Picture the scene – you’ve gotten through the early weeks. Everything’s plain sailing and you’re actually doing things again in the evening. Maybe not quite a full social life again, but certainly the chance to have some supper, crash in front of the TV, catch up on mails etc. etc. The little fella is sleeping from 7-ish through to about 1 a.m. OK, not the full night, but not too bad. Suddenly, one evening, he’s up and screaming at you for ages and refuses to go to bed/sleep. And he’s feeding every couple of hours again. That evening with friends has to be cancelled, you’re at your wits’ end and close to tears.
What has happened?
This was the question I asked myself a few weeks back, when Sunshine suddenly did all of the above and screamed at us. He’d turned 4 months – was that significant? As with PURPLE Crying, there seemed to be a term for what we were going through. “4 month sleep regression”. There was a lot of stuff on the Net about it, from reading which, I was keen to start the blog to help others in a similar predicament!
It seems, according to the supporters of the regression theory, that around the 4-month mark, babies, who had previously been sleeping very, very deeply for several hours, start to become more like adults (or proper children). They keep waking up at night. Now, we do the same, every night, but we turn over and drift off again and instantly forget that we were awake. However, babies can’t do that and so they use the weapon in their armory – they cry. They need feeding to comfort themselves. Others say that it’s all a part of the development spurt which also takes place at the same time (try this: http://violet-sleepbabysleep.blogspot.de/2012/08/sleep-regression.html#.UZUrjMrmx8E).
To be honest, it seems to be a bit of both. Sunshine has, without doubt, made leaps and bounds in development recently. He’s reaching for things close to him, has begun to roll over, is looking around intently, can hold his head up without support. What does he need to make those changes? Well, food, obviously. He’s also getting cranky because he’s trying to make sense of this new stuff that he can see, hear and, moreover, do. His sleep pattern is turned on its head, he’s tired, it’s all getting too much…you know, the point where we would usually crawl into bed and pull the covers over our heads?
What can you do? Nothing. Just roll with it. Remember that you got through this stuff when bubba was small(er). You can do this again (and just picture life when they’re teething!) – it just requires a re-jig of priorities again. “This too shall pass!” In addition, on the other side of the whole episode, they can start to move their bodies rather than just uncoordinated stuff with their arms and legs. They are taking more interest in what is going on. This is what you want them to do, right?
Here at Sunshine HQ, Sunshine *seems* to have reverted to his old patterns. He’s started to drop off at 7-ish again (often with a bit of a blub beforehand…) and then sleeps for 7 or more hours. Indeed, two nights ago, he slept right the way through the night. But 7-8 hours is pretty good and as much as we adults generally need. Of course, you’re YEARS off having offspring who go to bed at the same time as you do, but 7-8 hours from, say 8 pm, is until 4 am.
For myself, I’ve developed a cold and was enjoying blissful sleep last night when His Majesty decided to start “singing” to himself at 5.15 a.m. That’s what we call the cute little noises he makes, and will no doubt make again when he’s sitting on the floor, pulling fluff out of the carpet, thrilled at his discovery. I think we’re out of the woods again though….