Feel so down - I'm getting everything wrong (4mo sleep regression)

(19 Posts)
MYA2016 Mon 30-May-16 21:54:31

I guess I just need a rant.
I'm now 6 - yes 6 - hideous weeks into the 4 month sleep regression. DS started early and is now 19 weeks.
He used to sleep through and then he started waking once, then twice, then 3 hourly, then 2 hourly. Every week gets worse.
I was exclusively breastfeeding and went away with family 2 weeks ago who all proceeded to tell me the reason he was waking was because the poor baby was absolutely starving and should be on rusks or weetabix.
obviously I know this isn't the case so managed to get through the week but was made to feel incredibly guilty.
I decided on Monday night last week to try him with a bottle of formula at bedtime, again down to being told that clearly my milk was just not enough for a growing boy.
I am now at breaking point. He is even worse than ever. He has his bottle at 7.30pm, will never take more than 3oz. (He's between 50-75th percentile so no weight issue). He goes down easily but wakes up within 20 mins, followed by every 30 mins after that till 11pm where I give him another 3oz (as much as he'll have) and then wake hourly after till 5am.
He is in our room and sleeps in a snuzpod attached to our bed. At 5am he then comes in bed with me and will dose off and on till 8am.
I am feeling so down. I feel like I'm doing everything wrong. Nobody from antenatal is having sleep issues and it was a huge thing for me to introduce formula but it has done absolutely nothing and if anything things are worse! Now I'm worrying that he's suffering with wind?
when he wakes between 7.30-11 I can easily rock him to sleep again. After midnight I end up breastfeeding every waking as he just won't settle.
I thought this regression would end sooner than 6 weeks and people keep saying it'll be over soon, but it just gets worse every single night!
Please can anyone offer anything encouraging to make me feel less shit? Do these regressions always get worse before they get better? Please help sad

CopperPot Mon 30-May-16 21:57:03

I breastfeed my 4 month old back to sleep. Why aren't you supposed to? confused milk contains stuff that makes them sleep! Easier than rocking IMO

CopperPot Mon 30-May-16 21:58:02

Oh and my 4mo has never slept through once, she wakes 3 times minimum since birth every night.
Sounds like you're doing fine, maybe stop the formula and just do what feels right for you and your baby not what others say

FATEdestiny Mon 30-May-16 22:03:06

Have you tried a dummy?

MYA2016 Mon 30-May-16 22:05:32

Yeah he used to take an dummy till he was about 7 weeks old, then he stopped wanting it. Now he goes hysterical if we try him with it.
Copperpot I do bf him back to sleep after midnight, he isn't hungry before that as he is easily rocked to sleep he just keeps waking

CopperPot Mon 30-May-16 22:09:01

Maybe he's got wind or reflux from the formula if he's new to it and lying down flat would make him wake lots.

lemon101 Mon 30-May-16 22:18:57

Oh luv - the 4 month sleep regression is awful! My ds decided to reject the dummy during this phase - but also cry hysterically for it and wake up every single hour. I literally thought I was losing my mind.
What I ended up doing (after trying everything else) was cry it out. This went against all my instincts and was the last thing I wanted to do - but I was desperate and we were both suffering - he was knackered. Long story short, it works. At first I went in and comforted him at regular intervals because I couldn't stand leaving him to cry - this does not work, all it did was teach him to cry longer so I would come in again. After 4 days I bit the bullet and let him just cry - we were all good by day 3. It's not perfect - occasionally there is a bit of night waking, but it has worked overall.
I read all the academic research into sleep training and it looks like there isn't any negative effect on stress for the baby (thankfully), so while you feel like an absolute bastard - rest assured it seems like it isn't so awful and you will end up actually getting some sleep.

Coconut0il Mon 30-May-16 22:19:08

You're not doing anything wrong MYA Some babies are just poor sleepers. My DS2 woke loads in the night, I always feed back to sleep, till very recently. He's 9 months now and finally seems to be sleeping ok. We still sometimes have one wake up about 3am but not always.
My advice is to do whatever it takes to get through this phase. If your DS has a better stretch earlier in the night, get to bed early. Take turns with your partner to get a few hours in. When DS2 was at his worst DP would take him downstairs about 5am and I would sleep till 7am. Nothing wrong with co sleeping if he will sleep better this way.
Don't worry about what others say, they are lucky to have good sleepers. Your DS will get there just do what you can to manage.

Feelingblue222 Mon 30-May-16 22:25:54

I sympathise! also in the midst of continuous 2 hourly waking after previously sleeping through. It's shit.

I'm trying to work on self settling so putting him down whilst sleepy but awake with a dummy and crossing fingers that he'll drift off-hoping this will give him the skills to settle himself at night eventually!

Last couple of nights have been better but still nowhere near old standArds.

I've also tried a bottle before bed but didn't help in the slightest so I'm going back to Ebf as can't be doing with the hassle of sterilising etc!

FurryWalls Tue 31-May-16 06:18:30

Oh god, OP. I could have written your post word for word.

My DS is four months and a shit sleeper. He wakes every two hours after midnight. I'm currently holding him to keep him asleep after BFing him back to sleep for the billionth time.

I've also tried formula. He, like your DS, will only take 3oz and I think it actually makes his sleep worse.

It appears we just have to ride this bollocks out. Hand hold, wine and cake and brew in the meantime.

Casablanca78 Tue 31-May-16 08:52:48

Another one here to hold your hand. DS is almost 4 months but sleep went to pot a while back too. He goes to bed brilliantly and will and settle. He goes to bed around 7.30 and will then wake anywhere from 10-12 and then it goes down hill. Sometimes he will do a 2hr (sometimes 3) stretch after that but then wakes hourly (or less) after about 3-4am. That's the point I usually give in and bring him in bed with me. I'm constantly knackered with being woken so many times in the night. If I get over 2 hours straight sleep it's a win. I have an older dd who I constantly feel guilty for as she's not getting the best of me (she was fab sleeper, was doing 7 hour stretches every night from 9 weeks). It's been going on for so long, I can't see a light at the end of the tunnel. We've also tried formula, even hungry baby one and it's made bugger all difference!!

LibertyBelles Tue 31-May-16 10:36:39

I'm so glad to find others in the same place, obv not for you but for me selfishly! I was starting to think I'd done something wrong with DD, sleep was improving although she's never been a good sleeper - we used to get a 4-5 hour stretch from 8.30 ish and then unsettled and restless for the rest of the night but now she's just impossible to settle all night. And she's fighting naps - I used to be able to rock her and then put her down in her cot and shed sleep for 30-45 mins or next to me and she'd sometimes do 2 hours with some easy resettling when she stirred after 45 mins. Now I'm so exhausted after getting her to nap for 30 mins that I can't be bothered to try and put her down for fear I'll wake her up!!!!

CeeCee00 Tue 31-May-16 10:57:25

I'm going through this too, my daughter is 20 weeks and stopped sleeping 'well' weeks ago. I've done a fair bit of reading about what it is/what you can do...from sleep training to co-sleeping. I lean more toward the attachment style stuff but this is what I gathered:

1) Newborn babies are sleepy. They just sleep and sleep well. I thought I had a great sleeper and didn't know what the fuss was about, then she hit 14 weeks and that stopped. Babies are meant to wake up.

2) All of this stuff about being 'good' or 'bad' sleepers are definitions we create. Babies really are meant to wake up.

3) I've decided after much guilt (imposed on me you other people) that there is nothing wrong with breastfeeding back to sleep. Every time if I want to. For me, it's the path of least resistance (crying).

4) Sleep training, crying it out...whatever... General opinion advises avoiding it before 6 months as they're too little to cope with it.

5) Do what ever you need to do though to stay sane. Don't let other people guilt or pressure you into something.

My personal advice is go back to EBF so you don't have to time feeds, sterilise etc, co-sleep if you're comfortable. Go to bed early as possible and get your partner to take the baby in the AM. Today I slept from 6.45 - 9 by myself when my husband had our daughter. The 2-3 hours I get early morning are keeping me sane.

Good luck

dinodiva Tue 31-May-16 12:40:02

I coslept my way through the regression, my EBF DD was feeding constantly in the night and I couldn't face the repetitive hour long wake ups waiting for her to be sound asleep so I could put her down without waking. It was hellish. Cosleeping at least meant I didn't have to stand up. I then did a bit of sleep training at around 6.5 months when I got fed up of cosleeping to get DD back in her cot and things improved vastly. I had a love/hate relationship with it - sometimes it was lovely and sometimes it was beyond irritating. Raging food poisoning with a cosleeping baby was the straw that broke it for me.
Just do what you need to to get through it, it's not fun but it doesn't last forever. wine

Zaurak Tue 31-May-16 12:42:11

You aren't doing anything wrong! Babies aren't machines, they are little people and they are all different. Ours is a lovely, bright, alert little guy but he Does Not Sleep.
We've tried everything. He still doesn't sleep. He's just a crap sleeper.

You'll get advice on here for things to try. Try them - hopefully one will work for you. But if it doesn't, your best bet is to accept tgats just the way it is and find coping strategies.
I'd get a doctor to check for stuff like reflux, just so you can rule out a physical cause.

Dh and I now do shifts - it means I'm at least getting up to two hours sleep a day. Nowhere near enough but I was going without sleep totally before, for days on end, and in avert dark place

It's really hard
You're not doing anything wrong
Some babies are just shit sleepers.

PotteringAlong Tue 31-May-16 12:45:05

You're not doing anything wrong. My DS 1 started as a great sleeper. Then the 4 month sleep regression hit, exactly as you describe. He didn't sleep for longer than 3 hours until he was 2.

Your body gets used to it, eventually they all sleep.

PotteringAlong Tue 31-May-16 12:49:14

If it's any consolation you never get 2 the same - ds2 was a sleeper grin

HeteronormativeHaybales Tue 31-May-16 12:53:50

Yyy to babies being meant to wake up. It's evolutionary. Too deep a sleep could lead to danger.
IMO a lot of your unhappiness is due (along with the tiredness, of course) to the way we (collectively) seem to turn baby sleep into some sort of good mothering contest. It's entirely possible that some of your AN group are struggling too but keeping it to themselves because of the sort of embarrassment you're (needlessly) feeling.
Your baby is waking a lot, but this is normal! I'd ditch the formula if it makes your life harder in other ways. And quite honestly I'd take the path of least resistance and just feed him to sleep each time. I've had 3 babies who were what is generally known as crap sleepers (aka normal-for-them sleepers) and my current one (8mo) very, very, very rarely sleeps unless in sling, arms or me right next to her - and even then a 'night' is 11/midnight to 7am and interrupted on average twice by feeding. It can be intensely frustrating but honestly, the best way is to probably take the path of least resistance and go with it. They do sleep through eventually, they do learn how to drop off by themselves, it just takes longer than many would have us believe.

Make sure you look after yourself to help you cope with it. Take him for walks in the sling, sit outside and have a coffee. Give him to dh to hold and have a bath. Eat good food and have treats.

mushforbrain Tue 31-May-16 20:13:12

My now 2.2 year old DD started her 4 month sleep regression early at 3 months. I was told 'don't worry it lasts 6 weeks max' To me 6 weeks sounded like an eternity. 3 months later it was still in full force, I'd turned to co sleeping but she would still wake every 30mins - 1hr ALL NIGHT. It was genuinely one of the lowest times of my life and sadly the sleep deprivation really affected the extent to which i enjoyed her. I tried everything I could think of, then did a lot of research, and when she got to 6 months did controlled crying. Barring illness, she has slept for 12-14 hours a night ever since. Her naps also increased in length immediately. I wasn't actually aiming for her 'sleeping through' when i started it, I would honestly have been happy just to get a 3 hour block. I totally understand some parents' dislike of controlled crying, but I was at rock bottom and just simply didn't feel I could go on existing on such broken sleep.

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