Four Lessons from the Four-month Sleep Regression


Four Lessons from the Four-month Sleep Regression

This article is written by a mama who is living on coffee, carbs, and wine as her second child rounds the final corner of his four-month sleep regression. It’s soon to declare success, and every bedtime is still met with crossed fingers and prayers to anyone listening, but I want to share some thoughts that I’ve gathered during the late nights and early mornings in these past few rocky weeks as we figure out his sleep issues.

Before I share my thoughts with you, let me give you a little background information on me and my experiences with the boogeyman that is the four-month sleep regression. I am not a mother who was blessed with a unicorn baby who slept through the night at eight weeks like every other person on my Instagram feed. I felt completely alone and blindsided by my baby’s unpredictable sleep patterns. No one else seemed to be struggling like me. I was constantly on edge, couldn’t relax because I didn’t know when she would need me again and found this stupid regression stealing the joy from this precious stage of motherhood. I tried to accept that I would never sleep again and was fairly impressed with my ability to function on such broken sleep for weeks on end.

There is hope to this story, I promise.

My daughter eventually figured herself out, with a little encouragement and structure from me, and has turned into a very reliable sleeper. But, let me tell you, I went through the fire with her.

When we decided to have another baby, my thoughts about experiencing another round of poor sleep came flooding back. I know that sounds dramatic to some, but if you are a mama who struggled with horrific baby sleep, I think you can appreciate where I am coming from.

So, here we are. My sweet baby boy is in the thick of his sleep regression, and this mama is tired. But, let’s get to the point because my wine is running out and my baby could wake up any minute.

  1. Anxiety can’t control the outcome.

My son has been a better sleeper since birth. I know, that sounds strange since I’m writing this whole article about his poor sleep, but it is a fact. He would sometimes go five or six hours in a row without waking at night. This was completely glorious and unexpected, but I couldn’t enjoy it. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, finding myself slipping into the negative thought patterns that I had during the newborn stage with my daughter and dreading what was around the corner. But, let me tell you, he was going to go through this stage of his development whether I was worried about it or not. I have the power to lay a solid sleep foundation, but this is a milestone that will inevitably need to be crossed. No amount of anxiety could stop that.

  1. Use your network. They want to know how you’re doing.

During this time of crazy sleep, I started to make my social media work for me, not against me. I used my Instagram stories to track my unpredictable nights, and the messages of solidarity and encouragement flooded in. And, let me tell you, during these long, lonely nights, having the connection to my friends and family has been a game-changer. People know that I’m struggling but don’t necessarily have to ask for details because they are able to watch my daily documentation.

  1. Don’t lose hope that things can change.

I am an optimist by nature, but during this stage of his development, I can sometimes find myself feeling like I’m slipping into a black hole of despair. Again, sorry about the drama, but if you know, then you know. I started discovering that after a really rough night of sleep, the next night would be just a little bit better. Things can change. Things will change. Each day is a new day, and what happened yesterday doesn’t have control over what will happen in the future. Now, if that isn’t a lesson for every stage of life, I don’t know what is.

  1. You can do hard things.

Whether it is a four-month sleep regression, infertility, challenges with your partner or dealing with a global pandemic, you are stronger and more capable than you think. I know that is hard to believe right now, but it is absolutely true. I am doing something that feels incredibly hard every day, and despite having difficulty forming coherent sentences, I’m making it. Surviving – not thriving – but surviving nonetheless. Challenges force us to become more creative, simplify our routines, and focus on what is really important. This won’t last forever, I promise. Do what you need to do to get through.

Now, if you started reading this article expecting practical sleep tips to help you through this time with your baby, I hope you aren’t too disappointed. Trust and believe that you can find all the information you need on the internet (my favorite is Taking Cara Babies on Instagram). I hope my two trips around the four-month sleep regression provide some hope, encouragement, and a little bit of a reality check about what this stage can look like when you aren’t a perfect Instagram influencer. We will absolutely make it to the other side. Until then, I continue to be grateful for my coffee, wine, and carbs.


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