By the looks of when I last blogged it’s safe to say it’s been a busy month over here! I feel like Grace took the biggest leap this month in terms of growth and yes…we’ve hit that sleep regression. Well we kind of hit a bit earlier than 4 months and it’s lasted about a week (I think we’re coming out of it now). More on that below answering your Q&A!
I can honestly say this month, while it’s been tiring (we were in a good sleep groove pretty much since she’s been 4 weeks), has been so much fun. Grace started giggling and it was the best thing my ears have heard in a long time (probably since her first cry). I could not wait for when she’d start to laugh! She is always smiling at us and truly lights up our days. Nothing better than that. My cheeks hurt from laughing with her.
She has also started kicking up a storm, just about everything goes in the mouth (we think her gums have begun getting sore in prep for teething) and trying to wiggle during tummy time. We got a subscription to Lovevery (and bought their play mat we can use up until she’s a year old) which are play kits that help with baby’s development. That’s been a time saver as well as giving us some structure and fresh ideas with what to do with her during her awake windows. Keeping her stimulated while helping her developmentally was something I wanted to be intentional about and I love that Lovevery is a mix of Montessori, Waldorf and neuroscience. Above all those things though, she just loves when we sing and read to her. It’s so sweet how she pays attention and smiles remembering certain parts of the song she loves. We’ve had so much fun with our Gracie girl.
The 4 Month Sleep Regression
A few other things have changed, notably the 4 month sleep regression. Our girl was sleeping 10-11 hours straight since she’s been 10 weeks (before that she’d do long stretches but you can’t let them go too long when they’re little, you can read my previous month recaps for what we did during the newborn stage). So, we got quite comfortable sleeping (and my body did too in terms of holding the breast milk). I got my period back in the middle of month 3, since Grace was sleeping a long stretch every night. I was kind of bummed because I was hoping that because I was breastfeeding my period wouldn’t come back for a while, but it’s more dependent on how much you are feeding, so with less night feeds my body/hormones triggered ovulation again. My milk supply got adjusted to this as well being able to hold the milk longer without leaking or aching which has been nice because it was process (I often felt engorged and couldn’t wait for her to wake up which in turn didnt help me get sleep). So as babies develop and progress, their sleep can regress. During the day she’ll sleep about an hour, then be up for two (and repeat). We do age appropriate wake windows (you can google this) to avoid her getting overtired and to ensure that she gets good sleep at night as well. By 4 months, it’s 110-120 minutes of awake time.
We get Grace down for her long stretch of sleep around 7:30pm and then she’d be up for her feed at around 6am but last week she was getting up around 2am, 3am, 4am and Neal would go into her room to intervene to help her get back to sleep. That’s another new thing around here, we moved Grace’s bassinet into her nursery now as she started to become more aware of her surroundings. We use a sound machine, soother, and she stays swaddled in her SNOO with light movement rocking back and forth as our tools. We try to do as little intervention as possible so she can learn to soothe herself back to sleep and most of the times this works, but we have the other tools to assist her. Usually it’s just a subtle whine from disturbed sleep but of course if she’s crying out, then that means it’s time for a feed and because I am breastfeeding exclusively (no bottles, so not knowing how much she’s actually getting) I pay extra attention to ensure she never goes hungry and we follow this schedule. We just listen and watch for her cues. Sometimes she just wakes up and needs help going back to bed and to know she is safe. We wake up at night as well but we can soothe ourselves back to our sleep, whereas babies can’t always.
We’re continuing to stick to our program of wake windows and how we’ve soothed her back to sleep and she’s coming out of the regression more and more each night (less wake ups). Neal and I just keep staying consistent and we know as she develops things will change and she will have different needs and that is OKAY!
This is the first time we got some big smiles during our monthly shoot and we’re all quite excited about it 🙂
What advice would you give your pregnant self?
Hmm…I followed a lot of my own advice while pregnant and advocated for myself HARD. I had some upsetting moments with my OB (I’ll keep that private for now). I think having the tools I had, with the information I had, I can honestly say I am so proud of myself for how I navigated everything from the climate in the world, changing rules etc. I do wish I didn’t stress so much over Lucy with the baby because she’s been amazing. I’d say just keep leaning into your intuition Stephanie!
How do you up your milk supply? Anything you eat or drink to help?
I haven’t run into supply issues but I do try to stay hydrated well, rest, keep stress low and nourish myself. I have a lot of oats in my diet as well which is great for milk supply (make oatmeal, overnight oats, lactation cookies – you can google recipes). I also sometimes sip on Earth Mama’s Milkmaid Tea – it has a yummy, soothing taste and I enjoy it with honey before bed when I want something warm. I don’t drink it every night though! Don’t hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant, postpartum doula or a naturopath to see what supplements you could take to help.
Any pelvic floor or muscles aches?
I’m happy to report this has been improving, though I can still feel aches down there randomly. The rest of my body now definitely has aches though…haha. Holding a baby in your arms, nursing positions, walking around and rocking is hard on your knees, arms, wrist — everything! Unavoidable. I finally booked myself a postpartum massage last month and it was glorious!! She checked my hips and pelvic area and said those looked good as well, I just wanted to make sure as I had a long three hours of pushing, haha. I walk daily and try to stretch when Grace goes down for her first nap.
Are you finding you’re always hungry/snacking due to breastfeeding?
In the beginning, definitely! Now I would say I have a normal hunger, which for me I always preferred snacking throughout the day or smaller frequent meals. I’m not going to lie some days in the morning I get so busy I look at the time and it’s 11 am and I haven’t eaten anything! Trying not to do that and be mindful about nourishing myself. I was so on it in the first three months, but I’ve definitely let things slide a bit. Just important to re-evaluate and adjust what’s working and what’s not and my nourishment is a priority I can’t let slip. This month was a great reminder to put that first. I’m glad Neal reminds me and is the best chef who has most of my food prepared!
Have you considered pumping/bottle feeding to support feeding bond between dad and baby?
I think every family chooses what is right for them and this isn’t something Neal or I would implement while breastfeeding exclusively (which is something only one of us can do, lol). Neal is home with us full-time and gets so much time as a dad to bond with his daughter, time we know not as many dad’s have as they’re usually the ones at work while the mama is on maternity leave at home. We’re both working parents (from home) and full-time stay at home parents (I’d say those are two jobs right there). We share a lot of responsibilities but feeding isn’t one of them at this time.
Have you had any hair loss issues or baby hairs growing in? Any products to help?
I have noticed a little bit of hair loss but nothing drastic. I stayed on my prenatal supplement which has iron and good while breastfeeding (I take this one) so I think that has helped, but who knows!
Have you experienced “witching hour?”
So I never liked that word and I even told Neal we should never use this term…but now I get it haha! Usually the last nap before the long stretch of sleep is the one Grace has the hardest time with. Every other nap is generally really easy with her, but for some reason the one around 4/5pm is the one she struggles with but again she’s just a sweet little babe and just has needs. So instead, we usually opt for a long walk in the stroller for fresh air to get her nice and tired rather than trying to put her down when she’s more fussy. Then when she wakes up I feed her, we bathe her, read her a quick little book and then it’s off to dreamland! Grace only cries badly if she’s overtired or in pain (like stomach gas/teething gums) so we know if something is off with her.
Where is the baby sleeping now? Still in her bassinet?
Grace still sleeps in her SNOO bassinet, but we did move the bassinet into her nursery as of 3.5 months. She was beginning to notice us in the bedroom so we transitioned her into that room before she got too aware. We have the door closed slightly and a camera to keep an eye when she goes down and then when Neal and I go to bed we keep our door open and hers so we can hear her over the sound machine. At around 6 months we will transition her from the bassinet into her crib officially and wean her off the SNOO.
Awake Times and Activities?
At 4 months we aim for about 2 hours of awake time (which is her appropriate wake window for her age). She was usually a 1.5 hour awake time gal for the past few weeks, again we look for her cues and try not to have an overtired baby which makes it harder to put them down for a nap. We switch up her activities during awake time, so a little swing time, tummy time for about 15 mins, letting her lay on her back on her play mat to bat at her hanging toys and kick around freely, reading books, singing songs and using her activities from the Lovevery play kits we’re subscribed to that are appropriate for her age. We also like to go for walks out in the stroller 1-2x a day with Lucy (a little family walk).
She started laughing and it is the best sound!!!
How do you and Neal share parenting roles?
Neal and I split almost everything! It’s been so helpful as a new mom, who doesn’t have maternity leave and is still working to have this support. I’m grateful Neal and I are partners in life with everything – marriage, parenthood and work. Neal changes diapers, does awake time activities with Grace, puts her down for naps, helps soothe her back to sleep during the night and then we give her a bath every night together which is a sweet unwind routine we have. We take turns or do things together with Grace, but he is very very involved!
Are you planning to sleep train?
Grace has already been following a “schedule” since she was 4 weeks old and we use the SNOO which helped a ton in the beginning. We follow the TCB program my cousin recommended and basically walked us through without having to get the course ourselves (lucky us) — she had her baby 3 months before us and has helped us with so many tips!! Super grateful for that because it has worked really well for us.
Would love to know your daily routine with baby including nighttime routine!
I think I’ll definitely do a dedicated post on this to go into depth but basically I feed her early at 6am then put her back down for a nap and then we are up for the day at 8am with wake windows being two hours at a time, an hour nap and then up again. We do this until it’s time for her long stretch of sleep around 7-8pm but just before that we bathe her every night. Creating a routine for Grace has given her consistency and she’s always been a content baby. We also stay home a lot which I think helps when establishing a routine, but we know she is still able to take naps when we are out (let’s say if we bring her over to our parent’s homes for a visit). We just bring her swaddle and portable sound machine!
Daddy’s girl! We have loved enjoying this fall season with our baby girl. So excited for next year when she’s running around but it’s still just as sweet.
Four Month Favourites…