3 months with Bea

Bea’s 3 month milestone has been and gone, and again so much has changed in a few short weeks. I write these posts for my own records but also as I imagine many of you will identify with the changes and perhaps have advice or stories you want to share, so please do pitch in in the comments box below.

This last month has been bittersweet for the first time. As Bea gets older she becomes so much more alert and more fun. Her smiles are consistent now and the beam I get in the mornings or when I get her up after a nap makes my heart burst. A few people have commented about the way she looks at me, describing it as ‘adoration’ and when she was younger I didn’t really get it, thinking she couldn’t love me back but recently it’s like there really is a bond between us, from her side too.

The bittersweet part is that already I see her stopping doing little things that she has grown out of. She used to make an ‘O’ with her mouth, almost a pucker, which I called ‘kissy lips’ and caused me to cover her in kisses, which she doesn’t do now. Her grasp reflex is gone and that gorgeous back arch and bum out thing babies do when you pick them up from deep sleep is so very rare now. However, now she holds my finger out of free will, calls out for my attention and seems to notice the whole world instead of things close to her. Sounds startle her and she looks to them, she follows me with her gaze out of the room and notices when I come back in, and has officially found her voice. Several times a day she really gets going with shouts and ahh’s and ooohh conversations which are so much fun.

Her sleep at night is still great and she has slept through every night since the beginning of last month, but other difficulties have emerged. Now she sucks her thumb to sooth herself, the car seat is becoming enemy #1 as she can’t get her arm round the wide infant straps to get her thumb into her mouth, leading me after a long journey in the back or the car with my finger in her mouth and other times when I was driving and couldn’t loan a finger, to resort to a dummy.

We seem to be floundering a bit with naps too at times… we had long episodes of crying around the 8-10 weeks mark in the day before she would nap and I realised fairly quickly I was totally missing her sleep cues, so she became overtired and couldn’t sleep. Once I got them and got her down* as soon as she showed signs of tiredness, everything got better and she would sleep within minutes. (*When I say get her down, she falls asleep in my arms 9 times out of 10, apart from the odd occasion I have put her down and turned back round to find her asleep, which never works when I purposely try it.) I used advice from the EASY routine to help me get to this point and she was sleeping for roughly an hour, after around an hours awake time, 4 times a day. More recently however things aren’t going as well, with her not sleeping until about 1.5hours after she last woke up and then she often wakes around 30-40 minutes into the nap but then seems ready for another short one soon after. I feel that we should be moving towards condensing these catnaps into a longer morning nap and 2 afternoon naps but I don’t know how to extend her nap times. I also know she is capable of putting herself to sleep if caught at the right point but can’t reliably put her down to sleep* by herself at all. (*With the exception of after her dream feed at night, when she goes to sleep herself as soon as the light goes out, if she wakes at all.)

Half of me thinks does it matter while she is small? and how sad I’ll be when she doesn’t fall asleep in my arms, but the other half is so frustrated at pacing the floor trying to get her off when she’s clearly over tired and my back is aching after a long day without Pete, that I wish we could improve things. Her napping is also the only time I have to get things done and I’ve realised those precious minutes make me feel so much better able to handle her when she’s awake too.

It’s a minor niggle though when she really is still the best. thing. ever. We go swimming to a baby swim class once a week and have started doing a mum and baby post-natal yoga class so we have classes 3 days a week now. The days we don’t can be hard, as they coincide with Pete being gone until 7 or 8pm – a very long time on an unsettled day, but they also let me get house jobs done and see friends or just do nothing. Which sometimes, is just what you need to do.

Have you got any advice on getting a good nap routine going with your little one? I was recommended the Ferber book, but at this stage I can’t justify letting her cry for even short periods or mentally square it with my personal comfort zone. What do you think readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

34 thoughts on “3 months with Bea

  1. I’ve read that even if you are comfortable with cry it out (for the record, we’re not, but everyone has their own feelings on it which is totally fine), you shouldn’t even attempt it before six months – they’re just too wee. I’ve heard good things about Elizabeth Pantley’s books on sleep, which might be worth a try.

    Sleep is definitely our main thing – still nowhere near sleeping through, and naps are really unpredictable. She often just wants to be held and will wake up when I put her down, or worse, wants to be fed to sleep and then refuses to give me my boob back. Fun times! But then I need to keep reminding myself that by her adjusted age, she’s still very much a newborn, so it’s silly to expect anything different. I think we’re going to wait until after the 4-month sleep regression before doing any kind of hardcore structured sleep training (the no-cry kind).

    Wonder Weeks has also made me feel.so much better too. She has been much more clingy and disrupted the last week or so, and I was at my wit’s end until I realised it was her 8-week leap and she will hopefully just come out of it naturally. If I know there’s an end in sight, anything is easier to cope with!

    Sorry for the essay! Bea is adorable and I am loving her outfits. You’re doing a great job xx

  2. Bea is super cute!
    I can relate to everything you say. Nap routines are sooooo hard and we still haven’t got it sorted at 5 months. G will nap in the swing or if we are out and about in the pram or sling, but these naps are much shorter (20-30 mins instead of 1-1.5 hrs). Like you I really value nap time -whether it’s to get the washing up done and a load of laundry or if we’ve had a bad night just sit with a cup of tea.
    Night time sleep wise we had a really good sleeper until 17 weeks, when he started waking every 1.5 hrs. It lasted about a week and was utterly exhausting but after that slept through from 11-7! We thought we had it cracked but the last 8 nights have again had frequent waking sand we’ve ended up co sleeping a number of times because like Bea, he likes a finger to suck! He refuses a dummy and can’t keep his own thumb in. I have no idea what did it. He’s meant to be in a “sunny period according to wonder weeks”. I have suspected teething intermittently since about 12 weeks but nothing really to show for it. Or maybe it was the cabbage I ate. I am sure this like everything else will pass, and then maybe I’ll have the energy to try and get him napping in the cot!
    All my mum friends with older babies have had to sleep train at some point but I still think he’s too young at the moment.
    Another essay, but hard to comment on sleep in a short paragraph!!!

    • Bea tends to nap really well if we are out and about – she will sleep for 1-2 hours if we’re not he move in the pram or car seat, or even in the sling. The problem with that is it doesn’t give me any free time and I’m not often moving around steadily for that length of time!

      I’m starting to dread this 4 month sleep regression everyone talks about!

      • I wouldn’t worry about four month sleep regression. It might not happen. It didn’t for us, but then again we had little to regress from. In fact he still had a night feed until six months old when I started weaning him. Nap wise, he always napped well at 9am for 45 mins but it wasn’t until four and a half/five months that we cracked it. I would take him for walks in the pram so he could sleep in there until that point-I think that ‘set’ his body clock a bit. I always made sure he napped at least once a day in his cot (normally the 9am nap) and gradually increased the amount of times I put him down in the cot. We got there eventually-I loosely followed the time frame in the contented little baby books, but little else from those. It’s such a fine line between following a routine as a guideline and becoming rigid with it. I am sure you are doing a great job and Bea looks a very happy and well cared for child! Take happiness from that and until she naps herself-plod those pavements!

  3. Everyone I speak to with babies of a similar age (mine’s now 4 months) seem to say the same thing about napping, however good the night sleeping is. Even now I’m better at spotting the sleep cues we often end up fighting to get him down and he’ll only nap for a maximum of 40 minutes. Unless he’s in my stretchy wrap that is, then he can nap for as much as 2 hours and I have my hands free but I’m worried that that’s getting into bad habits… Friends with older babies have said they didn’t get into a predicable napping routine until about 7 months so I’m just trying to be patient and keep doing what works for us now.

  4. My baby girl is 4 months and we aren’t in a routine with naps at all! She used to be great at sleeping through the night but that stopped around 3 weeks ago and she now wants 2 feeds per night. The dreaded 4 month sleep regression! My son is 2 and I remember having everything so together at this age. He had a great routine using the EASY routine but maybe because I am chasing around after him I can’t seem to get Zara into the same pattern. Seeing so many of my mama friends try and force routines I’ve been very relaxed about these things this time around.

  5. Oh god, the blessed 4 month sleep regression hit us hard….at 3.5 months which didn’t seem fair! We’d had such a good month or so too, Urgh! And naps have regressed too. It’s a daily battle to get a series of cat naps unless he’s in the pushchair and I’m walking him round for 2 hours at a time…but that slays me for the inevitable wakeful night!
    I was so stressed when it first started to happen but now I hold onto the fact that he’s still young & that time should hopefully iron things out…not Easy to maintain at the umpteenth feed of the night.
    If anyone could tell me where the off button is, please let me know!!

  6. Ava is 20 months and we only now have a good routine (well I tell a lie, we have for a couple of months), so I have no advice to offer.

    I just wanted to say Bea is super cute. Well done in getting out and about so much too.

  7. if she is sleeping well at night then I would just be happy with that! I found after weaning at 6 months we naturally found a routine, before that naps just happened whenever.
    not a fan of sleep training, it’s a developmental thing and some babies are ready from being tiny others won’t fall asleep alone until well into childhood. the most important thing is to give security and love which I don’t believe you can offer if teaching that cries won’t be responded to.

    • Not sure if my writing wasn’t clear enough, but I have no intention of trying CIO right now or other sleep training! She’s far too tiny and it slays me when she is upset – she is so rarely upset that I never assume she is just crying for cryings sake.

      That said, I do think naps are important and my motivation for improving them isn’t purely selfish. I notice a big difference in Bea when she has slept properly in the day (hence why I’m not just happy that she sleeps at night,) and if she is overtired it can be really upsetting trying to get her to settle.

  8. With the benefit of hindsight…. Keep going Rebecca. It wasn’t until 6months that Alice slept longer than 45 mins. I made sure that she had at least one nap a day in her crib & always had the later one either fed to sleep or pram push, ok jobs don’t get done but you give your self brain & emotion space. Alice could be lulled to sleep by the shower or electric breast pump so I’d use those for a nap in the crib sometimes.
    You’re doing brilliantly xx

    • Ps. I think I found the 3 month time the hardest. They’re sort of out of the 4th trimester/new born phase but still oh so so young to be in a regular rhythm.

    • Thanks Rachel, it’s good to know things may improve in future re length of naps. It’s always hard to know if things will get better in future because they are developmentally more mature, or if you’re setting up bad habits for the future, (although I don’t believe in bad habits really at this age…)

  9. She is so little and it changes so fast, learning to read the cues will definitely help and she will even out into her own routine. With regard to self settling, and I have a 6 month old, my husband and I agreed we would do gentle pantley style work from 3 months and now she is 6 months we are going to a sleep school. It’s true my baby doesn’t sleep all night but she is the happiest delight in the day so I don’t worry too much. They do say no training until 6 months as it can break that wonderful bond you have!

  10. it’s such a comfort to read this & the comments. It’s all so familar! Ruby is 16 weeks & her sleep has changed so much… Shorter naps, unless in pram or being held, and at night waking every 1-2 hours!! I thought it was cos she’ll only go to sleep by rocking/feeding and that now she can’t self soothe thru the sleep cycles, but it’s good to hear that hopefully she’ll just grow out of it. She’s waking super early in the morning too, I’ve been up since 4:30am with her as she’s not interested in going back to sleep. Worst thing is I am trying to work too as self employed, so totally shattered!! We’ll all get thru it though I’m sure!! Bea is a beauty Rebecca x x

  11. If she is waking at the 40 minute point, she’s rousing after one sleep cycle and not managing to get herself off again. You could try gently stirring her at 30 mins (stroke her face) then pat her bum/ssshhhh her off again – that should send her off in to her next sleep cycle and keep her asleep a bit longer. That’s the theory anyway…..

    As she approaches the 14-16 week mark you may find her sleep changes again – they like to keep you on your toes! The no cry sleep solution and babycalm are great books – as well as Dr Sears for reassurance.

  12. And for those worried about having to ‘train’ their babies to night time sleep, or that they are creating bad habits, don’t. I fed T to sleep, rocked him to sleep, responded as soon as he cried, let him nap on me, never put him down for a nap in his cot, let him sleep in the sling…….by 18 months he was being put to bed by his Dad, falling asleep on his own and then sleeping all night, without any tears or tantrums. He was just ready. And he has a 90 minute nap too which is just blissful!

    • My experience was similar to Vivienne’s. I did everything you are not meant to do if you want them to self settle in the future and one day at about 14 months she asked (pointed) to be put straight into her cot one evening and we haven’t looked back (we do still have the usual ups and downs that come with developmental leaps, teething, illness, simply wanting a cuddle but I just go with it as she is largely brilliant). This did coincide with the end of breastfeeding for us, and I wasn’t completely happy about it as loved our bedtime feed and cuddle as was back at work at this point. However, if that’s what she wanted, that’s what she got.
      We did do a little bit of sleep training at about 9 months as she was waking every 1.5 to 2 hours to feed for half an hour and had been for about 4-5 months. The hospital advised cry it out as she didn’t need to feed but we couldn’t do this so sent daddy in with lots of hugs but no boobs. Within about three days she stopped crying for a feed but still did cry for a cuddle once a night or so which was excellent, we just carried on giving them to her, letting her sleep with us etc as we had done before (we just needed to break that waking and feeding cycle as she was putting on a lot of weight as well as breaking me). She was much happier after this as well so we know we did the right thing.

  13. We have had Phoebs in a consistent cot napping pattern for the last few weeks now and it is a godsend! She is so much happier after having good, longer sleeps and I’m able to do things rather than pushing her to sleep in her pram. She sleeps for 1.5-2 hours twice a day and then a 30/45 minute buggy nap at the end if the day. She sometimes wakes after a sleep cycle (45 mins or so) but I just leave her and she cried for about 30 seconds if that and conks back out again.
    I don’t believe CIO affects your bond with your child at all, sometimes it’s the only way to get them to sleep! Most of my mummy friends have resorted to it at some point as rocking a heavy baby/toddler is not feasible!

  14. At 9 weeks we’re in a similar place. He sleeps well at night but in the day he’ll only sleep on me (for hours though!) or in his pushchair/sling. I just tried to get him to nap in his bed – after some screaming and shushing we’re now snuggled on the sofa together. He’s just too young and I’m worried about making his bed a traumatic place and ruining night times.

  15. no advice from me…. obvs… but good lord, that kid has the best expressions! In the 12 week shot with that face full of excitement and the limb extension she needs some captions! Such a cutie!

  16. We still have problems with naps at 6 months! At Bea’s age I didn’t do anything about it as E slept well at night (usually 7:45ish to 7 or 8am with one night feed – dream feeds never worked for us!). However, the 4 month regression hit v hard at 3.5 months and we still haven’t got sleeping sorted again! Naps have improved a bit recently but she still usually only does 30-45 minutes, with an occasional 1-2 hour nap. However, I don’t know anyone who has/had a baby who consistently napped for as long as the books say they should; most seem to do 30-45 minutes and are very happy on it. It is a pain when it comes to doing anything productive, though.

    Regarding cry it out, pre-baby I thought it sounded great but after E was born I couldn’t understand how I could ever let her cry! However, appalling sleep since the 4 month regression (at worst E was waking every 30 minutes, at best every 2 hours or so) and a realisation that Its not detrimental for E now she’s older and capable of more means that we started at 6 months and haven’t looked back. I understand that it’s not for everyone and not suitable for every baby, but with E it has become clear that she isn’t hungry/hot/cold etc, just very very cross about going to bed! She also got more worked up every time I cuddled her or picked her up, so the gentler methods just weren’t right for her. As with everything to do with babies – whatever is right for your baby (which can change as they grow and develop) and whatever helps you to cope!

    • Really glad to hear your experiences of sleep training. I am dreading it but resigned to the fact that we’ll probably do it at some point. I’m rubbish with no sleep, and once I’m back at work I’ll be responsible for other peoples sick children, so being majorly sleep deprived isn’t really an option, as much as I’d like to be able to wait for G to sort himself out.

      • I’m also rubbish with no sleep and was quite stressed about how we were ever going to manage! I know controlled crying is controversial and frowned on by a number of people but for us it really has been great: night 1 involved an hour of crying (which was an improvement on up to 4 hours over the previous few weeks); night 2 was 10 minutes and after that E has gone down quietly and gone to sleep (I am expecting a regression, but at least we have this method to deal with it). Definitely don’t do it if you’re not comfortable with it, but I reached the point where I knew it was what she needed (and couldn’t be worse than 4+ hours of her crying with me comforting her!).

  17. absolutely love the 12 week photo!

    Don’t think I can add any more than everyone else. It is just another phase….as everything is with babies & toddlers….good & bad. I can’t even remember 3 months old now but I do know I was still walking for hours on end with the pram to get Connie to nap.
    I flicked through countless sleep training books and the only one I felt suited us was the Elizabeth Pantley one as someone else has suggested. Reading it just helped me understand baby sleep patterns and therefore helped to lower my expectations. From then, I never felt the need to read another thing xxx

  18. Hey. As a mum of an almost 8 month old I very keenly feel your pain! I have just loved the passing months but the sleep deprivation was killer! That along with the first time mum anxiety – I second guessed everything and worried a lot about bad habits. I found (obsessively!!) looking for evidence based approaches really useful – developmentally what does my baby need? What I read was fab – follow my instincts and all will eventually be fine. We had a routine for bedtime from about 6 weeks but the rest of the naps were freestyle – whenever our wee munchkin needed them. Which meant predominantly on me or in the pram. Gradually though he learned to sleep when the pram stopped (so i would make sure he was super warm and leave him outside the window or inside if terrible outside). Meant after a 45 minute sleep cycle I could run out and run him round the block to buy another cycle!). As he got bigger he became less comfy sleeping on me so was happier to be put down in his cot or pram. Now he sleeps two naps a day, at roughly the same times each day (a routine he’s naturally gone in to, not ours) in his cot. He has managed this now for around a month. I suddenly have some of my own time back and its amazing! He can now get himself to sleep if I catch him at the right minute. I have also breastfed him to sleep and sometimes still do but since we’ve started weaning (mostly Baby Led Weaning) he is gradually becoming less hungry at bedtime and finishes his bedtime feed awake. This has amazed and delighted me as I was so stressed about feeding to sleep ‘rod for your own back’. Total nonsense! Follow your instincts and you will be fine. We paced and rocked through the horrific 4 month sleep regression and he no longer needs it. I was so tired that every morning we’d lie down in bed for a feed and fall sleep together. Again stressed about this but in the last week he has decided he’s full and wants to sleep in his cot. I’d also say enjoy and cherish those snuggles as frustrating as they can be (I was convinced I was getting tennis elbow!) as they fly in and I’m now mourning our morning cuddles as he grows out of them. It goes far too quickly!

    I definitely think sleep is a developmental milestone and that infants require co-regulation in order to learn self-regulation. Their brains are not mature enough initially to manage to sleep well without our support – they need to know we are there for them. Also the amazing attachment researcher Alan Sroufe says ‘if you do too much for a child you disable them, but you cannot spoil an infant. You just can’t.

    I”ve rambled on here but found the following really useful

    Sarah Ockwell Smith’s stuff and her posts on Gentle Parenting and her Facebook Gentle Sleep posts.

    http://sarahockwell-smith.com/tag/gentle-parenting/

    http://www.secretsofbabybehavior.com/2010/04/science-of-infant-sleep-part-ii-big.html

    http://www.examiner.com/article/study-shows-babies-who-cry-it-out-remain-stressed Original ref here Middlemiss et al., 2012, Early Human Development.

  19. What a pleasure reading this. Our eldest is almost 40, but the trials and tribulations which youre goiing through with Bea are still firmly there in our memory banks. As they pass, you’ll just find other problems to take their place, but don’t worry; one day (and it will creep up on you before you realise it) they will all become treasured memories as your little ones grow, become independent and produce grandchildren to delight you all over again!
    God bless you, and your husband and little Bea.

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