By: Becka Robinson
That’s right folks, this is the story of how our son started sleeping through the night. And then stopped. And then started again and stuck with it. Sleep and the lack of it that comes along with having a new baby is a hot topic. There is no one right way to teach your baby how to sleep. This is the very true, very unscientific way we regained our sanity and started getting more than 4 hours of sleep a night…
Our son has been a pretty good sleeper always. As much as a newborn can be a good sleeper. For the first weeks we were up with him at one hour and two hour intervals around the clock. At around 3 months, magically, he started to sleep for 5 and 6 hour chunks of time all on his own. Cue the hallelujah chorus! We reveled in our consecutive sleep. And then… like a cruel, cruel joke from the sleep gods, our son stopped sleeping through the night at exactly 4-months-old.
Naturally, I turned to the internet and begged google for the answers. And I got them. In the form of a dirty little phrase known as "4 month sleep regression". Did you know that this was a thing? Because no one told me this was a thing. I learned that sometimes babies will just randomly stop sleeping through the night at 4 months. The experts think it has something to do with sleep cycles and growth spurts but no one knows for sure. Message boards were filled with stories about babies who continued sleep regressing until almost a year old.
HOLD THE PHONE
There was no way I was going to continue waking up every 2 hours at night for the rest of my son’s first year of life. We tried to wait it out but after 2 months of waking up every 2 hours we were at the end of our rope. We asked everyone we knew with kids, we read sleep training books, we scoured the internet, we asked our friends on Facebook, and we talked to our pediatrician. Advice and tips were all across the board. One person said "do this". Another said, "No, don’t ever do that." It was like a puzzle but no one had the big picture on the front of the box to show us which way to go. If you have gone through this with your baby or are currently going through this let me tell you, there is hope! Also, I feel your pain.
What we learned from the experience was that there is no one right way. And as parents you’ve got to take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt. You’ve got to decide what you want for your family and then make the best decisions you can. For us, that meant that we went with our instincts and combined a lot of the advice we got and did a bit of trial and error until something worked. If you’re curious… the combination that worked for us was…
- Increasing the number of ounces of formula he had during the day so we could decrease his night feedings (this was advice from our pediatrician)
- Adding some scoops of powdered rice formula to his bottles in the evening to help fill him up (this was advice from a bunch of moms and grandmas)
- Introducing fruits and veggies as solids (this was our own gut instincts)
- Watering down the bottles we gave him when he woke up in the middle of the night. (this was a tip from our pediatrician that sounded so strange to us but worked like a magic charm in just three nights)
- Putting him to bed a bit earlier. (this was a tip from the sleep training books)
He is now sleeping (knock on wood) about 12 hours every night and has been for almost 3 months now. We’re so happy to have our nights back to ourselves and he’s happier since he’s so well rested. It’s a happy house nowadays. I hope that by sharing this story some of you might find an answer that works for you and your family. And please know that I am, in no way, saying that this is the only right way or that everyone should follow these tips. You’ve gotta find what works for you. So to all you sleep deprived mamas out there, keep your chins up! Trust your gut and you’ll find your way.