Monday, October 18, 2010

Finally... An Update!

I am absolutely full of emotion these days. I haven’t written anything in a while, I know. I can’t seem to find the time in the day, and when I do I can’t seem to be bothered to pick up the computer. I’m tired which makes me that much more emotional. Here’s the thing. Evan’s sleeping hasn’t gotten any better. It all started after he hit the three month mark. In fact I think it started the day after I wrote about how we had hit our groove as mother and son and things seemed to be easier. That’s when he threw me the sleep curve ball. For the last 8 weeks Evan has been taking these short naps that last anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes. Once in a while he’ll sleep for an hour, but for the most part he’s only been taking these quick cat naps. When he wakes up he’s cranky and generally so am I because in that short amount of time I can’t seem to enjoy a nap myself or get anything done. It just makes for a long day. Then there’s the night sleep issue. He’s getting up as much as he did when we first brought him home from the hospital. My dear friend Kim actually sent me an article (see below) on sleep regression and it describes perfectly what’s going on with Evan. At least it’s ‘normal’ and not something I’m doing wrong. So here’s what’s happening, Evan is sleeping pretty well from 7pm to midnight or 1, but then he’s up every hour and a half until morning. It’s exhausting me. I don’t know what to do. I’m hoping he’s going to grow out of it soon. I’ve spoken to a few moms (one just this weekend actually) who have been through the same thing and for some of them this stage lasted for months. I’m preparing myself for the worst and hoping for the best. Of course it’s not like I’m miserable. Even though Evan’s sleep schedule isn’t what I would like it to be he is still the most wonderful baby in the world. Those times when he wakes up cranky I just need to feed him and then he’s happy once again. He’s smiling so much and he’s chatting up a storm. He’ll just sit there and talk and talk and talk. Sometimes he throws in a squeal like he’s telling a really great story. It warms my heart every time. It’s happened. I can say without a doubt that I love this baby more than I love myself. I would do absolutely anything for him and I know that is the way I’m going to feel for the rest of my life. If I’m truthful I can tell you that it took about 4 months for me to feel this way. Every mom bonds in a different way and at different times. With Evan I needed to see more of his personality before I could really connect with him and feel the kind of love I’m experiencing now. He’ll be 5 months tomorrow and his personality is shining through. It’s wild really, it amazes me how quickly he’s developing. The whole thing is such a trip; being a mom, watching this tiny human grow before my eyes… This is life. This is the ultimate life experience.

Enjoying a beautiful fall walk with my dad in Almonte...

Evan and I with my mom and dad...

My baby and my baby...

What a dude!

Sleep Article:

Countless parents come for help with their 4 month old’s sleep. Why? This article will explain why “good” sleepers sometimes turn “bad” around the 3 or 4 month old mark.

How newborn baby sleeps in the early weeks:

When a newborn falls asleep, she immediately goes into deep sleep (also known as REM sleep, but I will avoid too much technical talk because that’s one reason I made this website, so you won’t have to learn the whole history of sleep if you don’t want to (or can’t stay awake to!)). If you are interested in knowing more about our biological rhythms and how we do sleep in more detail, I highly recommend the book, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems). Newborns spend a lot of their time in deep sleep, which is why it is hard to wake them up (even to eat!) in those early days.
4 month old sleeps (and sometimes as early as 3 months or as late as 5 months)…

We all go in and out of light and deep sleep. As adults, we might change positions, look at the clock, or reposition our pillow. Up until now, you may have rocked your baby or simply given him a pacifier and he slept for hours without waking up. Well, at 3 or 4 months old, your baby is now sleeping more like an adult. Now when she falls asleep, instead of entering deep sleep, she enters lighter sleep, first. That’s why if you help her fall asleep, then put her down, she is likely to wake up because she isn’t in her deep sleep, yet.
4 month olds enter deep sleep…

Initially in the night, your 4 month old will enter deep sleep relatively quickly, within 30 minutes (this changes as we get older). However, as I said, we all cycle in and out of light and deep sleep. A child’s sleep cycle is about 45-50 minutes. So, your baby will briefly awake 45-50 minutes after she has been asleep. To put that in perspective, if you are holding your baby to sleep, you would need to hold her for at least 30 minutes to make sure she’s in deep sleep and then she might wake up 15 minutes later. Sound familiar? Overall, though, your baby’s deepest sleep is in the early part of the night, so after that first sleep cycle, she might sleep just fine for a few hours. So, you’re golden right? Just hold her for an hour? Nope!
4 month old sleeps the rest of the night…

The technical definition of “sleeping through the night” is 5 hours of continuous sleep (i.e. no feedings) and many babies can/will do this by 2 or 3 months old. The beginning of the night is your baby’s deepest sleep and after the first 5 hours (if not sooner, depending on just how challenging he is), he will cycle between light and deep sleep, but not as deep as the beginning of the night. This is where the problem of sleep associations really come into play. If your baby needs your help to go to sleep in the beginning of the night, sometime after midnight or so, he will continue to need your help every 1 or 2 sleep cycles (that means every 45 to 90 minutes or as I often hear, every 1-2 hours).

Between 4-6 a.m., approximately, is the lightest sleep of the whole night (parents’ complaints alone make this true, in my experience, aside from my reading). In the very early morning hours (about 30 minutes to an hour before waking up), he will again go into the very deep sleep.

Although babies commonly wake up early, be sure it is truly their waking up time and not just this lighter sleep and that they are having trouble sleeping. You might notice they want a “nap” just 30 or so minutes after “waking up”. What you experienced was a night waking, not starting the day.
4 month old sleep regression

You might have heard about the 4 month sleep regression and wonder if your baby will go back to sleeping well. Some parents will be one of the lucky few whose baby will go back to sleeping well in 2-4 weeks, however, not all of us will be that lucky. For example, I find that babies who need a pacifier to sleep where you are replacing it many times per night do not stop needing that pacifier to sleep. You might get lucky and not have to replace it 10 times (maybe “just” 3-4), but maybe not. It is usually better to solve the root of the problem than to hope you are one of the lucky ones. So, maybe wait a few weeks, but if things aren’t better, plan to make changes. I talk to parents of 8 month olds and even 20 months old who are still waiting for their “baby” to grow out of their sleep problems.

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