Before you have a baby, people warn you about how little sleep you'll get once they arrive. They make jokes like, "Better sleep now, because you will never sleep again!" and buy you coffee and concealer as a shower gift. But, while I was prepared to lose sleep in the newborn weeks, no one thought to warn me about the 4-month sleep regression. You see, the 4-month sleep regression tried to break me, and I may not make it out alive. At least not without lots and lots of coffee.
My first two babies didn't really experience a 4-month sleep regression, or a period of crappy sleep after sleeping through the night consistently. At least, not that I noticed, because they didn't sleep through the night consistently until they reached their first birthdays. So, I got used to babies and toddlers and me never sleeping. I often joke that motherhood is like a scientific experiment to see just how little sleep a human can endure and stay sane. For me, it's about three hours. (At least, I think I'm still sane. Considering that I decided to have another baby after the first two, the jury might still be out on that question.)
Then I had my youngest. After a few weeks of frequent nighttime feedings, he became such a good sleeper. So good, in fact, that I had to stop posting about it on Facebook because my mom friends were starting to hate me. I realize now that his sleeping through the night early was not a good thing at all. You see, about two weeks ago the 4-month sleep regression snuck in and attacked me like a ninja. It was so much worse than when he was a newborn, because not only did it catch me by surprise, but I'm back at work, have less time to sleep during the day, and actually have to function. It is so hard, you guys. I think I may die, because the 4-month sleep regression is killing me. For real.
It Caught Me By Surprise
When my lovely baby stopped sleeping at night, it totally caught me by surprise. On second thought, surprise is totally the wrong word (it sounds too awake and happy). What I really mean is that it came suddenly one night, like a soul-crushing ninja and after months of my son sleeping for seven to eight hours at a time. It was so much harder, I think, because I didn't expect it.
It Was So Discouraging
Sleep is life. Not being able to sleep, because your baby wakes up every 45 minutes or decides to party like a rock star at 2 a.m. feels like failure. It was so discouraging. I seriously started to doubt my ability as a parent. Where did I go wrong?
It Made Me Wonder If My Baby Would Ever Sleep Again
One night of no sleep is bad, two nights is worse, three nights is unbearable, and after that you start to lose hope that your baby will ever sleep again. Maybe after he's done teething? Or after he learns to roll over? Maybe never?
It Made Me Question My Sanity
There's a reason sleep deprivation is a torture technique, because it totally works. After a few nights of little to no sleep I started to hallucinate. Mostly after finally falling asleep and then imagining/dreaming that something horrible is happening that would jolt me back awake. Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Or do I just need a nap?
It Made Everything Feel Worse
Everything seems worse when you're sleep deprived. Seriously. My mind is fuzzy, what little sleep I get is in positions so awkward that I can't work out the kinks during the day, and my normally well-managed depression and anxiety is through the roof.
It Made Me Lose My Sh*t
After a couple of days of no sleep, I seriously started to lose my sh*t. I have lost it in the middle of the night, in the early hours of the morning, and at that point in the mid-afternoon when the caffeine stopped helping. I have lost my temper with my husband, my kids, and myself, too many times to count.
It Made Me Resort To Bad Habits
Sleep experts advise not creating what they call "sleep crutches" for your baby during a regression, like nursing, rocking, holding, or bringing them to your bed to sleep. They remind parents that "this too shall pass," and tell them to "stay the course," which makes this tired, overwhelmed mom roll her eyes. Easier. Said. Than. Done. I
have done just about everything to try to help my baby sleep over the past couple of weeks, including strapping him to me and pacing the house, and IDGAF. Judge me.
It Made Me Fall Asleep Randomly
Falling asleep randomly throughout the day and at odd hours is embarrassing, but it can also be dangerous. During my morning commute to teach sunrise yoga, my mind starts to drifts off and my eyes close. So I slap my cheeks awake and muddle through.
It Made Me Overdose On Caffeine
You have to understand that coffee and I previously had a special, almost spiritual relationship. I mean, with coffee all things are possible. All things apparently except, of course, surviving the 4-month sleep regression. I have learned that there is such a thing as too much coffee. Your heart races, your mind races, but somehow you aren't more alert. It's the worst. Coffee, I thought we were friends. 4-month sleep regression, you can go straight to hell.
It Made Me Feel So Helpless
I have started to wonder if I will ever sleep again. I mean, I know it won't be like this forever (right?), but right now it's so freaking bad I can't help but feel like this whole "no sleeping thing" will ever end. I gain solace in knowing that I made it through the baby years with two other children and eventually got some sleep. On the plus side, this is my last baby and the last time I have to face this particular period again.
BRB, I'm going to go hold my baby now.