Would love some advice and thoughts on what I am doing wrong with my 4 mth old and sleep??

(16 Posts)
PollyIndia Sun 17-Feb-13 19:55:15

Hello all

My baby is 4 months old now, and we are muddling through ok I think (hope!). He is ebf, naps for about 3-3.5 hours broken into 3 naps during the day (always in his pram whether we are at home or out), goes to bed at 7 after playtime, bathtime and feed (we've had this loose routine since he was about 2 weeks old), and I put him down awake with a dummy, read him a story then leave him in his cot awake and go downstairs and he puts himself to sleep. So far, so ok (I hope!). When his dummy falls out, it doesn't wake him up and I try not to use it at night after the first falling asleep. We don't have any routine in the daytime other than I put him down to sleep approx 1.5-2.25 hours after he has woken up, depending on when he seems tired. And when we are out and about, he sleeps when he wants to. I feed on demand - anywhere between 2 to 4 hours between feeds.

We co-slept for the first 6 weeks then I got him into his co sleeper crib and he's been there since, going to bed on his own since about 8 weeks old. He was sleeping for 3/4 hour stretches then went to 5/6 hours until we hit about 13 weeks (15 corrected). Then for about 3 weeks he woke every hour - not a disaster as would wake, feed and go back to sleep within 5 mins. But very tiring as I am on my own, so no-one to help, and back working 2 days a week (due to being on my own). Luckily he went back to 3 hour wakeups a few weeks ago, but the last 3/4 nights has been doing 90 min-3hr stretches and screaming when he wakes up - he never normally cries at night, well, unless I leave him to get worked up, which I don't. I think his teeth are bothering him. I tried to not feed him a few times, when he woke up after an hour eg, but he just got so cross - then i feel like the worst mother in the world. Not very nice.

My mum bought me the baby whisperer book so I read that today - she basically says I have to get him in a 4 hourly routine (and stay at home for 2 weeks to do that - we go out every day for a lot of the day. I think I would go crackers staying in for 2 weeks) and stop feeding him at night or I am storing up longer term trouble for myself. She also writes in the second person and peppers the text with 'luv' which I hate, but anyway.

Sorry for the essay - basically my question is, is tracey hogg right? Do i need to take action now? I was hoping we could bimble along as we are and he would figure it out. I can hear on the monitor he has woken up already, so that's 50 mins first stretch tonight. Not good!

Would really appreciate any advice as this is getting quite hard now we are back to short stretches again. Well done if you got to the end of that lot!

Thanks so much.

PollyIndia Sun 17-Feb-13 19:55:55

When I say muddling through ok, I mean except for sleep of course!

OrchidFlakes Sun 17-Feb-13 21:28:21

Sounds like you have got along great on your own without the baby whisperer! It also sounds like you have hit the 4 month sleep regression.

Go with your instincts, you have a good amount of sleep established and ignore the book! I tried baby whisperer and turned a happy baby into one that cried! I stayed home 10 days and watched things get worse so left the house with DS napping bin his pram like he used to as went popped out to donate the book to oxfam. I haven't looked back.

I'm not saying his sleep is perfect, he never did a 3 he EASY, he naps for 30 mins every 2ish hrs and is happy for it. He'll sleep in his pram whilst out or at home. I also feed him to sleep at night or for day naps when it suits for him to be in the cot. Some nights he'll sleep for 90 mins and need resettling and some he'll sleep for hours. There is no pattern, nor reason. He is just a baby! wink

Save your sanity, ditch the book and run with it as you are

PollyIndia Mon 18-Feb-13 08:16:54

Thanks for replying. So do you think we will get out of this 90 minute waking naturally? It's really tiring!

noblegiraffe Mon 18-Feb-13 08:27:43

Yes, you'll get out of it naturally.
Bin the baby whisperer, sounds like you were doing fine without her. 4 hours would not have worked for my DS who was sick all the time and needed feeding little and often. Respond to your baby, who is an individual.

teacher123 Mon 18-Feb-13 08:36:41

Yes the 90 minute waking is what DS did when he was 4 months. With us it coincided with a horrendous tummy bug and a week away on holiday. I was so tired I thought I might actually die! I found that daytime routine has been much easier to enforce once they're on solids, then you can have a schedule. I bf on demand and until 6 months he fed every two hours AT LEAST during the day. I also found that with DS when he was ebf there was no way he'd sleep unless he'd just eaten so the EASY thing would never have worked for us. Now he's on solids he has about an hour between eating and going back to bed and he copes fine (wakes up starving though!) he's nearly 10mo. Sounds like you're doing an ace job, just keep going! And eat biscuits.

PollyIndia Mon 18-Feb-13 14:50:03

Thanks for your reassuring comments noblegiraffe and teacher123. No need to tell me to eat biscuits - am on daily chocolate AND cake rations! It's the only way through it I find. Good to hear that babies do get through this of their own volition. I hate the idea of these super strict rotines. As you say, babies are individuals.
We will carry on as we are and hope for the best smile

teacher123 Mon 18-Feb-13 17:02:20

I did impose a nap routine from about 4mo - basically one in the morning, one in the afternoon and had a bedtime routine in place by then. I also started giving a small bottle of formula at bedtime as a top up (sometimes he drank 4oz, sometimes spat it out and howled) and stopped feeding him to sleep at around this time. Things gradually improved, but I have no idea what made the biggest difference... Probably just time to be honest but I felt like at least I was trying something!

With regards to eating cake-you're not alone there, it should be given on prescription!!

Kelbells Mon 18-Feb-13 18:51:52

No advice but I could have written your post! 18wk old ebf on demand DS had put himself into a great routine, a few naps in the day, bed at 6.30pm, 5-6 hour stretches... Happy mum! We're now back to 1-2hourly waking for feeding and crying throughout the evening (which usually just needs a tap on the chest to get back off to sleep but is disruptive to him and us!).... I'm just riding it out... Presuming its the big 4 month growth spurt, sleep regression and keeping everything crossed that we come out the other side! Good luck Polly, I lurked on your pregnancy thread back in the day... You're doing awesomely gringrin

JennerOSity Mon 18-Feb-13 20:48:06

Hi Polly, I also followed your pregnancy thread, haven't posted on Mn for aaaages and have hardly even looked at it but have broken that to reply.

Everything you describe sounds a very excellent start and about as good as it gets at the 4 month mark so far so good. Sleep can be quite personal to each baby even with all the best efforts of the parent.

In my experience/opinion, following a prescribed regime is more likely to occupy greater head-space and be more emotionally exhausting for you

I don't think you can influence things tooooo far from where your baby will gravitate naturally anyway, unless you are doing unhelpful things like disrupting his pattern frequently, or inflicting bright lights or loud noises. Provided you are giving a calm and regular sleep opportunity the rest will follow.

My first baby now 2.7 would cry lots at bedtime (and all the time) and frequently in the night and was in own basket from day one, attended to immediately if he cried - he was sleeping through at 6mo as needed feeds at night until then. New baby now 4mo has co-slept from day one and rarely cries at bedtime, this weekend I stopped co-sleeping with her and she is now happily self-settling and sleeping in own bed.

They have been very different, but both sleep well and the differences in how I have been with them has been in response to their different and individual needs. I think they are the way they are, so long as you listen to baby and give them the framework they will get there.

As adults we don't all get hungry after the same amount of time, and our appetite can vary from day to day too - babies too vary, depending on body size, degree of activity, what is happening in their bodies (growing etc) what things we have been up to each day, if we feel asleep on last feed before we were full etc etc

I think trust yourself and you will feel happier with any 'mistakes' you might feel have been made - follow a book and you may find it harder to accept it, if you judge your actions to have been flawed (with hindsight).

The only other thing I would add is that in another 2 months or even one - this will be a distant memory and things will have changed (yet) again.

It is hard though when you need it to improve asap due to your circumstances. But there will always be sleep disruptions for some time yet -teething, nightmares, potty training.... it will keep cropping up in cycles. Your current situ is one of the disturbed sleep phases, it will go.... until the next one.

JennerOSity Mon 18-Feb-13 20:51:29

hahaha!!! Noblegiraffe said it - sooooo much more succinctly! grin

zoobaby Mon 18-Feb-13 21:14:22

My DS has been a great sleeper since he was brand new, but his sleep has absolutely gone to pot over the last couple of weeks. Blurgh.

I have this book called the wonder weeks and it describes a lot of these 'symptoms' as leading up to the 4th developmental leap, or wonder week 19, when baby is making a huge leap, much greater than preceding ones. Basically it says that his mind is so concentrated on learning and mastering skills that everything takes a back seat, including feeding and sleeping (he's hungry at night since his day was so exciting he forgot to eat plus he also can't sleep properly as the brain is having it's own party).

I'm just keeping the faith that he'll come through it as promised by the book. Yay... just in time for him to start working up to wonder week 26. smile

zoobaby Mon 18-Feb-13 21:14:37

My DS has been a great sleeper since he was brand new, but his sleep has absolutely gone to pot over the last couple of weeks. Blurgh.

I have this book called the wonder weeks and it describes a lot of these 'symptoms' as leading up to the 4th developmental leap, or wonder week 19, when baby is making a huge leap, much greater than preceding ones. Basically it says that his mind is so concentrated on learning and mastering skills that everything takes a back seat, including feeding and sleeping (he's hungry at night since his day was so exciting he forgot to eat plus he also can't sleep properly as the brain is having it's own party).

I'm just keeping the faith that he'll come through it as promised by the book. Yay... just in time for him to start working up to wonder week 26. smile

cooper44 Mon 18-Feb-13 22:11:42

Hi Polly - think you are in my birth club on another site - I think as others have said that you are already doing really well. I could almost write exactly the same post to the letter except I still co-sleep with DS2 only because it keeps me sane.
After a very taxing time with tricky DS1 that didn't sleep properly until a year I would definitely say stick with what you are doing as it sounds like he's doing really well and soon the sleep regression will pass. My friend was addicted to strict routines - she became almost demented with them and didn't enjoy her baby as a result. sad

PollyIndia Tue 19-Feb-13 22:20:08

Thanks all so much for your responses.
Cooper44, ha, yes that sounds right! I have the same username. I can see how being very strict about a routine could make you a bit mental. Zoo baby, I have the wonder weeks book too. It is great, though not the reason for this (though it does sound wonder weeky) as my baby is now 20 weeks corrected age. He was 2 weeks late.
JennerOsity, that's a lovely post, thanks. And you are right, and that's why it doesn't really matter about now as long as I am not doing everything so wrong that it's going to cause problems in the longer term. I really enjoy the extra cuddles (sometimes!) and I know I will look back and miss these times in years to come.
Kelsbels, hope your baby comes out soon too. Keep me posted. He is definitely doing better than he was, but still up every 2/3 hours. I will be starting solids in 6 weeks or so. Maybe that will help, maybe not! Funny little creatures, babies!

TheChaoGoesMu Tue 19-Feb-13 22:26:43

You've hit a big growth spurt unfortunately. Which means that your baby is going to feed a lot more for a week or two. I wouldn't bother with trying to enforce a routine, get through this, wait until weaning is established for a few months and then try. Fwiw both my dc only got into a decent sleep routine at 11 months, after the big growth spurts and dealing with weaning were a few months behind us.

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