Friday, June 27, 2008

Newborn Sleep Schedule Part V, four months old

Owen is now 17 weeks and will be 4 months on July 1. His sleep has developed so well over the last four months. He is down to two night wakings and two long day naps and one shorter early evening nap. He sleeps a total of 4-5 hours over 3 naps during the day and 11 hours with two interruptions at night. We settled on a bedtime of 8:00 or 8:30 for him because if we go later, he gets REAL cranky no matter how much sleep he's had. He wakes up at around midnight and also 3AM-4AM. We are trying to cut out one of those awakenings by not nursing him but comforting him other ways. He doesn't eat that much at one or the other feeding so I know he's not that hungry. If I do two feedings then he's not hungry when he wakes up... so we're gently trying to shape his night sleep... keep reading

Things that have worked really well for us thus far:
1) a routine: I give him a massage (simple one) every night around the same time and then Dad gets into the bath with him (we have this huge garden tub so it's hard to use the baby bath unit) and plays. When he started using his hands to grab things (last 2 weeks) we put some ducks in the bath and it's really fun.
2) I nurse him before bed to make sure he's got a full belly and try to unlatch him before he's snoozing too hard. If he falls asleep I don't worry about it too much because he puts himself to sleep during the day all the time, so I know he's got that skill filed.
3) the sleep sheep by Cloud 9 or the sound machine. Sleep sheep goes off after 45 minutes which is good and Owen doesn't wake up when it goes off so it's not a sleep crutch. The sound machine stays on all night with some white noise but much softer than it was when he was younger. We live downtown so it can be a tad noisy with the train and dogs, people, music, etc.
4) protect his daytime sleep. I do whatever necessary to allow him AT LEAST 4 hours of daytime CRIB non-motion sleep each day. I put him down about 2 hours after he wakes up every morning and he goes down really easy, if I wait too long it can be a struggle.
5) keeping his bedtime consistent within 30 minutes.
We are hoping to get more serious about dropping one more feeding/awakening at night. The suggestions in the Sleep Lady book are REALLY helpful.

It's hard to find sample infant sleep schedules anywhere and the hardest thing for me was to figure out daytime sleep. Sleep Lady says babies don't have predictable daytime sleep until 4-5 months so just roll with it on a daily basis...

I have NOT opted for a strict Babywise schedule and I don't do a strict attachment parenting style either. I'm somewhere in the middle. He doesn't sleep with us at all anymore (since about 8-9 weeks) and takes all his naps in his crib and *GASP* he occasionally falls asleep in his car seat!! So, I do let him cry it out (he hardly EVER has to do this now) when if I know he needs sleep based on time, behavior, etc. Pretty soon I'm hoping a regular nap schedule will surface. It will be nice to have a predictable nap... until then our day looks something like this

7AM awake / nurse
9-9:30AM 1st nap, can last as long as 3 hours but usually more like 90 minutes
11:30AM-12:30 (depends on his 1st nap) playtime, walk, talk, play
1:30-2PM 2nd nap (usually he's up for 3 hours before 2nd nap)
3:30 playtime -- go out for a walk
5:00-5:30 3rd nap, can be as short as 30 minute or as long as an hour
7:30 bedtime routine
8:-8:30 Sleeps
12AM nurse 20 minutes
3-4AM nurse 20 minutes
7AM awake

When we've dropped the 3-4AM feeding --just this past week-- (he wakes up, I don't feed him) he cries and we get him back to sleep. I try to get him to make the stretch until at least 6AM. The first night we did this he cried on and off for an hour with me comforting him but not nursing... now he's doing better. I think he's adapting and eating more at night and in the morning. We are going to try this for 2 weeks straight and be consistent and see what happens...

The best thing is that he can go down during the day drowsy but awake at each nap and put himself to sleep, especially if you hit the magical sleep window. You can also pat his little butt back to sleep if he wakes up early from a nap or at night. Tonight we cut the routine out because we went to a party, but put him down around 8:30 still and he is sleeping great. I believe in being flexible when your schedule has been interrupted or else you end up a slave to your child's schedule; however, it's nice to have a routine to bounce back to for yours and your baby's sanity :)

I still have not slept more than 5 hours straight since March 1. I am just crossing my fingers each night that this is the night he sleeps 8 hours. I know he can do it :)


Cameron Clark Photography said...

P.S. He just had his best night EVER!! Slept from 8PM-1AM and then from 1:25AM-6:45AM! ONE NIGHT WAKING. Now we're talking!

Ashley Allman said...

Thanks for posting about sleep. My mind has been racing about getting a good (but flexible) schedule going as early as possible. I haven't even started this ride yet, and I'm already obsessed with how to get a good night's sleep! :)