Thursday, December 10, 2009

What we're doing about the sleep thing and 4-month sleep regression

This boy loves his sleep. I have tons of photos of him sleeping. It's all I can do to resist kissing those cheeks...
Kendra, on the other hand, is not one for lots of sleep. And when she IS sleeping, I don't even venture near her cot - too scared of waking her - so this pic was taken by D.

Okay, so I promised to talk some about the sleep thing.

We all know the basic theory of sleep:

Make sure they get enough to eat during the day and they should sleep for long periods at night.


Except it's not so easy.

Because you can't force feed your kids. Believe me, I've tried and as you all told me a while back, they WILL only eat when they're hungry.

Right... so I've relaxed about that somewhat.

Then, as you know, Connor's been on solids for a month already and this week, we also started Kendra on cereal. She's not such a huge fan of the eating.... same deal with cereal... but at least she eats. This is a girl who eats to live, not lives to eat, like her mother :)

Which throws out the whole "you can only start sleep training if they eat 24 ounces (720 ml) in a day".

We are only comfortable doing our science experiments on Connor at this point. Kendra has 600-odd ml a day plus the one cereal feed. But the minute (the MINUTE) she hits 5 kg, we're going to start experimenting with her too.


I've now finished The Baby Sleep Solution and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins.

Not very impressed with Healthy Sleep Habits... maybe that's because I don't do the one down, both down thing.... I actually don't know how twin mothers do that. Or maybe my babies are just super-impatient.

Confession - I really don't mind being busy one baby after the other during the days. It gives me oodles of one-on-one time with each baby where we can kiss, smell their baby smells and whisper sweet nothings one to another (I know they're also telling me how much they love me).

Back to the books.

The Baby Sleep Solution, on the other hand, was excellent. I like people that get to the point and are practical. This book is just that. And you can read it in two hours which is great because none of us have time to read loads of theory.

I liked it so much I made D read it.

Now here's the problem.

D is a very by-the-book sort of person. I take what I want and leave the rest and so we're fighting a little about the means of implementing.

E.g. she says to feed the babies every 4 hours during the day. My babies have NEVER ever had a four-hour schedule. Connor might stretch to 4 hours now and again but never consistently. Now I can't see the harm of feeding every 3 hours (most of the time, during the day, they feed in bits and pieces so I think it'll be a challenge to even get them onto a solid 3-hour schedule) as long as they get as much milk into those bodies as possible. D wants us to strictly follow the book and move them (miraculously) from 2 to 4 hours.


Anyway, we'll sort it all out.

The one concept I LOVED (and I loved lots) in the book was this:
  • track your babies' night feeds for a week (we already had The Notebook so I started right away)
  • if your babies are waking up 3 times a night (as ours are, sometimes more!), they will naturally drink whatever they want at each of those feeds. Don't force them to drink more (as I had been doing) as the point is to eliminate the night feeds
  • usually of those 3 feeds, the middle feed is the least and this is the one that can get eliminated the quickest
  • follow their lead - if you make a bottle with 150 ml and they only drink 120 ml, NEVER again make 150 ml for that feed again.
  • for 3 nights, keep them on the reduced feed (that the baby set), then reduce by half an ounce (15 ml) for the next 3 nights, and so on, and so on, until that feed is GONE.
  • you MUST make up those ml during the day somewhere. I do it at the first morning feed as he is starving by then.
So far Connor is down to 75 ml on that middle feed. That's about 2 and a half ounces.

Although (BREAKING NEWS!)... in the last week,

  • Connor only woke twice during the night (we classify "night" as between 7 pm and 7 am) - Sunday night and then last night
  • For that first stretch, he's had two nights of 8 hr 30, one 7 hr, 6hr 35, 6hr and two 5 hr 30.
I hope this doesn't come back to bite me in the bum now that I've written this blog post......

Now Kendra, while not yet on the science experiments, has had one 8-hour, one 7-hour, one 6-hour and one 5-hour session in the last week.

So things are improving just a little bit.

Good thing too because this week at work I actually have to DO some work.

Would you believe that my old emails are restored but any that people sent me since July until Thursday are gone into cyberspace? It actually feels freeing but also slightly scary. Tomorrow I will contact all my clients to see if they've sent anything they actually want me to respond to! Fun and games :)

Also, interesting that all the good sleep nights have been with no night nanny. I'm actually glad in a strange (control freaky) way that we are now done with that as the babies sleep better for us than they do when the night nanny is here. And we now don't have to spend that money.

I mentioned to my MIL last weekend that this week was the last week (two nights) of night nanny. She goes, "why?!" I said, "because the money's run out!" I don't know why that's so strange to her because she seriously looked surprised. Money doesn't grow on trees and I'm not in the least blase about money, in fact, quite the opposite.


P.S. Mandy commented a few days ago and I'm posting her comment here

It's 2:00 in the morning here in Oregon and Josiah has decided to start waking up every 2 hours like he did as a newborn. He'll be 4 months old on the 22nd. Is this the 4 month sleep regression? Is he not getting enough food anymore? What do all your books say about this?! Help me!!! I need my sleep back!!! ;-)

Ha! I love that you think I'm a sleep expert, Mandy.

But usually with my babies, whenever they hit a growth spurt and need more food, the sleep goes all bonkers and I have to adjust something.

I haven't yet encountered anything in my books (!) about a 4-month thing but I have looked on blogs and I see that there is such a thing as the 4-month sleep regression. The "experts" say that it's usually things like teething, developmental spurts and so on...

Please chime in if you know more.

And now I need to go to bed - it's work tomorrow :)

P.S. Sorry about this but I had to enable word verification as I'm being spammed :(


  1. I'm so glad you have the patients to read! Now I don't have to!! I'm definitely trying the reduced feeding-eliminating night feeding, just as soon as we get over out "4-month regression". Our problem isn't so much waking in the night, it's waking super early-as in 4 a.m. It's only Emma, who recently has been nothing more than a giant fuss-pot! My good baby won't stop fussing and constantly needs to be held, I'm going insane! But I can definitely tell she is growing, she lost some of her chunkiness and grew 3 inches overnight-I SWEAR! You'll have to keep us updated on the sleep situation!

  2. You are becoming quite the sleep expert. I will admit the twins are reminding me what things were like when Phoebe was a baby. You get her to sleep for long stretches and then something pops up to mess that up: a cold, teething, growth spurt. Then you spend time trying to get them back. It took me 7 months to get Phoebe to sleep through the night.

    The boys were a little easier on me. I think it was 5 months they started sleeping through the night. At 6 1/2 months, they sleep about 12 hours a night 7 PM to 7 AM. And then they have their morning and afternoon naps. Phoebe never slept this good. I think someone upstairs is being good to me since there are two of them.

    And on the "put one down, put both down" thingy. We don't do so much. Liam usually wants his morning nap early, but Tommy can hold out longer. They both take a morning nap, but Tommy may go down 45 minutes after his brother. And I love the one on one time with them too. I love to smell their heads!

  3. Hi, K looks adorable in that pic :) Look at all the cute stuff surrounding the cute baby!

    My godkids (34 weeker twins) remind me of yours - the boy is a big 'bruiser' and the girl is more petite - by 9 months they were a couple of clothing sizes apart. HOWEVER they're now almost 8 and the girl is now almost as tall as the boy. You'd never know she'd been a petite wee thing for so long.

    The sleep logic r.e. the middle feed etc makes sense doesn't it? D did her first 7-7 sleep last night and it felt weird to be 'off duty' for that long.


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