Last Sunday I hit a wall with parenting, Rob was away on a night out with the boys, I had been up every hour with Zachary from 9pm, and by the morning I was contacting a friend for a recommendation of a sleep fairy to call.
Zachary had been a dream until he turned 4 months old, the perfect newborn that would sleep through the night and give me snuggles all day. What more could I ask for, and it certainly didn’t feel like the stereotypical newborn stage.
Our comeuppance came when he turned 4 months old and he started going through the famous 4 months sleep regression. Unfortunately for us, this sleep regression period didn’t end, in fact it got progressively worse. One month of terrible nights became four months and as a result, two very unhappy sleep deprived parents.
At one stage he would be awake from 9pm until midnight and then awake on the hour from 2 am. It was insane! I have never experienced tiredness like this and it just feels relentless. We also have a toddler that is a very early riser in the morning and wakes for the day anytime between 4- 5.30am and will not go back to sleep! This makes the morning a very early start for me! 😩
We had difficult time for the first 6 months with Darcey, but by 8 months, (Zachary’s age now), she knew how to self settle herself to sleep and was pretty much sleeping through the night, something that Zachary struggles to do.
I was desperate for a solution to Zacharys sleep problems last weekend I knew something had to change.
Monday night came, Zachary waking at his usual time around 10.30pm, Rob gave him his milk and settled him back to sleep. Zachary woke again at 2.30am making some noise, now, ordinarily I would have leaped out of bed and picked him up out of his cot, before he woke up Darcey, (as their rooms are next to one another), I decided to try a different tactic; Zachary wasn’t crying, he was whinging and rolling around, therefore, I watched him on the video monitor for a while, desperately hoping that he would self settle and go back to sleep, and he did. I fell back asleep, and he woke almost every hour making similar noises, movements and at 5.30am when his lungs really got going, I knew he was actually awake and I needed to tend to him.
I was on a mission now to crack this sleeping, the next two days, I became strict with his routine, I made sure his routine ran like clockwork, I had no distractions since Darcey was at preschool and I could focus on Zachary rather than him having to work around her schedule. He had his meals, milk and nap times all planned out and at the same time each day and it definitely seems to helped with his sleeping pattern. he was having his milk at the right times,During the night times I found that he would still wake up for his usual bottle around 10.30pm and waking at 2am ish, and he would self settle himself took the same approach and what I have found is that he is still waking, but had a much better week in terms of self settling back to sleep, perhaps we have turned a corner, perhaps not, but I am feeling hopeful, since it’s been 3 great nights of sleep with only one get up before midnight. 🤞
I was getting stressed out with the nights, because Z would start to whinge and cry in his cot, I would race to him, pick him up because I didn’t want him to wake his sister, who is a light sleeper and I know that one baby awake in the night is so much better than two, and that D struggles to go back to sleep in the night once she’s awake. As a result of me taking him out of his cot to soother him, he then became reliant on my comfort, and he wasn’t hungry, he didn’t want milk.
Now what I am suggesting may sound like a simple solution – leaving him and not going into his room to pick him up, but when I realised he wasn’t wanting milk in the night, it became apparent he just wanted comfort from me.
The next four nights followed a similar pattern, but with less whinging in the night, and he self settled himself back to sleep. I thought, we are well on the way to cracking this.
Last night, I had to go in his room as he was very restless around 2am, I took him downstairs to settle him and he was very uncomfortable, and since the morning it’s become apparent he was constipated so that’s a reason for him being awake and comfortable. If there is a reason, it’s easier to comprehend why they are not sleeping in the night.
The biggest plus is that he hasn’t woken Darcey up in the night which is one of the main reasons I would go to him so quickly.
We still have some things to work on:-
• Self settling in his daytime naps and also at bedtime during the evening.
We are only a week into this, things are looking promising for better nights sleep, but we have a way to go.
I’d be interested in hearing from other parents who are having difficulty with their babies sleeping?
•What did you find that helps?
• Have you used a sleep trainer and what is your experience?
Best of luck with your babies sleeping!