Sleep Regression. Or Why Is This Happening to Me?!?
Ever since our return from California (sorry I haven’t finished those posts ye!), Ben has been sleeping terribly! Part of it is my fault. While we were away, I tried everything to get him to sleep sans rocking chair/sound machine/full routine, but he wasn’t having it. Babies are strange that way: they know when they’re not at home. In any case, I ended up nursing him to sleep most nights and he often ended up in bed with us after midnight. All the different locations also messed with his schedule. And now I am paying. Big time. The little man went from 2 2-3 naps a day to nothing like overnight!
In a desperate attempt to understand what the frak is happening, I, like most sane* mothers, turned to google. Most of the time, googling leads to danger and misdirection, but this time, I stumbled upon a site that has been super useful. Enter Troublesome Tots. Googling “sleep regression” led me here and it’s been an interesting read. I guess around 4 months, babies go through this sleep regression which is caused by a couple of things: lots and lots of leaps and bounds in development and also in some cases, teething. The hallmarks of this craptastic time are short naps, which the author Alexis calls “your nemesis” and changes in night sleep. As I’ve mentioned here before, Ben has been an awesome sleeper for a while so this change has really thrown me for a loop. Now he sleeps for maybe 30 minutes at nap time and wakes up for like 2 hours in the middle of the night.
So what is a tired mama to do?? Well, Alexis recommends napping short nappers in a swing. Ben has always taken really good naps when I’m wearing him. I guess he likes the movement. So napping him in a swing is supposed to help with the movement issue while still allowing him to learn how to fall asleep on his own. Which brings me to her next piece of advice. Since the beginning, I’ve been really good about putting Ben to bed when he’s drowsy but not yet asleep. As I said above, this went out the window in California. Oops. Now, I have to re-teach him this skill if I want him to fall asleep and stay asleep. He’s starting to learn object permanence and it’s important that when he wakes up, things are as they were went he went to sleep. She also says it’s a good idea to break the paci habit so one is not constantly walking back in to put the paci back. (We currently do this). I’ve also implemented a strict bedtime routine: boob, bath, book, boob til he’s drowsy, and down. Sometimes it works and he’ll fall asleep like a champ, other times not so much and it will take 30-60 minutes to get him to sleep. I’m not into CIO, but I do let him fuss a bit.
Is it working? Not really. He’s been taking swing naps about 4 times a day (every two hours) when we’re lucky. It, however, takes us longer to get him to sleep than he actually is asleep. Some nights he’ll wake up at 2:30 and be UP. For 2 hours. That sucks. Yesterday was both good and bad. He hardly napped all day, then he took a three hour nap in the afternoon. But then he woke up. All. Night. Long. He’s also teething and apparently lying down causes their gums pain (according to the LLL). I feel bad for him because he’s constantly exhausted. So am I. But on the upside, we went for a great run this morning!
Wish us luck, hopefully this crappy sleep cycle ends soon!