4 month sleep regression support group

(213 Posts)
crazychemist Fri 05-Mar-21 13:53:56

Hi All,

Anyone want to join me for mutual handholding through 4 month sleep regression?

I’ve got twin boys, and am finding it quite tough at the moment. Long naps are completely a thing of the past, 45 mins tops. Waking every 2 hours at night. Classic 4 month sleep regression stuff.

I’m doing my best to get the majority of naps in their (our) room with swaddle, white noise, as dark as I can get it. They aren’t really self settling at the moment - I’ve been giving them a dummy because otherwise they disturb each other before they nod off. They also have a feed very close to going to sleep to get them nice and drowsy, but there’s at least a 5 minute gap between feed and sleep except at bedtime (which is mayhem due to overtiredness).

How are you finding it? What have you tried so far?

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Etherealhedgehog Fri 05-Mar-21 15:43:47

Hi! Right there with you! How long has it been for you? We're on eight weeks and counting. We seem to have three different, but I'm sure related issues - she tends to wake up one or more times within an hour or so of being put down (never used to happen) - sometimes we can get her back down with some shhhing but other times it has to be more boob. More night wake ups (happy now if her longest stretch is 3.5 hrs, it used to be 8 confused), and the mornings are a total shitshow - generally there is a last wake-up feed between 3.30 and 5am after which she will sleep on the boob but CANNOT be put down without waking up, not even to co-sleep beside me on the bed. If she wakes up around this time she is AWAKE.

Naps have always been crap unfortunately - on me or on the move and rarely longer than 35 mins, so not much of a change there.

To be honest so far it's mostly been survival mode and trying to avoid feeding her at every single wake up (mostly failing). Currently using the Huckleberry app wake windows to try and maximize nap time as I'm sure overtiredness is an issue - we do sometimes now get a longer nap, which is good. On the downside, there have been days we've taken her out in the pram for first nap at 7am sad, or the crazy early mornings tend to mess things up.

Medium term aim is to somehow stop feeding her to sleep as I suspect that is the root of our woes now - planning to try a habit stacking method from a Millie Poppins webinar recommended by another Mumsnetter, but first trying to establish some kind of feeding schedule so she's actually hungry enough to eat before her bath at 6pm...

Tried popping her off the boob and putting her down drowsy but that was...screamy. And we don't have the stomach for that amount of crying quite yet. How did you get that five mins gap between feed and sleep - did they just kind of figure it out?

God, it all feels like a lot doesn't it. I was really hoping things would improve pre-weaning as it feels like too much to think about both at the same time, but I suspect that's not gonna happen...

Good luck (and hand hold) tonight!

crazychemist Sat 06-Mar-21 16:00:03

It’s our 2nd week since they stopped proper naps, but it feels like a lot longer!

Wow, 8 hours at night! Mine have never managed more than 3, so not much change in their night sleep! But I used to be able to get stuff done in their naps and have time with my eldest (she’s 4), and I really miss that!

I’ve been trying to stretch mine to do longer awake times as they are MUCH shorter than typical for their age - it’s a real challenge to get them to be awake for 90 mins or longer, but then they aren’t tired enough for a long nap. Then they’re too tired to stay awake... and so it goes on.

I did get one twin to do a decent lunchtime nap by feeding him back off to sleep when he woke. Almost impossible to get both resettled thought and nothing works but feeding them right now.

The 5 minute gap was achieved by giving them a dummy after their feed and sticking a projector on so they could watch the lights moving while they were nice and drowsy. Then I can take the dummy out when they are doing nice long blinks and they doze off if I stroke their noses (for a while I did that while feeding them to sleep to form the association). We do the whole white noise/black out blinds/swaddle to try and get as many positive associations as possible. I’m open to anything that helps them sleep!

I have never managed drowsy but awake with any of my children. I’ve always done the last feed lying down until my eldest was MUCH older and was better at sleep. Is your daughter your first child?

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Tubbytele Sat 06-Mar-21 19:39:10

Glad to come across this. My 5 month old DS is waking up within the hour during naps and night time. It's very rare for a few weeks now if we get a stretch of a few hours in the night. I do think he is also teething, hasn't learned to fully roll yet but is always trying when he's on his playmat so all of this maybe contributing to his development and maybe the cause of regular wakings. He sleeps well if in my arms and I get him to sleep either by nursing him or bouncing on the exercise ball, and then transfer him to the cot for all naps and bedtime. It's so exhausting waking up hourly but thank God for DH working from home who takes him for a few hours when I'm sleep deprived. Oh look, DS is awake at his regular 35 minute mark! sad

Etherealhedgehog Sat 06-Mar-21 20:48:02

@crazychemist - good to hear that drowsy but awake also seems out of reach for others! Yep, she is my first. Big respect for surviving this with twins, especially with an older one to look after - impossible to imagine how that would work from where I'm standing, but I feel like the main take-home lesson of baby sleep is all things are possible!

I can imagine you're really missing the time in the day. I miss it and I haven't yet had it (and don't have anyone else to look after!). I strongly suspect it will materialise just as my DP takes over shared parental leave envy - we'll be starting weaning soon and I have no idea when I'm supposed to prepare all this baby food. In our precious evening time I guess.

We're also using white noise, sadly had to ditch the swaddle at 8 weeks when it started to wind her up too much, I can't be bothered to put black out blinds in as we're in a rental, hopefully short term, but I suspect they wouldn't make much difference for naps atm. Considering introducing some kind of comforter but there seems to be SO much contradictory advice regarding what's safe when.

The 8 hours feels like such a distant memory now! I'm kind of bracing myself for it not to return until she's at least a year old. Was so sweet for a few glorious days though!

Etherealhedgehog Sat 06-Mar-21 21:06:01

@tubbytele - hi! This all sounds horribly familiar. DD is REALLY into rolling atm and a few times we've been woken up by her screeching because she'd got onto her front and couldn't get back (which is weird, as she has been able to do front to back for a while but only just two days ago realised that she could connect the two.... On the plus side, she seems to have started sometimes rolling on to her side when I put her down, which I think she finds soothing, so hopefully it will be worth it?!

And yep, DP takes her from about 6am so I can get an hour or so of lie-in and it is the only thing keeping me sane right now!

crazychemist Wed 10-Mar-21 15:08:51

@Tubbytele welcome! 35 minute naps are such a killer. One of my twins will only do longer in the pram, but the other will only do it in bed if fed back to sleep, so I can’t keep them in sync at all! I feel like I’m constantly getting someone down or getting someone up, so poor DD is seriously attention deprived!

@Etherealhedgehog my big weaning tip - ask DH to take out the baby for an hour. Get veggies in the steamer (if you don’t have one, get one... you’ll need it over the next year, and if you have another child it’s even more invaluable) and fruit/sweet potato etc boiling on the stove. You can get pre-chopped veggies and it’s TOTALLY worth it. The fruit will be done first - mine LOVED pears, you just boil them straight out of the can. Pop it in the blender and then the mush goes into an ice cube tray (own about 8 of these!). By the time you’ve done that and rinsed your blender, the steamed veggies will be done - they get blended and into trays as well. Then your sweet potatoes/carrots/other hard veg will be done and ready to blend. In one hour you can get 8 ice cube trays done. That plus mashed banana will get you through the first month. You just defrost one cube when you want it, and thin with breast milk or formula to the right consistency depending on what your baby is managing.

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notetaker Wed 10-Mar-21 15:59:05

Us too! DS will be 16 weeks on Friday and sleep has been all over the place for the past couple of weeks. Used to sleep beautifully in the pram, now won’t last more than half an hour. Even worse if I try to put him down in the crib. He’ll manage a longer nap on me if I keep hold of his little flailing arms 😂
Night times vary, up a couple of times to feed but he thrashes around loads every couple of hours. We also don’t get ‘awake but drowsy’ - he goes straight from smiling to screaming to sleeping most of the time!

The main difficulty for me is that he often doesn’t seem satisfied with a short nap and we end up with lots of tears (his and mine) until the next nap, which becomes a battle because he’s overtired already.

I’m dreading restrictions easing over the next couple of months - our friends and family can’t wait to meet DS but I don’t feel like I can take him anywhere or have people over while his sleep is so disrupted 😫

Sorry for the whinge. I had no idea it’d be this tough!

Etherealhedgehog Wed 10-Mar-21 17:10:08

@crazychemist this is such a good tip - thanks so much. I was envisaging doing approximately this but spread out over many cooking sessions but you're totally right, getting it all done in an hour is the way forward. Steamer and ice cube trays are the last on my list of things to buy for weaning (oh, and a high chair!) Gonna get on it and then try and do this in the next couple of weeks so then we can just start no stress (well, minimal stress!)

Etherealhedgehog Wed 10-Mar-21 17:22:18

@notetaker I know what you mean about seeing people. Last week I got really obsessed with wake windows in the quest for the elusive longer pram nap and turned down a couple of offers to go for walks with other mums as a result - and most naps were 35 mins anyway. This week I'm trying to be a bit more flexible because I figure this isn't going away super soon and seeing people keeps me sane! But hopefully they'll all be doing better before the opportunity to do much more socialising arrives (please!!!)

By way of a small glimmer of hope - when DD was 16 weeks she wouldn't nap on me at all and every single pram nap was exactly 35 mins. Now (23 weeks) she takes one longer nap most days - usually on me, sometimes in the pram, very occasionally she'll do it twice. Ok, it's not the cot napping of my dreams but it does make it gradually easier to get her enough sleep in the day - which feels like progress! Hopefully you'll see the same thing (and hopefully a bit sooner than we did!)

notetaker Wed 10-Mar-21 21:19:41

@Etherealhedgehog Oh bless you, hope you’re managing to see some people this week? (Although the weather here so far this week has been pretty grim...)

To be honest, I only try putting him down in the crib because I feel like that’s what I should be doing. I don’t mind him napping on me too much but I’d love him to do longer stretches in the pram, those daily walks are getting me through at the moment!

Glad you feel like you’re making progress - it sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job ☺️

Alwaystired99 Thu 11-Mar-21 05:27:27

Hi, 18 weeks today and after an amazing few months of long naps and 8 hour sleeps at night we're now back to 2am waking and refusing to be put back down after a feed. The naps are a thing of the past most of the time. I'm exhausted and surviving on sugar. My son never slept through until 18 months so hopefully I'm not about to have a repeat of that.

ChocFondant Thu 11-Mar-21 09:44:51

Hi all,

Glad to have found this thread! The last few weeks have been so tiring! There with many of you with the 45 minute naps. All day naps are now on me so I'm currently sat thinking whether I can manage some bran flakes while holding a sleeping baby.

We've managed to introduce a dream feed at 11 instead of her waking at 1am so the last few weeks haven't been all bad - small wins are great at this point!

ChocFondant Thu 11-Mar-21 09:46:48

Also, @crazychemist your weaning tip sounds great! Have been thinking about weaning as it's only a few weeks to go and this sounds like a sensible way to make things more manageable

Etherealhedgehog Thu 11-Mar-21 11:44:20

@notetaker seeing a school friend with babies tomorrow and wake windows be damned! Can't wait smile Btw, inspired by suggestion on another thread I have just bought a Snooze Shade to try and make pram naps longer (used with a portable white noise machine). So far it does not do that...but she does go to sleep faster so I am holding out hope it might eventually help her to connect sleep cycles a bit more often. And I suspect will be essential once I switch her to the buggy, when I worry she'll be far too busy looking at stuff to sleep blush

@ChocFondant feel your pain - the other day I decided to have breakfast after the boob nap, as me eating tends to disturb her, so inevitably she had her once in a blue moon 2 hr nap and I didn't get to eat til gone 11. Hope you get fed! (On the plus side, I did get to work my way through the rest of Poldark Season 5 - at least all these boob naps have been good for progress through my Netflix queue wink)

Etherealhedgehog Thu 11-Mar-21 11:49:55

@Alwaystired99 - with you on the sugar. We survived the newborn period almost entirely on Dairy Milk and Minstrels and after a break of a few weeks while she was sleeping well, I am right back there. Thank god for chocolate

notetaker Thu 11-Mar-21 22:46:17

Yes @Etherealhedgehog I’m excited for you, let us know how you get on!?

Welcome to the gang @Alwaystired99 and @ChocFondant ☺️ hope everyone gets some rest tonight!

Alwaystired99 Fri 12-Mar-21 17:24:35

Well I feel like a total fraud now as she slept from her late feed at 1130pm to 7am! I'm not going to expect the same again tonight though as she'll probably be back to shouting at me for milk every few hours.l and refusing to be put down. Good luck everyone, the witching hour has already started for us.

BerthaYoung Sun 14-Mar-21 14:38:23

Can I join? I have been doing SO much Googling... DD is 17 weeks, and sleep patterns changed about 4 weeks ago when her 5/6/occasionally 7 hour stretch became 3 max, and in the last couple of weeks she’s been waking hourly 😖 Naps are also always 30 mins now unless I prolong it with more boob. I swing wildly between ‘it’s developmental, hang in there’ and ‘I have broken my baby by feeding her to sleep and we are doomed, never to sleep again’. Needless to say I have been eating a LOT of chocolate.

CreosoteQueen Mon 15-Mar-21 08:06:16

Sign me up. My baby has gone from sleeping 10pm to 7am without waking to waking every 45 minutes. Haven’t tried anything yet so definitely going to consider suggestions! The exhaustion is unreal, like being right back in the newborn days.

crazychemist Mon 15-Mar-21 15:04:48

@BerthaYoung @CreosoteQueen eeek, those wake ups sound gruelling! Mine are still mostly every 2 hours with the odd extra one in between, particularly for one twin (always been the worse sleeper). What’s really getting me at the moment is that I used to be able to keep them 15 minutes out of sync with each other so that I could feed one, feed the other and then have an hour and a half unbroken. Now they seem to be more easily roused they keep ending up in sync, which is chaotic.... very hard keeping one quiet while I feed the other, and my 4yo is a light sleeper.

Most sleep experts insist that “self-settling” is crucial, i.e. that they how to go back to sleep independently if they do wake up. I’m no expert, but I found it easier with my eldest to work on naps first - I didn’t have the mental strength to change anything at night when I was sleep deprived! With my twins now, I aim to get them to sleep for their naps without feeding them or getting too involved, and it’s been working very well. If they wake early I feed them back to sleep to let their bodies get used to the routine of a long lunch time nap. It’s been working well so far - they take very little effort to settle for the nap now, it takes less than a minute, and resettling them after 45 mins takes about 5-10 minutes. I’ll work on night time once we’ve got naps working well.

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BerthaYoung Mon 15-Mar-21 16:12:58

@crazychemist Sounds like you’re smashing it! I can only imagine how much harder this is with twins 🤯 We’re starting to dabble in the going to sleep independently thing. Well, trying. It hasn’t happened yet... What did you do to encourage it, and how long did it take? Helpful to know you worked on naps first. I’m having a go at the first nap of the day but she just lies there in the cot awake and writhing, then grizzles and I pat, shhh etc, and then starts shouting for help so I pick her up. This can go on for an hour before I give up and feed to sleep. It feels mean to keep putting her back down when she’s made her feelings so clear 😬

crazychemist Mon 15-Mar-21 19:10:00

@BerthaYoung how long it takes depends a lot on your baby! It’s been a different journey with all 3 of mine (which surprised me, as the twins are identical so I thought they’d be really similar for something biological like sleep!). It also depends on how comfortable you are with crying.... I’m really really not, I can’t bear it and will always opt for the gentlest approach, even if it takes MUCH longer - I fed my eldest to sleep at bedtime till she was 2 and a half because it worked really well for us - she would sleep anywhere and was hugely flexible on timings because she had such a strong sleep association for feeding. Yes, that meant I always had to do the last bit of bedtime, but it also meant bedtime was quick and painless while many of my friends were struggling with teething, regressions, general toddlerness....

Would you be prepared for her to sleep somewhere other than the cot for a few weeks? With mine, they have all started out napping in my bed - I get them swaddled, white noise on and nice dark room (stacking up those associations), then initially I fed them to sleep lying next to them and stroking down their noses to encourage their eyes to close. Two days later I stop feeding just before they fall asleep but keep up the nose stroking - mixed success with mine, with my DD I’d have to have several goes at this, one twin it usually took 2 goes and the other had it straight from the off. Stop feeding earlier as soon as they get used to this. I didn’t want any crying or grizzling at all, so it took aaaaaaaaaaages to do this with my DD and mostly I preferred to just take her out in the pram. My twins have got the hang of it really quickly and I don’t feed them for nap time (started this about 3 weeks ago, my mum put them down for me today and was amazed that she just tucked them up and they immediately closed their eyes for sleep!) If you want to speed it up and don’t mind using a dummy, that seems to work - that’s how I’ve done it with my twins - feed one while the other has a dummy and keep swapping when one nearly falls asleep.

Patting and shushing never ever worked for me. But nose stroking did. I guess you just have to find the trick that works for your baby? But I really think it helps if you don’t remove the old sleep association until they’ve got used to the new one, otherwise how do they know they are supposed to go to sleep when you pat them? They haven’t read the manual grin.

Your baby is YOUR baby. With your first, it’s easy to think you’re doing something right/wrong because of how yours sleeps compared to other people’s. Smug mummies who are convinced their excellent parenting is why their kid sleeps through..... nah, it’s just biology. All 3 of mine are different.

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crazychemist Mon 15-Mar-21 19:12:24

@Etherealhedgehog one of the joys of breastfeeding is being able to eat what you want. You wouldn’t BELIEVE how many chocolate biscuits I can get away with now I’m feeding twins grin

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BerthaYoung Tue 16-Mar-21 09:41:25

@crazychemist Thank you so much for typing all this out - it’s incredibly helpful practically, and reassuring, and makes so much sense to me. You’re so right - of course DD is confused when I stick her in the cot, it doesn’t (yet) mean anything to her...! We do quite often feed and nap her on my bed, so your method would work well for us. She completely gets that it’s feed-to-sleep time and will close her eyes quickly. I just need to figure out when to unlatch, before she falls asleep. She’s quite happy to keep sucking while she zzzs! I’m with you on avoiding crying if possible - it only makes me stesssd, which isn’t going to help her feel safe and sleepy. And it’s fine for this to take a while - it’s not like we’re going anywhere...! We’re also in a bit of a pattern of reverse cycling at the moment - she’ll feed every time she wakes up overnight (most hours...) for at least 10 mins, but will only take 2 or 3 mins at a time in the day unless it’s baptine, so I don’t want to cut down those feeds too fast.

How are the nights for you at the moment? Hope those lovely twins aren’t keeping you too busy! ☺️

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