?

Image* NB: this is not my baby. This baby is older than my baby, has more hair than my baby, and is sleeping, unlike my baby. This baby is from The Internet.



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This entry was posted on October 9, 2013 by in Sleeping and tagged , , .
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