Category: ppd (Page 1 of 3)

PPD & The Working Mom

PPDHeads up, this is an old post I wrote years ago when Ollie was an infant. It is no longer online so I am reposting it to help new moms. 

Hi. I’m Brandy and I have suffered from postpartum depression/anxiety…twice. I had no idea how to start this post so lets just shine light on the elephant in the room right off the bat (holy cliche sentence, Batman).

Being a mom is hard…working or not. We can all agree there. I can gladly state that the newborn phase of my children is the hardest (so far). While I don’t doubt my ability to mom or how good a mom I am, I know I have struggled with both Landon and Oliver as new babies. I also had great support to help me…and I know not everyone has that. As I stated in other posts, life at home isn’t for me. The colic. The crying. The long days of getting nothing done. The second time around was a little better knowing that it was a finite thing until I went back to work but still very isolating and scary at times. It wore me down.

I am willing to admit all this but I think some moms struggle with that. Sometimes that struggle is just a small nagging but sometimes it is more. Sometimes the long days with little sleep and so much frustration build and build. As hard as you want to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is really faint. You get angry over little things and no amount of deep breaths help. You break one day and scream at your kid and then bawl your eyes out at what you did. People telling you “it gets better” mean nothing because while you know they are right, you want it better NOW.

What made it better for me? Going back to work.

As insane as that sounds, it has done so twice. With 6 years of self reflection, I know this is because of how I am wired. I thrive on achievement, if not over-achievement, and meeting goals. I have my dream job where I get to create and discover every day. So to go from that to a shower being my biggest accomplishment for the day? SUCKS! I thrive at work. I get to do what I love…create and help people. I get to work with amazing people. And? I GET TO SIT DOWN. I get to go to the bathroom without someone crying. I don’t have to put some one to nap and then wait to see if they actually will. There is routine that HAS to happen. We have to be at work at X…so crying or not, it will happen. Once we get home, I have X amount of time until I can drink relax. Everything is calculated out and predictable(ish). Yes, I have more on my plate with a full time job but I can think about something other than sleep schedules and poop colors. It gives me balance.

A few weeks after I went back to work, I went to see my therapist. She could see the difference when I walked in the door. She was pretty amazed. I no longer needed my anxiety meds.There are still the calls from daycare you dread but it is part of the gig. The next day brings something new…not just more of the same.

This post was spurred by this post on Huffington Post that I related to instantly. Another mom who found relief in the working world. I wanted her to know she wasn’t alone. I write this to show it is possible, as crazy as it sounds, to add more to your plate to make it better.

Have you dealt with PPD/PPA? If so, how did going back to work affect you? Better? Worse?

PSA: If you are struggling after your baby is born, even later on, please talk to your doctor. It is nothing to be ashamed of and completely normal. You may just have a case of baby blues but it could be more. Take care of yourself.  If you want to read other stores, please check out Postpartum Progress. I am also happy to answer any emails, tweets, etc if you need help. – Brandy

Formula AND Pumping, Not OR

formulaHappy World Breastfeeding Week, everyone! With the celebration this year, the healthcare center at SAS asked me to participate. I went on camera and talked about my journey a little. When I was contacted about doing it, I jumped at it and asked if I could speak to a specific issue: formula and pumping. I did both with both my kids and while I don’t regret a thing, I always felt kind of alone. I felt like I was forging my own journey. There was little out there for support.  You are usually sifting through info from 2 vastly different sides. Either you exclusively breastfeed or just give formula and while neither is bad, it isn’t your only choice. The biggest group of moms this seems to effect is working moms. You go down a VERY common path. You start work and quickly see how hard it is to make those bottles. You pump and pump. You take from your maternity leave stash. You are living pump to pump. Then? Daycare says “he could use bigger bottles” and you heart sinks. How?

So a few years ago, while I was in the throws of this for the second time, I wrote a post I am reviving below. It is still relevant for new moms struggling to figure out that magical machine in a bag. Here ya go, mama…

Read More

Postpartum Anxiety and Strollers

1At this time around 5 years ago, I was settling in with my first newborn. I had never really dealt with teeny babies. I had held one or two, of course but not in the trenches.  The adrenaline was wearing off and the tired was washing over me like a dense fog. I knew it wasn’t glamorous. I didn’t think I was supposed to be all googly eyed over something that spat and shit on me. But something still wasn’t right. Weeks old turned to months old and while I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, I found myself constantly anxious. Even when he slept, I could jolt awake constantly and be just as irritable by morning. I would call and cry for Kevin to come home because I just didn’t want to be responsible some days. Nap times were torture and I spent them mostly just pacing waiting for him to wake up any minute. I cried from pure stress.

Luckily, my family recognized these things and stepped in. My mother in law came and watched the baby some afternoons so I could do something other than be a mother including going to see my doctor. I started writing here more about what was going on. But in all that, I was reminded I wasn’t alone. So one night that fall, I put Landon to bed and drove to Rex for my first Postpartum Education & Support meeting. I would never be alone again.

But the sad fact is, there ARE many moms out there that are suffering alone. “In fact, more women will suffer from postpartum depression and related illnesses this year than the combined number of new cases for men and women of tuberculosis, leukemia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.”* 

PESNC helped me realize the reality of my problem and hope to come out of it. And I did! Moms Supporting Moms was a life saver and I have always wanted to give back. Let moms and families know I was here to talk (no really, I am) and make them aware of symptoms. I am now the webmaster for the organization. So many compassionate women wanting to help the thousands of moms still in the fog. And one way they are helping is through Strollerthon.

The StrollerThon — our biggest fundraiser of the year — is a two-mile walk in celebration of families and mothers. Proceeds from this event benefit Postpartum Education and Support, and individuals of all ages are welcome to participate. No stroller required!

The goals of the walk are to raise awareness of perinatal mood disorders and to provide a family-friendly outing to financially support the programs of Postpartum Education and Support. The event will feature a Tot Trot for kids, live music, food, and activities for the whole family!

The StrollerThon will take place on Saturday, September 13, 2014 at Bond Park in Cary, NC.

Register to walk or Donate to PESNC

If you want to talk about it, email me. I will respond as quickly as I can, I promise. You don’t have to feel alone…there is village waiting for you. If you are local, come walk with me too!

Read more: http://www.mannlymama.com/2013/05/the-mental-health-of-motherhood/#ixzz3CGgrYnPM

*Facts from postpartumprogress.org

You Asked, I’m Answerin

In my PicPack giveaway,  I required the person entering to leave a comment asking me any question. I kind of get tired of the same type of contest comments that say the same things. I figured we should have fun…and y’all made it fun! 26 random ass questions from the easy to the personal to the bizarre. So as promised, I am going to answer them all :)

  1. Which do you like better: taking pictures with your phone for the convenience or your SLR for the quality? – Jessie
    Tricky question. When I get a great photo with either, I love it. I like working with the SLR because it requires a little more know how and I can zoom, change aperture, etc. easier. The images are, on average, more crisp. But I can’t by pass the convenience of the phone. I love the challenge of trying to make them better with the equipment I have but I can get frustrated with it because of it.
  2. If you had to be stuck on an island with only three things, what would you take with you? – Madonna
    Practical: Lifetime supply of sunscreen, a toothbrush and soap. Whimsical: An iphone that never loses a charge, unlimited data paid for by a sugar daddy and wine.
  3. Random – having seen the doggy day camp forms on your IG feed, how often does Jack go? – Sarah
    Jack usually goes to daycamp once a week. We pay for a card that is buy 10 get 1 free and we just keep reupping. He has been going to day camp at Leesville Animal Hospital since 2006 and we adore them there.
  4. Ummmm, if you could change being an only child, would you? – Andrea
    Yes. As a small child, it was great. I have no complaints and it made me who I am. As an adult, it is harder. Being the only family connection.
  5. What do you love most about working at SAS? – Wasn’t Serious
    Subsidized child care. This was a tough question but that makes our lives SO MUCH EASIER on many levels.
  6. When deciding to have more children were you nervous about going through the newborn stage again? And if so, how did you work with that?- Meg B
    Well we always wanted 2. After my PPD with Landon, I was a bit gun shy. When I got pregnant (and miscarried) when L was 16 months, I was honestly panicked but I don’t think about the newborn stage as much as ZOMG I WANT MY BODY FOR A BIT.  With Ollie I was ready (though he was a surprise) but I knew I had an army of mommy friends and everything was just a phase. It really is easier in a lot of ways…but still hard.
  7. DSCN0449What is the best place/vacation you have ever been to? – Nicole
    Dominican Republic
  8. What is the one think Kevin does that drives you crazy? – Kristi
    He is always worried he left the garage open. It is never open. We have turned around many times.
  9. If you could have lunch with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? – Kendra
    My dad.
  10. What happens when the Unstoppable Force meets the Immovable Object? – Buttermilk
  11. Do you or Kevin visit the boys at all during the day? Ever since I finished nursing C I’ve felt like the neglectful mom since I barely go see him, when before I was there once or twice a day. – JZ
    Honestly, no. I want to but work has been crazy busy. I want to start doing it more now that he is in toddlers. we don’t with Landon but he is getting to the age we actually can. He can be left again.
  12. Ever think about leaving NC? – Lauren
    Nope. I’m a homebody. I like being around family.
  13. Would you rather cut off both your pinky toes for $10,000 or have no fingernails for the rest of your life for $5,000? – Amanda
    I have actually thought WAY too long on this but going toes. I figure i could get some corrective shoes to help me walk.
  14. Have you ever danced with the Devil in the pale moonlight? – Chris
  15. If you had to listen to one song on repeat for 365 days what would it be and why? – Kristi
    Hmmmm. I am just going to use the time to plug this song that I love and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD RELEASE AN ALBUM, SAM SMITH!
  16. Does anyone ever walk in on you at work while you’re taking your mirror selfless? – Jessica
    HA! No. 1) I’m stealthy and 2) Our bathroom has a double door setup so I can hear when someone is coming.
  17. Love that you’re a fellow working mom of two boys. Are you guys done or do you want one more?  – Erin
  18. What was the first job for which you earned money and how did you spend that new-found cash? – Steph
    I was a bagger at Winn Dixie when I was 15…then turned cashier…then worked in the office and closed the store. I was told to get the job by my mother when I complained about the prom dress she was going to buy wasn’t what I wanted. Lesson learned.
  19. As a fellow female engineer, I’m always curious how other women were drawn to what is still a fairly male dominated profession. Did you have someone you knew who was an engineer and encouraged you or did it just “happen” naturally? – Valerie
    My dad was an electrical engineer but honestly I liked computers and wanted to create via that medium. I applied to design school for graphic design but was rejected. I then majored in computer science. Switch to engineering because it was a wider variety of classes. DONE.
  20. What is your fav holiday? Lame question I know but Halloween is coming up and it’s my favorite! – KTY
    Christmas or 4th of July. I feel cliche with Christmas but I enjoy the  tradition building. Same for 4th for our family.
  21. What color is your car? (I can’t think of anything better). – Barbra
    Red :)
  22. What’s your favorite thing about your husband? – Kristin
    He can make me laugh so fucking hard :)
  23. I have been wondering how and why you and your husband decided to use the cry it out method of sleep training? I found your blog by googling 4 month sleep regression, so you can see how this is pertinent to my interests. We also ended up doing cry it out, but I feel like I can’t talk about it around my peer group because so many people think it’s cruel. Have you experienced any of that? Did you have friends who tried to talk you out of it? – Casey (WINNER)
    First, we decided because we were tired and nothing else worked. With both boys, they aren’t “sensitive” kids. They aren’t overly attached to us. Going into “soothe” them pissed them off. So we decided to give it a go. Now I have never had haters about it…andI honestly don’t know exactly why. I can say I am exteremely confident in my parenting decisions. I know what works for my  family and who I trust for advice. I like to present my story as one option….not that way. I hope people read it that way.
  24. Do you think you might try for a girl in the future? – Sarah
    NOPE. See question 17.
  25. What book(s) has inspired you recently? – Kate
    HA! I never read books anymore. It’s pretty pathetic but if I am being honest, I have been finally reading the Ann Rice Sleeping Beauty series and I seem to be getting laid a lot, so there’s that I guess?
  26. What time do you get off of work? It always seems like you’ve tweeted #toddlerdinner pics before I even walk in the door. – Katherine
    We work 8ish-4ish. We have a flexible schedule and usually are getting the kids by 4:30. Boys have dinner by 6 and bed by 7. It’s a tight ship. I talked about our 2 hour sprint before.
  27. How much was a gallon of gas the year you were born? – Mindy
    $1.30 (got it here)

That was fun, you guys!!! Anything else?

I Am Not A Baby Person

Here’s the deal: babies aren’t my thing. They are cute and they have adorable tiny clothes but I am not a fan. I kept the 6 month mark in my head to get me through the sleepless nights, nipples of fire and general blobbiness of infants. I knew it would get better…just had to hang in there. The newborn snuggles are cute for a few hours but when you can’t sleep without someone touching you? The pumping. The clammy hands in my hair. The car screaming. Not my cup of tea. Anxiety like whoa.

Then the next 6 months was a little more fun. Sitting up, eating real food, keeping himself occupied and crawling were all fun. But then there is still 2-3 naps to coordinate around, making bottles and spooning purees. Better…but still not my forte.

Me? I’m a toddler mom. Rough housing, PB&Js, mornings spent at the park, when they fumble around and fall for no reason. AWESOME! There is plenty of sleep, a routine and sweet sweet independent play. They start talking and making funny faces. They can zone out to the TV for a few minutes {yeah yeah…no screen time under 2…hahahahahaha}. I mean look at this perfect example of toddler swellness.

Well we are seeing the signs of this and I am excited. We have already started pushing for 1 nap so we can get out and have fun. No more formula. Playdates.

I write all this because with Landon, it took me awhile to admit I didn’t really like the infant stage. I felt ashamed like I was just missing some girl gene. The thought of the “newborn smell” made me have a little PTSD. Once I started admitting it, more people nodded in agreement. People would say “just wait until they are walking…then it’s all over” but that is the beginning! When they start being little people with GIANT personalities. Those are the videos you can look back on still giggle. So it’s ok to not want to snuggle every baby you see. It’s ok to not want to have a baby nap on you. It’s ok to just prefer a kid that can kick you over being spit up on. I do.

The Mental Health of Motherhood

PostpartumLast week I was able to attend the Listen To Your Mother show for Raleigh/Durham put on by my good friend Keanne. It was beautiful and hearing all the women’s stories was so special. They were funny, caring, sarcastic and REAL. Motherhood isn’t all newborn snuggles and bake sales. It’s gritty and puts you up against some of the hardest decisions of your life {beyond nursery colors and to breast feed or not}. And while I truly enjoyed every performance, even the one about the potty training doll, I really latched on to the story from Ronnie Bower about her postpartum depression. I mean that isn’t really a shocking statement since I have a special place in my heart to help new moms battle such a terrible thing but her exact words slapped me in the face.

You see, that was like hearing my own voice. Really…read this. I have always been a positive, bubbly person and then to face the reality that a joyous event {birth} and just feel overwhelmed and some times just plain hate it, felt foreign and bizarre. I loved my baby but the world of sleep deprivation and hormones seemed like some ring of hell. Ring being the perfect word because you just kept going around in circles doing the same things every day. Rocking, shushing, jiggling…over and over and over. Slap on top of that the sentiments that “this is the best thing, being a mother” and “be sure to treasure these moments because they will be gone”, and the guilt pushed me further down. I made it out and lived to talk about it. Then it creeped back with Oliver but I knew the signs and got help ASAP. My new job here is to reduce the stigma and help more moms get the help they need. To make it ok for then to say they are having a hard time. A safe place, if you will.

So for all the new followers I have gotten lately, at home with your 4 month old babies who aren’t sleeping, I want you to know it’s ok if you aren’t happy right now. You aren’t a bad mom…at all. It’s ok to admit it. I know it’s hard…really really hard. To let go of the control and admit you need some help or just to say “THIS FUCKING SUCKS”. The mommy club will welcome you with fistbumps and a glass of wine because we FEEL you {oh how we feel you}. And admitting it isn’t rainbows and kittens only makes you a better mom. You might be thinking “I’m not sad. I’m not crying all the time” but that isn’t everything, you see. Postpartum depression and anxiety take tons of forms. Jill learned that with her second when her anxiety became crippling. Reading her realization she needed help is empowering and I encourage every one to take a look. Then just on Sunday, my friend Jen opened up about the same type of issues with her second and how the real education process needed is for EVERYONE to learn about it so there is less of a stigma for those new moms. I high recommend sending this to any families expecting a baby in the near future. The moms, the dads, the grandparents, siblings…ALL OF THEM need to read it. And there are tons of more stories at Postpartum Progress along with other resources to help you {really help you}. The internet is huge and filled with some crazy shit but it is also full of some of the best community you have ever seen. I’ve seen it work miracles over and over and it is there to help you if you will let it and know where to look.

If you want to talk about it, email me. I will respond as quickly as I can, I promise. You don’t have to feel alone…there is village waiting for you.

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.

I honestly was going to write about something silly today but noticed it was Mental Health Blog Day and thought I would join in. You can too.

I’m A Toddler Mom: A Guest Post by the Other Brandee

When Brandy asked for guest posts to help her get through after the transient hobo IUD is evicted from her pelvic region, I immediately offered. The lady has a rogue piece of metal punted into her pelvis via her super strong uterus (probably not medically accurate), so even if I wasn’t inclined to do ANYTHING BwY asks (and I am, I so totally am), I would do it for my safety. She’s a tough lady ;)

In all seriousness though, I am happy to oblige so she can get the much needed rest to heal up nice and quick, so all her readers can get back to the regularly scheduled snarky education she’s got going on here. However, until then you’re stuck with me and my ranting but without useful education. You’re welcome, or I’m sorry, whichever.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am the mama to one feisty little will-be-3-in-a-few-days year old, and am currently trying (well failing) to create small human part deux. It is taking way more time than reasonable, which is a whole other topic. When I discuss this with people (all ute talk on the internet, all the time) I am often asked why we waited so long to try for #2, when #1 took 14 months to conceive, and we certainly aren’t getting any younger.

The quick answer, other than the “shut the fuck up” is this: I don’t really like infants.

There, I said it. I’ve confessed. It’s true, and I know Brandy feels quite the same way I do.

It’s not that I don’t LIKE them per se. I mean, I like other people’s infants just fine. They coo, and are squishy and smell like newborn diapers. They are helpless and confused, and they need you to both protect and enlighten them but, after about 20 minutes of that, they are kind of just succubus lumps who take take take and almost never give.

Ya, I just said it.

Perhaps it will be different with my second child, but I only have the current one to go off of. She was not an easy baby. Until 7 months old, she didn’t sleep more than 2 hours max at a time, and didn’t nap unless I was moving her. We finally resorted to letting her cry some, and things improved, but those first months are clouded by nothing but a c-section wound and rampant sleep deprived insanity.

I have claimed we are in the 1 and done category probably a million times (thanks for listening to THAT uterus, ugh) but as Everly has grown, I’ve grown as a mother. And I’ve realized something – it’s ok not to be great with the infants because that stage is so fleeting and then? You’ve got a toddler on your hands.

And I love me some toddlers.

Sure there are struggles and frustrations. They tantrum, they don’t listen, they act like jerks. They make their own choices and vocalize their displeasures. Sometimes they act like possessed drunken midgets. All of that is true, but they are also so self-sufficient and fun.

They use the potty, can get their own drinks, they tell you that they had their eye on the purple cup and not the blue one instead of just screaming. You can put them down and they don’t topple over into a grease pile in the parking lot (shut up, you’ve done it too), you can converse with them, you can talk things over, you can bribe reward them. And for the most part, they are hilarious.

It’s just a whole new world; a wonderfully infuriating one, but a good one. There is some reciprocity. They love you back, they have pride in themselves for accomplishing things, and they begin to understand choice and consequence.

Motherhood isn’t easy at any stage I don’t think, but infancy and early babydom? Those were the hardest for me. Once we approached toddlerhood, we both fell into our rhythm. Maybe it was timing, maybe it was my articulate child, or maybe just maybe, I’m a toddler mom.

What kind of mom are you?

Mommy and Everly

Toddler Moms Unite!

Formula: You Aren’t Failing Your Kid

formula and pumpingI have had a few questions about our use of formula since I mentioned it here. Some other new moms wondering about how I did it. The fact is, there isn’t a lot of information out there for us. You are usually sifting through info from 2 vastly different sides. Either you exclusively breastfeed or just give formula and while neither is bad, it isn’t your only choice. The biggest group of moms this seems to effect is working moms. You go down a VERY common path. You start work and quickly see how hard it is to make those bottles. You pump and pump. You take from your maternity leave stash. You are living pump to pump. Then? Daycare says “he could use bigger bottles” and you heart sinks. How?

Well I have gone through this twice now. I have a lower supply (enough for him but just not overflowing) and I don’t respond well to the pump. The combo leaves me with many days not being able to cover the bottle. I knew this was the case before coming back with oliver, so I worked my schedule to only need 1 bottle. So out of all the pumps in a day (3-4), I can make a 5.5 oz bottle plus a little extra most of the time. Formula is there to help. The night my milk didn’t let down, a bottle was gone.

The more I talk about this, the more questions I get and I realized there is a group of moms out there looking for guidance where there isn’t any. I decided to address them on Liberating Working Moms so come check it out:

“After a particularly rough night, where my postpartum anxiety spiraled out of control, I took a day off work and pumped nothing. I was already freaking out from sleep deprivation and this didn’t help. I didn’t have enough for bottles the next day. I cried and cried. It was so hard to let go of the control but I found that can of Similac and made him a bedtime bottle of half breastmilk and half formula to make sure he could handle it. I had to feed my baby…period. He never batted an eye and chugged it down but I cried the whole time. I didn’t think formula wasbad, I was just disappointed in myself for not being able to give him only breastmilk.

Flash forward to his first birthday. I pumped what I could for that first year and even kept nursing mornings and bedtime until 15 months. We had a beautiful journey and the one major note about breast milk was:

I gave him all I could….[keep reading].”

A Letter to My CEO

Dear Dr. Goodnight,

Oliver CrawlingFirst off, thank you. Thank you for…well…everything. My job. My husband’s job. My benefits. His benefits. Our flexible hours. All of it. I am very humbled by what you have given your employees. I have spoken of it often-here and here and here. I know the reaction from a lot of working mom readers is “well that isn’t the norm.” And they’re right. It isn’t. I am one lucky woman to have all this. And while I have it made, it makes me so angry that other people can’t get with the program. Such a simple idea as “treat your employees with respect and you get quality work in return” seems like such a foreign concept for the majority of American companies. Thirty-five years of profit on this philosophy. How much more evidence does there need to be? But I digress. You know all this. You did it!

I just wanted to speak out on behalf of the working mothers of SAS. You have done right by us and I am eternally grateful.  While I am appreciative every day, from my 7 hour work day to my dinner being made by the cafeteria when I am in a hurry, today it really struck me. This gratitude comes after the following morning that would have been practically impossible anywhere else.

My husband dropped off my infant and I at onsite childcare (we carpool) and he went to drop off our other son at the subsidized daycare he attends. As I do every morning, I headed to the nursing room to feed my son. A problem arose this morning when that process wasn’t working (I won’t bore you with those details…but it was stressful). While I listened to my classical music in a dim lit room, I cried in front of my smiling happy infant. It was a hard morning. I had to help him but I also had to work. So what did I do? I whipped out my phone and called the healthcare center just 1/4 mile away from where I sat and asked for a lactation appointment as soon as I could get it. 11 am. Great. I fed my son a bottle, got a hug from his teachers and walked to my office (where my understanding manager was supportive of my being late). On my lunch break, I walked back to daycare and got my son to buzz over to healthcare for our appointment. The FNP talked with me, examined me, examined him and hopefully we have an answer. I then used the provided nursing room to weigh and feed my baby ( he’s doing fine, just in case you were wondering). I didn’t pay a dime out of pocket. I then got him back to daycare in less than 45 minutes…just in time for his lunch.

While it was a crazy Monday morning, THAT was worth its weight in gold. Within an hour I had peace of mind, a full baby and was on my way back to work. I literally had tears in my eyes for how grateful I am to have that. I immediately typed this out because I couldn’t stop it from flowing from my fingers.

So thank you again for making my life better. Hopefully one day, more employers will see the world like you do. It can’t come soon enough.

Brandy Mann


This was originally posted on Liberating Working Moms.

4 Month Old Sleep Regression

Wonder Week 19 aka 4 Month Sleep Regression

4 Month Old Sleep Regressionaka 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.

Trouble Sleeping
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.

  1. Is he fed?
  2. Is he wet/poopy?
  3. Is he bored?
  4. Is he tired?
  5. Is he hot/cold?
  6. Is he teething?

And you know none of these are right but something isn’t right with your snowflake. You start looking for blame:

  1. Go to the Dr. expecting an ear infection, cold…hell anything you can blame it on. GIVE ME MEDICINE TO FIX IT.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Related Links:

Wonder Week 19

4 Month Sleep Regression from Ask Moxie

4 Month Sleep Regression from Baby Sleep Site

The 4 Month Wakeful (Breastfed baby theory)


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!

Looking for help? The Baby Sleep Site is there for you. From personal sleep training consults to great articles, they know baby sleep. I am currently running a giveaway for one of their popular eBooks. Cmon by!

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