4 Month Sleep Regression Survivors, Please HELP!

(24 Posts)
MissyMoo55 Sat 21-Sep-13 10:10:24

So we are now at 4 weeks of the 4 month sleep regression, all kicked off by a transatlantic trip to go see family back in the States in mid-August.

This has meant baby girl waking EVERY SINGLE HOUR all night long for 4 weeks. I am dying! So I have some questions for those of you who came out the other side of this regression hell, to give me some hope or guidance!

1) How long did your LO's 4 month sleep regression last?

2) Did you do anything different to help pull them out of it? Or just patiently wait for it to pass on its own?

3) Did any of the things you did to survive the awful sleep deprivation (ie returning to co-sleeping, extra feedings in the night etc) become problems for you after the regression or did baby go back to normal on their own?

I ask that last one because my DD will only go back to sleep by feeding, which is a ridiculous amount of feeding/suckling in the night (I BF) but otherwise she would just either scream or be awake for hours wanting to party.

Help a mama out! How did you survive this awful stage in your LO's sleep?

CityDweller Sat 21-Sep-13 11:37:26

Watching with interest. DD is just over 5months and we hit the regression around 3 mo sad. Catalysed by heat wave, then various bits of travelling. Oh how I long for those days when she slept for 9 hrs straight!

I've been gently helping her learn to self-settle the past 3 or so weeks, but yet to see any discernible improvement in night wakings.

I've read so many blogs and books about this and am coming to conclusion that while you can encourage LO to sleep better by providing the right environment (bedtime routine, etc) that they'll do it in their on sweet time. (Unless you do CC or CIO, neither of which I'm prepared to do yet)

Madonna1987 Sat 21-Sep-13 12:38:11

Hi... I have had same prob from around four minths. My dd slept 6-6 then wham! Now she wakes a lot when put down to bed - until around 7/8 some nights. We then dream feed at 10 and she can sleep until 5/6 but often wakes. We have found her being in her own room and dresm feeding a big help. She will go through the night more. We also tried a later bed time- to no avail... Co sleeping isnt ideal either as she is fidgety and our bed isnt all that big! Hope this helps some... Even if its just a message of empathy!! Xx

Madonna1987 Sat 21-Sep-13 12:42:58

Ps she is 5 minths now... So been about a month of it... Im finding tryin g to also just accept the lack of sleep as part and parcel of having a baby and it has helped. Before i would get so frustrated and anxious it would make my own sleeping worse. Accepting things has enavled me to chill out a bit more and im sure thus phase will pass smile xx ( as bloody soul destroying as it can be haha!) also the book 'the wonder weeks ' has helped too as it infotms you when and why to expect sleep probs... generally developmental phases xx

docsarah Sat 21-Sep-13 13:57:32

Touching wood furiously and crossing fingers but we seem to be emerging from the other side now at 27 weeks tomorrow. DD was a great sleeper until about 12-13 weeks. We had a brief respite around 20 weeks but then we were back to 2hr stints. The past week things have gotten massively better - we are now getting two long stints at night of around 5-6 hrs. This had coincided with her learning how to self settle and us starting solids, which she has taken to like a duck to water.

We loosely did as the No Cry Sleep Solution suggested - introduced a cast-iron bedtime routine and made sure she had good long naps during the day, even if that meant endless pram walking/slinging/driving. We made sure she always started the night in her cot but when it got bad I just brought her in with me and we coslept -this meant that when she grew out of the sleep regression all the good habits were in place. We also broke the feed-to-sleep association by using the pull-off technique to put her down drowsy -that took weeks but one night she just got it - I put her down awake after her bedtime feed and she wasn't grumbly at all, so I just sat with her and after 10 mins she just fell asleep. Whilst we we're following the NCSS, if we were having an especially bad night, I threw everything out and just did whatever it took to get everyone to sleep asap. We were quite fortunate in that DD was quick to settle - it was just that she needed settling a lot!

It wasn't until the past few weeks when I had the confidence to know that she wasn't waking out of hunger, so would cuddle her back to sleep rather than immediately offering boob or bottle - I know she could go happily for a few hours in the day without a feed so she can manage the same at night.

Having seen how quickly her sleep has improved this week I am convinced a lot of it is just developmental and they get there in their own time but bedtime routines/not feeding to sleep means that they have the tools they need to get there. It does pass but honestly when you are in the thick of it it is horrendous - the newborn days were a cakewalk compared to that!

EmmaLL25 Sat 21-Sep-13 18:37:06

Lots of these sleep regressions seem to be triggered by taking a trip. Ours was too.

Having read about everything going on this I think they get there in their own time.

We had a month of waking every hour too. It is getting better though. We have been extra vigilant about naps and I figure whatever way you can get them to nap go for it - everything harder when overtired. So using pram /sling for naps - usually 4 a day, 3 last 45 min and we get one of up to 90min.

We co-slept through worst of it, just wanted everyone to get through night rested. We still feed to sleep at night - had a spell of checking wee one just before I thought he'd wake (45 mins) and I'd ssshhh /pat if he stirred. Started getting 3/4 hr stretches that way. He'll maybe then do another two hours or maybe just one. I'm feeding back to sleepy - easiest and quickest. We usually end up co-sleeping from
3am.

We tried pick up/put down for one night - he just cried hysterically but other people have success.

Tomorrow I'm going to try convert the cot into a co sleeper. I figure that way it's easy to feed in night, he can get used to being

EmmaLL25 Sat 21-Sep-13 18:38:55

Lots of these sleep regressions seem to be triggered by taking a trip. Ours was too.

Having read about everything going on this I think they get there in their own time.

We had a month of waking every hour too. It is getting better though. We have been extra vigilant about naps and I figure whatever way you can get them to nap go for it - everything harder when overtired. So using pram /sling for naps - usually 4 a day, 3 last 45 min and we get one of up to 90min.

We co-slept through worst of it, just wanted everyone to get through night rested. We still feed to sleep at night - had a spell of checking wee one just before I thought he'd wake (45 mins) and I'd ssshhh /pat if he stirred. Started getting 3/4 hr stretches that way. He'll maybe then do another two hours or maybe just one. I'm feeding back to sleepy - easiest and quickest. We usually end up co-sleeping from
3am.

We tried pick up/put down for one night - he just cried hysterically but other people have success.

Tomorrow I'm going to try convert the cot into a co sleeper. I figure that way it's easy to feed in night, he can get used to being in there and I can try settle in night without feeding. I'm hoping that way he'll start learning to self -settle and at a later date we can do gradual retreat.

So yes it gets slowly better and probably of its own accord to be honest.

EmmaLL25 Sat 21-Sep-13 18:39:39

Sorry for double posting, feeding and typing at same time!

MissyMoo55 Sat 21-Sep-13 18:43:49

Thanks for the support ladies!

Emma, that sounds exactly like my DD! We thought "maybe she has a bad feed to sleep association" as I was feeding her last thing in her bedtime routine (putting her down awake but drowsy straight from the feed) So I spent 5 nights trying to separate the 2 by reading books after the feed then putting her in her co-sleeper to self settle.

The "experts" said it should get better by 5 nights and it was OK to let a 4 month old cry for 20 mins and that wasn't "crying it out". So Hubby made me promise to stick to it for 5 nights. DD didn't let up at all! Screamed bloody murder every single second of those 20 minutes I let it go on all 5 nights. I just don't think she is ready to self soothe yet, unfortunately. She is way ahead in all her milestones, but with this one she is seriously behind and I think I just need to accept that she will get there when she gets there.

I guess I mostly just wanted some peace of mind that all these "steps back" so to speak (like LOTS of night time feeding/holding/co-sleeping etc) wouldn't set a new pattern and that she might just convert back when the time comes.

FINGERS CROSSED for all of us!

AndMiffyWentToSleep Sat 21-Sep-13 18:46:09

I did all the 'rod for your own back' things - bf on demand through the night, co-slept when 'necessary', fed to sleep. At 11months DS slept through for the first time Nd now falls asleep in his cot.
We did try nightweaning (with crying - first night the worst but not horrendous although DP had to do it as I just couldn't )but that was much older than yours is and just to break a particularly bad wake-up habit after illness, once he'd already been sleeping through for months.
So it does pass and you'll get through any 'bad hsbits' you use to get through the short term!

MissyMoo55 Sun 22-Sep-13 11:34:58

Well after all this talk yesterday she randomly slept a million times better last night! Only 3 wakings instead of 10+ and stayed in her co-sleeper/cot the whole night rather than having to be pulled into my bed.

Probably a one-off but I feel so much better getting a few 2/3 hour stretches! Trying not to get my hopes up about tonight though

Another one here whose LO started sleeping terribly after a trip away. We are 5 week in (hes now 21 weeks) and last night was the worst night yet, with DS being awake from 1am - 5am. Nothing worked, feeding, cosleeping (which we do for part of the night most nights), shh pat, rocking. His arms and legs were pumping wildly and he was just wired! Eventually at 5am I propped myself and my arms up with pillows and held him, and he fell asleep until 9am in my arms. This is obviously not a solution though as I can't sleep sitting up (and its pretty unsafe as well)

Losing the plot here! We have a consistent bedtime routing and until a few nights ago he was going down easily until we dream fed about 10, which wold see us through til 1is when the madness started. The past 4 nights he has been a struggle to get down, then is waking at 9.30pm so I feel like I don't have any time off at all.

I really hope this will just pass as I'm at the stage of questioning everything I'm doing and I'm started to have trouble functioning (also have 4yo DD so need to be up doing the school run).

Looking back, it was at this stage that I quit BF with DD as I was convinced she wasn't getting enough. With hindsight I realise this probably isn't true, and I do want to carry on BF but its so tempting to try and 'fill him up' with formula. He does have a ff at bedtime though and it make no difference, so I realise this isn't a cure all!

Sorry for hijack OP, I feel your pain and I really hope some of the tips work for you and that we all by some sleep soon!

Cnix Sun 22-Sep-13 16:45:04

I had a hideous time around 4/5 months with my little girl. I am sure most people whose LO's suffer from sleep regression are breastfed to sleep- from what I read on here it seems to be the case. I think babies who can naturally self settle don't suffer nearly so much.

We did whatever we could so that we could get more sleep eg co- sleeping, feeding back to sleep until she was old enough in my opinion (6 months) for some sleep training. Which IMHO made everything better. She still didn't sleep through until she was totally night weaned though at 8 months.

Hang in there it will get better. I think they all get there eventually on their own it just depends if you can put up with it for that long.

CityDweller Mon 23-Sep-13 08:25:10

What sleep training did you do at 5 mo Cnix?

CityDweller Mon 23-Sep-13 08:25:45

Sorry - meant 6 mo, not 5

MissyMoo55 Mon 23-Sep-13 11:37:29

So last night was back to the awful sleeping, no turning a corner for us yet unfortunately.

But now she has been asleep for her first nap for over 2 hours already! Why can't she do this at night instead? Uhgg, so frustrating

CityDweller Mon 23-Sep-13 13:25:15

Missy mine too had a night or two of improved sleep a few weeks ago, then it went crap again. Funnily enough, we started getting 2hr daytime naps around the same time - although totally erratically, so some days she'll nap for 2 hrs at lunchtime, some days it'll be back to 45 mins. So - once again I'm beginning to think this is all developmental and I'm putting all this effort (and stress) in for no reason. I'm about two nights away from going back to feeding to sleep at bedtime, I think - it just seems to pointless forcing the issue on DD when perhaps she just isn't ready. Although, hard to know if it's that she isn't ready or if it's just that she's into habits she doesn't want to break.

Also had some progress with self-settling, before that seemed to go tits up too and she now seems to get really upset at bedtime (could be overtiredness, or her missing being fed to sleep). Who knows!

rungichungi Tue 24-Sep-13 13:47:43

Just to give you some hope, our son started getting better at about 6 months (I.e. down to just two wakings a night woo-hoo) and we did some gentle sleep training at 7 months which worked a treat. It was as though he needed a prompt to encourage him to sleep better. Funnily enough, I'm still as knackered as ever!

MissyMoo55 Tue 24-Sep-13 15:21:29

rungichungi, did you do anything special to get him back down to 2 wakings? (which funnily enough would be HEAVEN right now lol) And how long was the regression total for you then? 2 months or did he start somewhere in his 4th month?

CityDweller, I know how you feel, all this stress and obsession and it seems like it will end when it ends, no matter what we do! I tried 5 nights of having her go down with 20 minutes between feeding and bedtime and she screamed bloody murder every night, didn't get better at all over the week. I just went back to what works then, as she obviously isn't ready to self settle sad

rungichungi Tue 24-Sep-13 20:39:06

MissyMoo, we didn't do anything to get him down to two wakings at six months, he just stopped needing so much milk at night. He actually woke up three times a night ... but one was at about ten just before our bedtime so I kindof forget that (othertimes were about one then three-ish). He started his four month sleep regression at just over three month and at it's worst he was walking up every hour. So lots of sympathy... it sucks. But it does get better.

The one thing that REALLY helped was my DP being 'on duty' after the three o'clock feed. I put my ear plugs in and a mask to give total blackout and four hours unbroken sleep. He then (tried) to feed our DS with the bottle when he woke up at about six-ish.

Our son's now nine months and sleeping through the night... just to give you all some hope!

Cnix Wed 25-Sep-13 19:53:26

We did a bit of cc. It took only a couple if nights before we noticed a real difference and it really wasn't as horrendous as I was expecting.

ecofreckle Wed 25-Sep-13 23:57:39

Ours started at four months and is still going eight weeks later. We are now making effort to put down awake and are trying pick up put down but it's only day two of that. WOrryingly ours didn't start with a trip but we have a transatlantic one in five days. Oh my. This might get worse before it gets better. good luck your end.

Pipistrellina Thu 26-Sep-13 12:13:22

So glad to hear others are suffering this and that this will probably resolve itself! Here i was thinking maybe it was me, or the dummy. It hurts to go from having a great sleeper to a rubbish one: my DS suddenly went from sleeping 7-7 with only a late-evening dreamfeed and a 4am breastfeed, so being all over the place. My poor two year old has suddenly got a grumpy, erratic dragon for a mother.

But I wanted to add that during the last month we've gently taught the 5 month old to self-settle (no CC or CIO) for both daytime naps and bedtime and he can do it beautifully (most of the time!). And yet it has made zero difference overnight. Seems like it's all developmental...

EmmaLL25 Thu 26-Sep-13 18:07:26

2 and a half hour nap and counting! Albeit in pram on go whole time, but I'll take that. There is hope.

Sleep begets sleep yes? Here's hoping for a good night!!

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