Unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you are all aware of COVID-19 and are living in isolation like the rest of us. What a crazy time we are in, what a crazy time to be parents in.
I am not a doctor or expert so you won’t be getting any scary updates or facts around the 'Rona from me, but since we are all at home with our bubble buddies, I thought I’d share the things my bubble are up to. Because although these days can be scary, uncertain and downright frustrating at times; it’s also nice to share some positive stories of what we are doing to pass the time.
For me lockdown has coincided with another scary time for new parents...dun dun dunnn “the four month sleep regression” ... jealous of my bubble?
Henry has always been a fantastic sleeper. He just loved his sleep and he’d sleep anywhere, anytime. He was the perfect office buddy because in the early day's when Henry would stop in to visit his New Edition ladies he would happily nap while I got some work done. He loved his day naps and slept mostly through the night. Well until about a week ago anyway...
So what better time to change up our entire routine than when I have my husband home all day and all night to help, and he cannot use “but I’ve got work in the morning” as an excuse. This stay at home mum gig isn’t as easy as it looks, babe?
So after diving deep into Google, Facebook mum groups and getting some rather conflicting advice from friends and family, I thought I’d share a few tips on what we have done to combat the 4-month sleep regression. Because so far, we seem to be winning (do not quote me on that one).
Henry has been sleeping in our room, in his Snuzpod since he was born. I always thought I would have my perfect little baby sleeping soundly next to me ‘till he was able to sit up and the bassinet was no longer suitable. This was pre-actual-baby me of course. But I soon realized he not only snored (so loud for such a little person) but he grew, fast! It took me a little while to accept he was moving into his own room but the night we moved him, he loved it. After going from sleeping right through for months, to waking sometimes 4/5 times a night this past week, he had a near-perfect night sleep.
Honestly, the best investment I made for Henry moving into his cot, was a Woolbabe Duvet Sleeping Bag. The day it arrived I loved it so much I bought the 3-Season Sleeping Bag as well. If you have a little one who is waking often, it may be because they are getting cold in those early morning hours. I would highly suggest one of these sleeping bags. While not cheap you will use it every night!
The last four months we haven’t had much of a daily routine. Night-time has always been very similar and Henry has thrived having that. However daytime I was very much on the vibe ‘he is so small and this time passes so quickly that if I sit for 5 hours on the couch under a sleeping feeding baby, I’m cool with that’. We just went with the flow of Henry. He slept mainly in the lounge and loved the sound and being amongst the action. Come four months, we have now put in place a loose daytime routine and so far, so good.
He also is now interested in everything around him, especially TV (definitely my child). So we have now moved his evening feed into his room where he and I spend 30-40 minutes feeding in dim light and quiet before bed. This helps him wind down and associates his room with sleep. This is also my favourite time for him and I, and is a special few moments for me to relax as well.
We don’t use the ‘cry it out’ method (not judging anyone’s choices - your baby, your situation) but as our new routine has fallen into place, if Henry wakes outside of his usual wake times I help him self-settle by placing my hand on his chest (where he grabs my hand - kills me every time) and pat his tummy/chest lightly until he settles back to sleep. This allows him to settle on his own but knowing I am there. We are all for cuddles around here so if the old hand pat doesn’t cut the mustard I will cuddle him for a few moments and he usually drifts off to sleep straight away.
What I have found is that 4pm nap is crucial for the way our bedtime routine goes. Keep it short (30 mins or so) but that time between 4-7pm is when I find Henry becomes grumpy and unsettled which can flow through to bedtime if we skip that 4pm snooze. It also can lead to Henry falling asleep at 6pm which isn’t ideal either. Ensuring we have that 4pm cat nap by either walking around the block or front packing around the house, for us, seems to be a game-changer.
While there are certain things all babies should be doing, no two babies are the same. I have a wonderful coffee group/group chat and I think what we all learnt fairly quickly is how different our babies are, yet they are all still meeting their milestones and thriving in their own way. Henry is a cat-napper, his day sleeps last usually between 30 - 90 mins, and does his big sleep at night. As long as he’s getting his 3 naps in the day he’s happy. So don’t worry if Jenny down the road’s baby is sleeping 2 hours 3x day like the chart says, because just like us, all babies are all different.
Henry loves to walk in his pram (as I am sure most do) so I try to do our midday nap out walking. Great for the two of us and the dogs.
While we have a routine we try to stick to, if things come up or some days don’t go to plan, don’t worry too much about it. Keeping Henry’s bath, feed and bedtime is really important to me, so he feels happy when going to bed and has a good sleep. However some days our routine above adjusts and that’s ok. I find when I am chill, this flows through to Henry.
The best advice I got for this tricky time with Henry and his changing sleep pattern, is just help him through it as best you can and go with the flow. What works today might not work tomorrow so just try to stick to your routine as best you can and comfort your baby. Their brains are rapidly growing in a big world and they need cuddles and support more than anything.
At the moment, the fact we are going through such a crazy and uncertain time with Coronavirus, trying to see the positives is something I am focusing on daily. We are lucky to be home with Henry during this time and can give our full attention to him during his regression. Lots of extra love, cuddles and kisses are never a bad thing anyway!
Don’t worry guys, we’ve got this!
(These suggestions are from personal experience. If your baby is unsettled, upset or you feel something is wrong please contact your doctor or LMC)
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