Sleep Slave

No caption necessary.
Where’s the baby in this picture?

I’ve got a conundrum.

Daphne is currently going through the 4-month sleep regression a week early (which makes sense because she was 5-days late). The night before last she was up every 3-hours, then bright eyed and bushy tailed for the day at 5:00 AM. We had a lovely several weeks there where my darling D was sleeping for 8-hour stretches. Even after “the transfer.”

What’s the transfer? Well it’s not related to fertility treatments for a change. And it’s the reverse of what most parents probably do. When Daphne falls asleep at approximately 8 PM in her crib in her room each evening, Merp and I relish our adult time (get your mind out of the gutter). At 10 or 11 PM we transfer her FROM HER CRIB TO OUR ROOM where she slumbers in the co-sleeper for the rest of the night. Having her close means it’s easy-ish to scoop her up into my arms and nurse her back to sleep when she stirs. It also means I can obsessively check on her several times a night. But therein lie the problems. I check on her A LOT. AND She stirs EVEN MORE. And is she really hungry 3 times a night? But I feel guilty when I just pop the bink back in her mouth, because baby girl is SKINNY! Shouldn’t I nurse on demand?

There’s so much out there about baby sleep. Babywise. Healthy Sleep, Happy Child. Baby Whisperer. Countless blogs and books claim they have the cure. A friend shared this blog with me about all the contrary advice out there. It’s enough to make any new parent go BONKERS. Straight jacket CRAZY from confusion. And then I read this other blog (it’s actually an email blast, but whatever) about the 4-month sleep regression, it also discussed sleep issues for older children too, which said it’s all normal, but that parents should beware of stuff like this:

“If you introduce a new nighttime feeding, for example, you might be forming a new, unnecessary habit.”

Oh no!

Usually when we do the transfer, I “dream feed” Daphne before setting her back down in the cosleeper. I then spend an hour googling weird topics before drifting off to sleep myself. Well last night we decided to try something new.

I detached the co-

sleeper from my bed and moved it a few feet away. I reasoned that she’d still be in our room, but I wouldn’t hear every fart or gurgle and she wouldn’t be kept up from the glow of my googling. She went down at 8, but guess when she woke up? 10:45 PM, exactly when we typically do the transfer. I fed her and she went back to sleep after a bit of a struggle for 6-wonderful hours, a huge improvement from the night before.  But the questions remain.

My nanny and others have said that babies develop an increased awareness around 4-months old, which we are already seeing. Daphne is HERE. She hears you. She sees you. She’s VERY interested in the world. With this awareness comes a sensitivity to the sleep environment, meaning that Daphne will begin to differentiate between the crib and the co-sleeper. She naps beautifully in her crib (if you call 45-minute naps beautiful, and I do because at least they’re predictable), but I really like having her in our room at night for these reasons:

1. It feels right (for me, for sure, but how does SHE feel?).

2. I’m close to her in case she IS hungry, wet, scared etc.

3. I can check on her constantly.

4. When work starts next week and I have less time with her, at least we’ll be able to cuddle in the early AM and in the middle of the night as needed.

5. I won’t have to walk down the hall to see her.

Though let’s consider the positives of keeping her in her room all night long:

1. She’s young enough now that perhaps it will make it easier to keep her there as she continues to wake-up to her environment.

2. She won’t be kept awake by the noises in our room – dogs barking randomly, Merp and I whispering, and phones accidentally going off because they weren’t turned on silent. But in what crazy world are dogs allowed in the room, but children aren’t?

3. More room in her crib for her to grow/roll/get comfortable as my tall baby already seems to be too long for the co-sleeper.

4. She’ll learn to self-soothe sooner. Maybe?

5. She’ll be an indepenent toddler who doesn’t sleep with mommy and daddy. Maybe?

I’m just not sure what to do, guys. Do I prepare to move the Pack n’ Play in our room so she has more space to sprawl? Do I pick a date, say at 4.5 months, and make the transfer out of our room for good?

With work fast approaching, this sleep stuff is stressing me out. Help!

 

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22 comments

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  1. jebhow515

    My bestie and I were discussing this and decided #1 you have to do what feels right for you and #2 you never know what that is until the time comes…and sometimes not even then. So try it one night and see how it feels. If it doesn’t feel right, change something until it works for you. I get it! My baby boy will be forced to co-sleep until college bc I cannot stand to be far away from him but agreed I hear his ever toot, wiggle and coo all night long and it wakes me up every hour or so to check on him. Luckily I still feel mostly rested so its still working for us. In two months that may change though. May the force be with you! You have got this!

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    • Steph Mignon

      Thank you for this comment. I am leaning toward continuing to let her keep sleeping in our room. I just love having us all in the same room! Though I hope I don’t regret this later… We shall see!!!!

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  2. journeyformybaby

    I had this exact same issue!! I would check my WP reader every night and the light would disturb Tru in his co-sleeper. He would also wake up randomly all night and be up for hours!!! The 4 months sleep regression was a living nightmare as I could barely function any more. My Aunt suggested that maybe he was ready for a bigger bed. I moved him into the pack and play and what do you know? Practically cured him. I really think he was needing the space. The thing is though, here we are at almost 10 months and starting the issues again. I know it is time for a bigger bed again i.e the crib but…. mommy isn’t ready yet!!!

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  3. Lauren

    In just as confused and have no idea what we are doing! For now, the pack n’ play is in our room and I feed her whenever she happens to wake up 🙂 I wouldn’t even know four-month sleep regression if it was upon us 🙂

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    • Steph Mignon

      Your comment made me laugh out loud! Right!? I only know about it because my birth class mommies have babies a few months ahead of me so I’ve been learning from them… About to go read your post. Can’t wait to see what’s going on in your world!

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  4. Daryl

    I’m right there with you! Baby girl has never been a great sleeper, and this 4-month regression is kicking my ass! And all the “advice” is so confusing (that blog post is right on). She’s in the bassinet right next to me for now, but she’s outgrowing it quickly. We’re looking at getting a mini crib so she can stay in our room (a regular crib is too big for pretty much anywhere in our apartment). We had a good run of about 10 days where she was going to sleep earlier and sleeping about 8 hours straight (including a dream feed before I went to bed). The past 2 nights she’s back to fighting sleep HARD and waking up at 2 or 3. She’s actually sleeping on me right now because she was refusing to nap and had been up waaay too long. Sorry for the novel-length comment. I don’t know the answer, but if you figure it out, let me know!

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    • Steph Mignon

      I actually appreciate the novel length because essentially our baby girls are exactly the same age so it’s good to know that what Daphne is going through is normal! Seems like I’m not the only one who wants my baby girl close too… It just feels right. 🙂 BUT we shall see how right it feels when I have to be to work by 8… :/

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    • Steph Mignon

      Right!? Like so so sooooo far away. With each person who shares that their baby is still in the room with them, I find even more resolve to keep D in ours… 🙂 Awe 2 months, seems like a year ago!

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  5. redbluebird

    I should definitely not be giving any sleep advice, as I have one of the world’s worst sleepers. The longest E has ever slept is 6 hours, and that happened exactly once.
    But– she needs a lot of help soothing (kicks and flails herself awake every hour unless I help settle her) and I want her close. I kept her in the cosleeper much longer than I should have (she was busting out of that thing), but now I’ve moved the crib into our room and next to our bed! It totally doesn’t fit and our room looks ridiculous, but it was the only transition I was OK with and the one that allows me the most sleep (which isn’t very much). Next, we’ll move the crib across the room but will likely keep her in our room for an entire year.

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  6. nickeecoco

    Haha, dogs allowed in bed. I was discussing this exact issue with my husband recently! We are totally those people who let their dogs sleep in their bed (so useful in winter!) and it seems funny that we plan to transition Bayliss out of our room soon. Honestly though, for us it makes sense because she is so easily disturbed. It’s not fair that we are stirring, coming/going, etc. while she is trying to sleep. I still like having her nearby though. I’ve heard from many moms that “sleep training” if that’s what you choose, is less about baby being ready and more about Mom. We will cross that bridge though when we come to it.

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    • Steph Mignon

      It is totally about Mom! Daphne sleeps soundly having no idea I’m obsessively checking on her… All the girls’ in my birth class have already transitioned their little ones. I’m the only one who struggled with infertility though so maybe that has something to do with it…

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  7. YeahScience!

    I agree with Nickee – it’s totally about the mom. Babe will be fine no matter what. The majority of babies do quite well sleeping on their own, in a crib, in a separate room, so although my advice is “do whatever feels right,” my personal experience says, “get her in the crib!” We sleep-trained Max around 4.5 – 5 months and did a bit of cry-it-out but now we all sleep GREAT. And I really love not having to tip-toe into our bedroom at night and verrrrrry slowly crawl into bed without making a noise. It just seems like everyone is more relaxed this way. We were recently away at a cottage and Max didn’t deal well with the transition into a pack-n-play in a laundry room, so I ended up having to co-sleep with him — I totally understood at that point why so many moms love it because how lovely to snuggle with a warm little babe and listen to his soft breathing and wake up staring into each other’s eyes… but at the same time, we both slept TERRIBLY!

    Ultimately, though, I do believe that sleeping (and self-soothing) is a skill that one must learn at some point, it’s just a matter of when you feel like you’re both ready to begin the process…

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    • Steph Mignon

      I need sleep SO bad. I’m thinking I’ll shoot for 5 months to do something about it. I’m just not ready yet 🙂 And I know what you mean about having baby in the bed… any time I’ve tried that as a way to get her to go down faster it’s back fired. She just thinks it’s play time!

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