Why didn’t anyone warn me about baby growth spurts? I’m not talking about the physical growth spurts that manifest themselves as more frequent eating and sleeping. I’m talking about the mental development ones that turn your happy little sunshine into the Little Miss Complain-A-Lot overnight (yes, we actually call her that).
Birdy has just begun the 4th mental leap a.k.a. four month sleep regression a.k.a. hell. And although we already have already survived the first three mental development spurts this one is a whole new ball game. If the previous ones lasted only a few days this one is the first of the long ones, we’re talking a few weeks here. And if the previous just meant a more fussy, clingy baby (not easy, but manageable) this one affects sleep as well.
As Birdy is moving from baby sleep to grown-up sleep, i.e., is starting to have sleep cycles instead of immediately entering deep sleep, everything from daytime naps to nighttime rest is being disrupted in the process. I can imagine that entering deep sleep can be scary if you’ve never experienced it before. Even us adults sometimes jerk awake from the sensation of feeling that sometimes accompanies it! The result of is an unhappy, fussy, crying baby. And, babies being babies, the more tired she gets the more difficult it is to fall asleep.
This is how our sleeping routine worked until last week:
- feed breast Nr.1
- diaper, put on pajamas & swaddle
- feed breast Nr.2
- put sleepy baby in bed
- sing a lullaby
- turn on white noise and the night lights
- close the door
- peace ensues.
And this is how it went Saturday night:
- Do steps one through eight (see above)
- 10 min later return to the bedroom to calm down the fussy baby
- 30 min later, when calming down has failed and the baby cries hysterically, give up and use the ultimate pacifier: the breast
- put the baby back in bed, sing a lullaby, and leave the room hoping for better results
- return 5 min later to calm down the baby who is again screaming her head off
- when all methods fail (again) and baby cannot be calmed down, give breast once more
- put the extremely tired baby back in bed and stay with her, calming her down as she falls asleep only to jerk out of sleep (again, and again, and again…)
- leave the room hoping that this time the baby’s properly asleep
- 10 min later return to the room because the baby is awake and crying again
- Try singing, talking, cuddling, and everything else than might possibly work to calm the baby with no results
- 2,5 h after original bedtime admit surrender and get into bed to breastfeed the baby to sleep
I keep reminding myself that this too shall pass. Unfortunately patience has never been my forte. My only consolation is that, if her mommy has a breakdown and runs away from home, Birdy will still have her daddy who’s a bottomless well of patience.