Four Month Sleep Regression

2.26.10: Flashback to the newborn days


Something has got to give. I’ve been up with Jack approximately 27,000 times in the past few nights. I’ve seen every single hour flashing on the clock for too many nights straight. It’s been like having a newborn all over again: Jack wakes up every hour or so… I nurse him…he falls back asleep…we do it all over again…and again…for the rest of the night. He finally settles down a bit around 6 or 7 a.m., just in time for Charlie to wake up. (For those who have not had the pleasure of experiencing it firsthand, “Charlie waking up” is to “restful morning” as “atom bomb” is to “4th of July sparkler.”)

The days haven’t been any easier. Instead of taking his usual two naps, Jack has turned into a sleep grazer, cat napping for a few minutes here and there, then waking up screaming after his short little teaser stints. And just when I’ve exhausted—and I do mean exhausted—every hope of him ever taking a nap, he’ll tease me again with another ten minute snooze. I rock him in the rocking chair. I stick him in the car seat and swing him around. I put him in the swing and turn it on full-blast. I wear him in the Baby Bjorn. I drive him around in the car. No dice. This boy just will not sleep.
I’ve heard about four month sleep regression, but have no clear recollection of it with Julia and Charlie. (Maybe I just blocked it out? Maybe I was too sleep-deprived to notice?) Now, all I think about is: How can I get him unregressed? Or, rather, how can I get him post-regressed? After at least four all-nighters this week, compounded by four straight months of sleep deprivation, I’m so done. Seriously, stick a fork in me. (Or better yet, intravenous caffeine?)
I need to get to the bottom of what’s keeping this baby awake. I’ve been thinking:
  1. Ear infection?
  2. Teething?
  3. Developmental leap/growth spurt?
  4. Starvation?!

I’m constantly sticking my fingers in Jack’s mouth, groping around for any signs of an erupting tooth. I can’t feel a thing but Jack’s hard gums. I took him to the pediatrician, who ruled out an ear infection. She seemed to think that he’s either going through a developmental hurdle, where his brain is making such leaps and bounds that he can’t sleep at night, or that maybe he’s simply ready for solid food.

Have I been starving my now nearly 17-pound baby with our exclusive nursing? Will and I tried to give him a bottle of formula to test the hypothesis, which was a total bust. He turned his head right and left, crying, refusing to take the bottle until I broke down and just nursed him again. So, this weekend, we’re whipping out the video camera and whipping up Jack’s first ceremonial meal of pasty, gloppy rice cereal. Dear god, please let this tasteless, bland mess of a meal be the answer to my prayers. Otherwise, I’ve got to think: it’s a developmental hurdle that I’ve just got to wait out. Which I'm not sure I can.
Will a full belly equal a full night’s sleep? I’ll let you know next week.

Next Week: Adventures in solid food...