We are finally rounding out the mother of all “leaps.” Leap 4. If you don’t know what a leap is (I had no clue before having Ryker), it is a sudden change in mental development. According to the Wonder Weeks app, these leaps are predictable and occur around the same age in most healthy children. The Wonder Weeks app lets you know when your child is entering a leap and estimates how long it will last. Leap 4 is a grueling 36 days and characterized by the three C’s: Crying, Cranky, and Clingy. It is also coupled with the infamous 4 month sleep regression. Developmental leaps and sleep regression hit babies differently, some more severely than others. For Ryker, the previous leaps were a breeze, but leap 4 was a mother…
Ryker was and still is an awesome napper during the day, but was never the best sleeper at night. He averaged a 4 hour stretch for the first half of the night, and then up to feed every 2-3 hours afterwards. Occasionally, we would get 5-6 hour stretch and that was amazing. Overall, it wasn’t horrible and I was getting used to it. But as soon as leap 4 hit, it seemed he immediately stopped sleeping. He was getting up every 1-2 hours to feed, and would have a hard time falling back asleep afterwards. He tossed and turned and would break into a cry if I didn’t pick him up or if the binky fell out of his mouth. I started resorting to cosleeping for the second half of the night as it was the only way for myself to get rest. I should also mention he started teething. I was also transitioning him out of the swaddle. In hindsight, it was probably bad timing, but he was starting to break out of the swaddle after only a few hours anyway so IDK.
I was on a mission to fix this sleeping issue. To have a 4 hour stretch again sounded heavenly in comparison to his new situation. I decided to try anything and everything I could think of short of sleep training him in his own crib/room (Just not ready for that yet). I did some googling and also reached out on social media for help and received a ton of feedback! I am forever grateful for my friends and this little instagram community for sending me tips. I immediately implemented everything I learned. However, the hard truth about this leap (at least for us) is that it requires patience…and coffee. LOTS of coffee. I know it’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s true. While these tips definitely helped, I regret to say nothing was a magic fix. It wasn’t until we started reaching the end of this leap that he’s starting to consistently sleep longer. But, trying different things felt better than doing nothing. I specifically feel that the sleep suit and the bedtime routine were the biggest help. But enough explaining, here is everything we tried:
- Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit: This is an awesome transition piece after swaddling if your baby has overactive arms and hands like Ryker. At first I tried swaddling him one arm out, and then with armless sleep-sacks like the Nested Bean one but it was just too much freedom at once. Due to the thickness and stiff (ish) structure of the sleep-suit, his arms are still slightly restricted. I think there’s also something to be said about the weight of the fabric. It’s not technically a weighted suit, but I can imagine it must be cozy and comforting in there. Like having the comforters on you. When I put Ryker in it, I can immediately see him calm down similarly to how he reacted to being swaddled. *Disclaimer: I wouldn’t advise using the sleep-suit if your baby is really good at rolling over. There’s a potential they could get stuck on their stomachs which could be dangerous.
- Bedtime Routine: I probably should have started one earlier, but better late then never! Our current routine is bath, massage, story time, feed, bed. I start the routine around 7pm every night and put him to bed by 8. We’ve been sticking to this routine religiously for a few weeks now and I think it helps.
- Johnson’s Bedtime Bath: I heard from several people that this stuff helped them. I use the cleanser, and then the lotion for his massage afterwards.
- Hylands Baby oral pain relief tablets: I use the night time ones. Both Travis and our babysitter (as well as myself) have noticed a difference when we use these.
- Night time gripe water: I don’t use it every night, just if he seems extra fussy.
- Baltic Amber Teething necklace (during the day): I only use this during the day to help his teething symptoms and take it off during sleep (due to choking/strangulation hazards). I figure if he’s more comfortable during the day, he’ll sleep better at night…