aka HELL! Call it whatever you want but this seems to be the hands down worst phase for most people (I am still sticking with weeks 5 and 8 but I digress). Most people not clued into the Wonder Weeks know of this time as the 4 month sleep regression and more attachment parents might hear “4 month wakeful”. Same theme among them all: You finally got into the swing of things. You had a schedule (feeding and sleeping) that was working for the most part. Some kids were happily sleeping through the night and then BLAMO…everything is a mess. Your calm baby is fussy. Sleep patterns are all over the place. Doesn’t want to be put down. Up multiple times at night. Finicky eating. Growth spurts. It is pure chaos. And unlike the previous weeks, this one is LONG. I got the leap alarm email when Oliver turned about 14 weeks old…it can start that earlier and keep on trucking.
According to the Wonder Week folks, Mental Leap 4 is all about events. Learning that their actions affect others and they have a bit more control. Mine also seems to be working on rolling over as part of this. He flops around side to side until he gets pissed. Lovely.
Becoming shy with strangers
Demanding more attention
Head may need more support than before
May be clingy
May lose appetite
May be moody
May be less vocal
May be less lively and sucks his thumb or fingers more often than before.
We are there folks. The shitty naps. The unpredictable nights. The thumb chewing like there are teeth but nothing. The grasping with a death grip when you put him down. UGH! I am tired but one thing is helping.
Being a second time mom.
I know it is a phase. I didn’t do something wrong. He will be ok if he cries. I look forward to the development this leap brings. Every day there is something new midst the fussiness. He found his feet. He can hold a toy. He wrestles a large toy if he bear hugs it. He tried to balance sitting up. Found his tongue. Learned a new sound he could make. I swear it is something new EVERY.DAY. So being a second time mom is taking the edge off a bit and not making me QUITE so cray.
First time mom sees a fussy back and goes down the list.
- Is he fed?
- Is he wet/poopy?
- Is he bored?
- Is he tired?
- Is he hot/cold?
- Is he teething?
And you know none of these are right but something isn’t right with your snowflake. You start looking for blame:
- Go to the Dr. expecting an ear infection, cold…hell anything you can blame it on. GIVE ME MEDICINE TO FIX IT.
- Start blaming your supply. He MUST be hungry and I can’t make enough. ( note this is when we started supplementing with formula with L). When in fact these phases are sometimes labeled “growth spurts” but it is more likely the case that they just want comfort in this scary time and boobs are comforting.
- You start thinking you will never sleep again and your life is over and spiral spiral spiral….
Slippery slope of desperation sets in and you start going into survival mode. Swing sleeping, cosleeping, more milk, solids…ANYTHING (not that any of that is bad, it is just sometimes done in hopes to magically fix something). I know, because I was there last time.
I admit I have a little PTSD around this phase. This was the phase that broke me last time. I can hear it in Ollie’s cry now. It is the EXACT same cry that Landon had that horrible night that shattered me. Not blood curdling screams but little sobs…for long periods. Nothing helped. If you went in, it was just worse or you had to nurse him OVER AND OVER. I thought those sobs were him being exhausted from crying and me abandoning him but looking back, I wish I could tell myself it was just normal. I didn’t do anything wrong. He was fine. I have heard that same pattern from Ollie. Some naps are broken up 15 minute cat naps with tossing and turning and little whines. This is also where the beauty of a video monitor comes in. I can see he is trying to go back to sleep. He is just tossing his head back and forth trying to fall back asleep and something mentally is in his way. So we let him cry. He might get worked up but if all the essentials are taken care of, there is nothing more we can do. If we intervene, he loses more sleep and so do we. Nobody wins. Luckily the longest Ollie has gone is about 25 minutes and that was broken up with quite periods.
But I know that step is hard. Making that call to let them cry is REALLY hard and not for everyone. You have to mentally prepare for it and be together as a team. So many nights I look at K and say “I just don’t know what to do.” and we game plan. It makes me feel so much better if he is in the same boat with me. We aren’t blaming each other. We hang onto the boat as we get tossed around in this insane sea of baby.
So if you googled Wonder Week 19 and got here, I’m sorry you are here and I have no magic answer. Just know you are probably right. They are probably in this stage and need to JUST.GET.THROUGH.IT. I am not gonna sugar coat it…it is going to SUCK. You will be tired and cranky. Welcome to parenthood. But know that it will soon be over and you will have a more interactive baby. One that can entertain themselves for longer. One that can pass toys from hand to hand. One that can laugh at you. It is going to be AWESOME…this is a time that “good things come to those who wait” is oh so true. Hang in there.
UPDATE (1/27/2012): This has become an insanely popular post…so thanks for that but I wanted to let you know we made it out alive :). Most likely you are googling sleep regressions or came from a baby board in a moment of desperation. You are sleep deprived and maybe even sick to your stomach. I know your pain. It fucking sucks and I am sorry you are here but soon this will be a distant memory.
Oliver is now 6 months old and a whole new baby. Better sleep, longer wake times and sitting up. It is amazing what 2 months can do. So hang in there. It’s going to get better. I promise. If you want to follow us along on our journey, follow us in the options listed below!