Macks is nearing four months old and we have started to enter the notorious four month sleep regression phase. While Macks has never been the best sleeper, he has always had his days and nights correct which has been helpful in getting some sleep at night. Right now his longest stretch of sleep at night is five hours, but lately we haven’t come anywhere close to that.
Sleep regression can be tough of both you and the baby, especially if you have other children in your household. While I would love to sleep when Macks sleeps during the day, my two little girls make that nearly impossible for that to happen. While the duration of the sleep regression phase is out of my control, there are some things that I can do to get through it. Here are some ways to take control during your little one’s sleep regression:
- Remind yourself this is only temporary. Every time that I get out of bed to feed Macks in the middle of the night I always remind myself that this is short-lived. The frequent wake ups won’t last forever. I might be tired and a little bit cranky at 2am, but I know that it is something that we will both get through and it will be over before I know it.
- Stimulate them during the day. I know that one of the many reasons Macks is waking up multiple times at night is because he is starting to really discover the world around him. He’s growing and learning new things which can build up an appetite. As he is eager to learn new things, I want to take advantage of that and help him exert that energy. I am playing a lot more with him. Doing more tummy time, getting on the floor and waving toys in front of him so that he can grab them. It helps let a little bit more energy out during the day so at night he is tired and ready for rest.
- Create a peaceful sleep environment. Macks is still sleeping in our room because it is easier for me to get up and get him when he wakes up multiple times during the night. When he wakes up in the middle of the night, I try not to turn on any lights or talk to him at all. I simply feed him and then put him back in his crib. By doing this I am hoping that it helps him learn that it’s time to sleep and it’s easier for him to fall back asleep.
- Look for sleep cues. I recently noticed that Macks has started to give hints when he is getting tired. He scratches his head and rubs his eyes. When he does this, I know that it’s time to try to get him down so that he can get adequate rest and won’t become overtired. Many times when he’s overtired, he will sleep even worse that night, so I want to make sure he does get some sleep during the day. When he gives me these cues, I’ll take him to a quiet room and rock him. Even if he doesn’t go to sleep, he does get some rest and quiet time to relax.
- Ask for help. Because I am exclusively nursing Macks, it’s impossible for my husband to get up in the middle of the night to help me. Waking him up would just make us both tired in the morning, so there is no reason for it when he physically can’t do anything to help. But although he can’t do anything in the middle of the night during those constant feedings, he is able to help me during the day when he gets home from work. If there is a day that I am especially feeling tired, I will hand Macks off to my husband when he gets home and take a 30 minute nap. Just 30 minutes can do wonders for my energy and my morale.