I wasn’t sure I wanted to share my experience with Thomas’s seemingly long and awful sleep regression because we didn’t really solve it, just managed to survive it! Plus what works for one baby may not work for another. After thinking it through I figured at the very least it will give other moms comfort in knowing that they’re not going through this alone. I know I felt like Thomas was the only baby in the world who wasn’t sleeping until I read stories from other moms going through the same thing. Even if the advice doesn’t solve anything, it still helps!
First off, I have to admit that I literally tried everything and was crazily looking up ways to get my sleep back (and his) every single day. Some nights I was nursing him while desperately typing into my phone at 3am questions about sleep regressions. It started almost exactly at four months when babies go through a big developmental stage, and he went from sleeping really well (6-7 hours straight) to getting up almost every hour. It’s especially tough because we felt like we just made it through the newborn period and now had to experience it all over again. Ahhh!!!
One of the first things I did was talk to my doctor, who basically just joted down notes about his sleep and said it’s something we just have to suffer through. He wasn’t getting teeth and he was physically fine so we just needed to maintain a good sleep routine and wait it out. Ummm…no! I need sleep to function and felt that google would have my answer. If the doctor wasn’t going to help, certainly google would, and it did in the way that it usually does: giving an overwhelming amount of advice from tons of different sources. Some saying to do this and then others saying to do the exact opposite.
We started with a common one, which was the cry it out method. After one 30 minute trial of that I’ll never, ever put him through that stress again. He was too young to know how to soothe himself and was so distraught afterwards that it took a lot longer to calm him down for sleep. We also tried different sleep times, different temperatures in his room, a swing and then eventually the crib (which he now successfully sleeps in full-time!), different types of white noise, different swaddles, some formula to fill him up more, solid food, then removing solid food, you name it. As I was getting more desperate I would try something else and it never worked.
One thing that did help was The Magic Merlin Sleep Suit, which helped him sleep to 3 or 4 hours straight most nights. That was a lifesaver and helped give us back some sanity. However we will eventually need to transition him out of that as well but it was still worth the purchase. Another problem for another day!
Anyways, I basically gave up and decided to stop stressing about it. To be honest I knew that this period of time wouldn’t last forever, and I kind of enjoy the time with him at night when it’s quiet. Seeing your baby fall asleep in your arms just never gets old. It seemed to be out my control anyways so I just went with the flow. He’s now a little over five months and (knock on wood) seems to be finally coming out of it. Last night he had a 7 hour stretch! The night before we had a 5 hour one. Plus surprisingly now he’ll get up, fuss a little bit and then fall back asleep. So I basically put myself through a tizzy for nothing. It was simply something we needed to suffer through.
Now that I’m more sane I think in the future I’ll just let him do his thing. If he needs to wake up and be soothed a bunch through the night, then there’s a reason for it. He won’t be 18 and nursing so I should cherish this special time. I heard there can be another sleep regression around 8 or 9 months so you know what? Bring it on. Gives me more time with my little babe. Plus who knows, maybe he won’t go through it. Not all babies do so maybe we’ll get lucky!
So all-in-all I want to let you mommas out there who are dealing with these little crazy non-sleepers know that you’re not the only one awake at the crack of dawn. There are others doing the same and wondering if it’ll ever end. My advice? Don’t stress, keep a good sleep routine (thanks doc) and wait it out. It won’t last forever, and as moms we have a special power to soothe our babies during this challenging time. So remember that you’re doing an amazing job, you’re offering comfort to your baby who’s going through a lot of growth right now, and one day it will end. And you’ll get some sleep. Promise!