5 months with Bea

Morning readers! Apologies for the lack of posts this week, I’ve had 2 and a half days of my internet being down for some unknown reason and Erin is having the same problem. Today it’s back, hurrah! So here’s an instalment of life with Bea for you all today. Thanks for bearing with me!

When I last wrote about life with Bea, things were pretty much rosy. We had just got back from Florida, I’d transitioned her into her cot in the day without any problems (Hello smug face). For about a week after we got back she was the perfect baby then bam! It all went south.

4 to 5 months was tricky. It was probably also the hardest time I’ve had with Bea. Before then, bad days had been just that, days, not weeks but in early December (around 19 weeks) something happened with her naps… er, what naps? For 5 days Bea napped steadily less and less. She had been having about 3 hours in the day and day by day she went from 2.5, then 2 then at the worst only 1.5hrs. Those with babies will be feeling my pain already, those without, let me just tell you there’s a very fine line between a very happy well rested baby and the cliff top drop over the edge into over tired, distressed angry screaming baby. Nuff said. After about 5 days she improved slightly and the nap times started to go up again. But they only made it to about 2 hours and that’s where they stayed for that month, on a good day.

It was really hard. Hard because there is nothing more soul destroying (for me anyway,) than pacing around rocking and shushing in a darkened room for 45 minutes trying to get a baby to sleep. You emerge shell shocked, only for them only to wake up 30 minutes later. It was heartbreaking watching her so desperate for sleep that she was banging her head onto my chest and crying with frustration. And hard because amongst all this I steadily beat myself up that I was creating bad habits (rocking her to sleep because it was the only thing I could do or feeding her to sleep,) poor sleep associations and emotional scars if I ever left her to cry for a few minutes to see if she would learn to sleep by herself. The latter was a particularly useless tactic as eventually I always caved and went back, only to rock her to sleep anyway; Cue more beating myself up for letting her cry and for reinforcing that if she cried she would get what she wants.

How do I feel about it now? Well, like I said in my end of the year post, a few days do not a bad habit form. Bea went from going down with no fuss, awake for at least 2 or 3 of her 3 or 4 naps a day, to needing rocking or feeding to sleep for every single one and guess what, for some unknown reason, she is now back to going down without fuss for most of her naps in the cot again. Every couple of days I would try and after a few weeks she just kind of got over whatever was wrong. I’m able to beat myself up less now, but it’s always better with the benefit of hindsight. For whatever reason, she needed me. I did a lot of reading in these weeks about sleep patterns, needs and training and whilst I didn’t try to ‘sleep train’ her, I did leave her to cry a couple of times – more frustrated shouting rather than real crying with tears, wondering if she would settle herself in the ‘ten minutes’ or whatever some sleep expert recommended. A couple of times she did, but more often she didn’t and it ended up feeling like a wasted episode of crying as we achieved nothing. I definitely know more about the likelihood that she will settle now though by listening to her different sounds. She does sometimes, shout, chatter or cry before she sleeps, but it’s more of a whinge and it’s part of her dropping off, as much as her sucking her fingers is.

And why did it happen? Who knows. Do we ever really understand babies behaviour? Some would say it was the ‘dreaded 4 month sleep regression‘. I don’t really believe in sleep regressions as I read a blog post and it makes much more sense to me that she was simply dropping a nap. After all, babies sleep requirements don’t change in a day and throughout this period she would have 3 or 4 naps a day, whereas now she generally has 3. I found that site really helpful with info about bedtimes too and ideal sleep requirements. It makes much more sense to me to work around her sleep patterns, noting how long she is awake before she needs a nap, rather than prescriptively saying she should be napping at X o’clock. I also wonder if it was all made worse by the fact I was busy (more reasons to feel bad… the 5 month picture we have below is also her ’21 week’ photo as for the first time ever I forgot to take her weekly photo πŸ™ ) – things were worst at the beginning of December but the week before Christmas was also pretty bad, exacerbated by builders and tradespeople banging, ringing the door bell and generally taking my time up. There were times she was crying and they needed me to speak to them about something, and lots more times when I cursed them for being noisy and waking her from a much needed sleep. Or was it a wonder week leap? Who knows what it was all about, but it’s also over!

There were great things about 4-5 months too though. Bea learned to blow raspberries and bubbles, she’s laughing more and more and at 20 weeks she rolled over. In a classic moment, I returned from being out of the room to find her on her front when I had left her on her back.

Right now, we’re having a glorious 6th month and I’ll be back to tell you more about that soon. How are you getting on with your little ones? Does any of this sound familiar?!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS
4 months, 3 months, 2 months and the first month with Bea

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11 thoughts on “5 months with Bea

  1. Very familiar! Although having said that, we entered the “dreaded 4 month sleep regression” at 14 weeks and have never emerged……so I agree, it’s not a regression, my baby just lost the ability to “self-settle” (a phrase/concept I think is a load of cr@p anyway) and since then we have been rocking, cuddling or feeding to sleep at home, or relying on the pram or car. We’re now at 15 months and still have fairly frequent night wakings as well as co-sleeping. Maybe I created bad habits, maybe she’s just a baby who doesn’t sleep but I stopped reading about sleep a long time ago (apart from this AMAZING blog which has saved my sanity numerous times: http://www.renegademothering.com/)
    Glad to hear that you are having a much better month! Bea is such a cutie. The only advice I would give you (with hindsight) is enjoy it all, NEVER blame yourself for sleep issues (especially at this early age) and don’t read any books/blog posts/apps or listen to anyone’s advice!! But that’s just me being stubborn πŸ˜‰

      • Thanks Amanda. I feel like I am in a minority most of the time as it seems to be the “done thing” to reply on books, websites etc to “tell us” what to do, but I found early on that led to depression, tears and feelings of inadequacy on my part. It’s not that I don’t feel frustrated at time, but I’ve accepted now that things change all the time with my daughter and I can’t predict anything. It’s only a short time that I will be completely exhausted for and her cuteness more than makes up for it! Hope you are coping OK with the sleepless nights πŸ™‚ x

  2. I find my son (now 14 months) was usually unsettled before he does sonething new or has a new milestone. As for bad habits, whilst i think routine is important – or has been for us – sometimes youve just got to roll with it! I read a piece of advice given to another blog writer….babies be babies. Great words that i think of whenever we have a rough patch! X

  3. I think you have just described my morning…. 1.5hours of shhhing. Rocking, leaving to cry, getting angry with myself, her getting frustrated… Finally I swaddled her for the first time in months and that did the trick. 1 hour of calm and now we’re going shopping. πŸ™‚

  4. I have a 3.5 year old and expecting my second child in 3 weeks. Even though I’ve been through it all before I find I just can’t remember all the many baby phases. Your blog is helping to prepare me tho! It sounds like you are doing a fabulous job with Bea. All the best.

  5. I remember the rocking shhing, lullaby phases well! With my daughter (now 16 months) 5 months was a really tricky stage for naps. In the end I found she would feed to sleep and I just rolled with it. Occasionally it was frustrating that I always had to do naps but really I much preferred her having a proper sleep and allowing me a break too. She didn’t sleep through the night until she was 11 months so I often had a nap too. I thought we’d be feeding to sleep forever but she slept through without any nudges from me and started to settle herself to sleep by herself by the time she was 1. I didht know how to stop feeding to sleep for her nap but I bit the bullet in December and just didn’t offer and with a bit of a cuddle she fell asleep no problem. I probably could have done that a lot earlier!!
    So My advice is to just go with her and what makes things work for both of you. Try not to over think it as usually by the time you think you know what’s going on they have totally changed again and its a new phase!
    Xx

  6. It’s funny isn’t it, when you are in the middle of a rubbish sleep phase it just feels like forever and you question everything you do, and then it just stops…. Until the next time.
    Months 4 and 5 were tough for us too. G’s daytime napping actually really improved as he hadn’t been doing it regularly at all before then, but h e started waking regularly again at night and it was so tough. Then the start of the 6th month was lovely, with easy napping and good night sleeping as well, and now at 7 months we are back to struggling to go down in the day, and waking frequently and worst of all staying awake at night. Again I’m double guessing … Teeth/ a bug/ developmental leap/regression / because he’s still in our room and we should be moving him into his own..? Deep breath, this too shall pass.

  7. Bea is just so beautiful! Oh I remember these days well (my son is 19 months now).

    http://www.troublesometots.com/baby-sleep-what-is-normal/

    I found the table on this website useful in terms of working out a rough guide by age, of how many naps babies tended to have and the approximate time they could manage between naps. It also helped me be more aware of what to expect in the next stage so I was more prepared for transitioning to less naps. I know all babies are different but when I discovered this in my sleep deprived google frenzy it became a game changer for us as I really had no idea how much sleep babies needed or how short their waking times could be (others here may be much more clued up!). I could then plan a rough routine for that particular day based on when he woke for the day, better estimating when he’d be likely to need the next nap and how long he could be awake between naps. As you described Rebecca, this worked much better for us than set daily times for naps and bedtime. Anyway thought I’d link to it in case it helps anyone as much as it did me. There’s a handy PDF download at the bottom of the page.
    When you’re in the middle of it it feels relentless and you’ll have heard it said many many times but please know that it does get easier!

  8. Overnight at 3.5 months my boy just stopped sleeping for more than 30 mins in the day (previously could do 4 hours!) and started waking every hour at night (previously could do 8!). It’s been a long month for us but we’re slowly coming out of it. Some days I would be crying when my husband got home because I felt like all I’d done was make him cry by trying to get him to sleep. It was horrible. But now he’s waking a couple of times at night and self settles in his cot for two naps a day. They’re still shorter, but I guess he needs less sleep. He’s 19 weeks now and I hope we’re over the worst of it.

  9. Yes, yes this sounds very very familiar. Sleep is crazy, and while I do believe in routines, I believe in flexibility as well, in trusting your gut, in doing what you have to do. And I don’t really trust the “do x or y and your baby will be damaged” voices or the ones that say “by x months this should already have been accomplished”. This was driving me crazy, and the part in me that loves to read and research is still tempted to jump into that rabbit hole, but observing our kids, I think is the best way, and instinct too, as clueless as we feel.

    Thanks for the articles you linked, she gives good advice. The part about observing how long the baby stays awake instead of em to trying to force them to nap by -say- 12 pm everyday in their crib particularly resonated with us. Yu naps well, but she does so in all kinds of places and situations (her crib a lot, the stroller, the kangaroo, at her grandma’s…)

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