You may have noticed I’ve been rather quiet about Millie recently – that’s because I’ve been in the depths of hell with The Four Monthlies. If you are not familiar with this phenomena it is when your 4 month old decides to start waking up more frequently in the night (so if you were lucky enough that they slept through, they wont be anymore and if they only woke once, they can now wake up to 3 times) and when they do wake they are AWAKE! The professionals call it the Four Month Sleep Regression. Google it and you’ll find parent after parent screaming for help on the various parenting forums.
From what I understand, its a combination of a growth spurt and their brains becoming more active. Also, it is about this time their sleep changes from being like a newborn to being more like an adults. The 4-5am part of the morning is when we have our lightest sleep – its the most common time for insomniacs to suffer too. Which is great when Millie wakes up for a feed, decides to lay awake chatting and then when she does finally go back to sleep, I have insomnia. Sigh!
Many parents will mistake this period for thinking their baby is starving hungry and needs to be weaned. However, if you weather the storm, they will get better and will continue until much later to be satisfied on milk alone without the need for solids.
I remember Callum going through this stage just after Christmas and I had thought it was the upset of routine over Christmas. It was only from going on forums myself that I later learned about the Four Monthlies. It was hell then too but it did get better and a couple of months later he slept through the night 7-7. But at least this time I was i) expecting it; and ii) had faith that it was ‘just a phase’. And, for the record, we didn’t wean Callum until after 6 months and he wasn’t really interested in food until much later.
So, at the start of Millie’s Four Monthlies, we had feeding every 2 hours again through the night – Yawn! She was only drinking 2-3 ounces at a time and then she would puke it all up requiring a complete outfit change (both of us!). If she didn’t puke, the other end exploded in a watery mess and, again, requiring an outfit, grobag & bed covers change! Then just as we were getting over that – well getting towards every 3-4 hours, not quite the 6-8 of when she was teeny tiny – and she started increasing her milk intake again, she started waking for 1-2 hours at a time. Chatting and cooing to herself.
Finally, I’m hoping we are reaching the other side. I hate to jinx it and I’m sure the next ‘phase’ will be along soon to mess it all up again but for the last 2 nights she has gone back to having a 5-6 hour stretch - feeding just as we go to bed then only waking one other time around 3-4am. The night before last, I was still up an hour but she chatted to herself for a bit then went to sleep and was mainly only up for that time because she did a poo & needed her nappy changed (but no outfit change – whoop!). Then last night, she was up for about half hour and as soon as I laid her down, she did struggle to sleep but she was trying rather than just chatting. She also got herself off to sleep without me needing to hold her or anything.
I’m hoping this is the beginning of the end. Just in time for Christmas. If it is, it will probably be my best Christmas present this year – Sleep! (Sorry Stuart!)