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4 month sleep-how?! Am I expecting too much??

(8 Posts)
CountryMouseCityMouse Sun 22-Oct-17 21:24:34

Hi everyone! Baby turns 4 months next week & really struggling with sleep patterns & very sleep deprived as a result! I have no family help so need to try my best to get her sleep under control so I can be more awake (if possible- maybe I’m expecting too much!) I’m a FTM so don’t know what to expect of her.

Until a few weeks ago she went to bed with us around 10pm after napping downstairs from around 8pm. She slept through until 5.30am when she woke for a feed and then slept again until 8/9. She would also nap during the day as and when she was tired- being held, in her chair, being pushed in the buggy, essentially wherever we happened to be.

Over the last few weeks her sleeping has been suffering. She sleeps around 7 downstairs then wakes around 10/11 when we take her upstairs & usually wants a feed followed by a long window of refusing sleep. She wakes again at 2-3 for a feed which can go on for an hour, then again at 5 for a feed. At 7 she then wakes for the day typically & if I try to leave her in her cot/cuddle her back to sleep after a feed she’ll kick and squirm and try to sit up as she clearly doesn’t want more sleep.

Daytime sleep is also an issue. She resists sleep & will only sleep if she is carried around/jiggled on someone’s lap. She sleeps usually for 30 minutes but often less. I aim to try to get her to sleep every 2-3 hours but this doesn’t always work although she is in a noticeably better mood when she does! She’ll usually start waking every 10 minutes and will only continue to sleep if I happen to be sitting next to her to hold her hand when she starts to rouse. Some days she is awake from 7am right through until 4/5pm despite me trying everything & at the end of the day she is in an awful mood & typically crying until I do manage to finally settle her. She now won’t sleep unless she is in the house with nothing on tv to distract her/no new people to watch & if we are out shopping she won’t sleep as she’s too busy watching people. This means if I am out she just doesn’t sleep & becomes increasingly grumpy to the point where she continuously cries from tiredness for the entire duration of the trip until I get her home & get her to sleep. Does everyone end up only going out during the 2 hour window when their babies have finished a nap and are in a good rested mood?! Surely there’s a trick I’m missing somewhere as it’s making things impossible!

We already play white noise all night & during naps. We’ve got those sleep teddies that are meant to improve sleep & give out soothing light. We have black out blinds so she shouldn’t be able to tell when it’s daytime when in the bedroom. She sleeps in a crib in our bedroom & seems happy enough- she had a baby positioner which we removed a few weeks ago after the cot death scare although her sleep had already declined before we got rid of it so that’s not to blame.

I’ve read that her age group should be able to sleep for 8 hours overnight & have read very contrasting views as to how much/how often she should be daytime napping. I need to sort out her daytime issues so I don’t end up with a hysterical baby every time we go out for more than 2 hours! Would really appreciate any tips/if I’m doing anything I could change to improve our daytime. Night time I can manage but spending every day we are out with her overtired & hysterical is getting very tiring! Thanks! Sorry for the essay!

MrBloomsLeftVeg Sun 22-Oct-17 21:27:18

Ignore the books. No baby is textbook.
Apart from that, best of luck to you. I've got a 6 year old who is yet to manage 8 hours overnight.

FresasAndFrambuesas Sun 22-Oct-17 21:29:38

Google 4 month sleep regression, it's totally normal for sleep to go to pot at this age.

EgremontRusset Sun 22-Oct-17 21:37:14

For the naps I mostly go out during that two hour window. DS (5 months) will sleep in a moving car so that helps a bit, as does a Snoozeshade for his pram plus white noise playing on my phone with the phone in his pram - like that I can usually get him asleep if I’m walking alone somewhere quiet. So I can plan a long quiet walk to wherever I’m going, then get 1.5 hours at the other end before repeating in the other direction for the next nap.

HopeAndJoy16 Sun 22-Oct-17 21:39:12

I think there's a sleep regression at 4months, mine went from sleeping 2-3 hour blocks to erratic wakings. Most nights I get 2 hours max now, and she's 6months old! So I have zero advice about that I'm afraid!
I wonder if 2-3 hours awake time is too much so your LO is overtired? At that age we worked out we had to religiously start the nap routine every 1 hr 15 to 1 hr 30, otherwise she would be horrible and just cry and cry. What worked for us was to wrap her up tight in a blanket, pop a dummy in, and sssh her. Either in a bouncer or in the pram. She never took a dummy before 14ish weeks but works really well now. She's now extending her awake time to 2-2.5 hour stretches, even though I'd prefer more regular naps. Oh and she usually only naps for 30-40 mins, but that's just the way she is. She's never done long naps sad
Hope she starts sleeping for you soon!

FATEdestiny Sun 22-Oct-17 21:51:23

Does everyone end up only going out during the 2 hour window when their babies have finished a nap and are in a good rested mood?

Yes. Except a 1 hour window. Welcome to Parenthood! grin

I would aim for 60 minutes awake time, certainly no longer than 90 minutes. If it takes you a while to get baby to sleep then I'd start settling baby to sleep 1h after waking, in the hope that baby is asleep within 60-90 minutes of waking.

For getting to sleep:
● introduce a dummy
● utilise the bouncy chair

Remove any play arch or toys from the bouncer. Sit it at your feet as you sit in the sofa and be utterly relentless about non stop rhythmic bouncing. Start 1h after waking (having had a feed in the awake time) and just keep going until baby is asleep.

Dummy helps a million times. Babies are naturally soothed by sucking, so worth perservering with at sleep times.

crazycatlady5 Mon 23-Oct-17 10:01:12

Totally normal I’m afraid and it does get better (until the 8 month regression confused)

CountryMouseCityMouse Mon 23-Oct-17 23:06:59

Thanks everyone! I think I’ve massively been underestimating how much daytime sleep she needs & if she doesn’t settle then letting her stay awake blush she had her 16 week vaccines today so could be due to that but we started off the day after a surprisingly good night- went to bed at 11pm after a war trying to get her to sleep & she only woke once at 4am for a feed. She then slept until 10am!

So we went for the vaccines at 12 (awful!) but she fell asleep in the car on the way home & woke up around 1 for a bottle. I then insisted she slept at 3pm by plugging a dummy in, jiggling her in my arms and shhhing her until she slept. Took a while but it worked! She slept for over an hour! We then went a bit off track because we went out but she napped when we got home again at 7pm because she just won’t sleep in the buggy- too busy staring at everything. She refuses to be in a bassinet because that obstructs her viewing potential. Her mood was noticeably better today despite the vaccines & I suspect it’s because she’s not got overtired and into a viscous circle of being overtired and fighting sleep as a result.

So all in all good day! Thanks everyone for the tips/messages of support. Now to work on nighttime...last night was a fluke I suspect but one can dream that tonight will be the same! grin

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