The words I seem to repeat over and over again this month, are: “You grow up too fast.” How did it happen that my wrinkly newborn, who drowned in her nappy, is now suddenly playing with her feet, splashing in the bath, interested in colourful toys and laughing at herself in the mirror – all in just four, short months?
Many things have changed during the past season, not only concerning Mia’s growth and development but also within myself. Having a four-month-old in the house has stretched the gauge on my emotional tank and since Mia has gone through her four-month sleep regression, my tank is now on empty. Sleep deprivation is a fuel vaporiser.
I want to spend some time talking about sleep regression, because it can dramatically influence an entire household and it’s important to understand what it is and why it happens. Usually, at four months of age, your baby might experience a setback in his or her normal sleeping pattern – waking up more frequently, having irregular nap times, being fussier and fighting to go back to sleep. Sleep regression can last two to six weeks and it usually coincides with a leap in development. It might be a difficult time, but it’s a sign that your baby is going through the normal stages of development.
Babies tend to feed more when they are going through a sleep regression. It may seem that they are continually hungry, but remember that drinking is soothing to babies and because they are fussier than normal they will crave all their favourite soothing comforts. Many parents start with feeding solids at four months because they believe that their baby is fussy due to hunger and that their milk (breast or bottle) is not sufficient any more. That is not always the case and starting with solids is not always the answer to help your baby sleep better. The recommendation remains to start with solids after six months unless your paediatrician prescribes otherwise. I found these very insightful tips on babycenter.com, explaining the seven signs that indicate when your baby might be ready for solids.
Your baby is ready for solids when you observe the following aspects in his/her development:
- Your baby has proper head control
- Is starting to lose the tongue thrust reflex (the reflex that pushes food out of the mouth)
- Sits upright
- Makes chewing motions
- Has doubled in weight since birth
- Is at least 4 months old
- Seems hungry, even with 8-10 feeds
- Is curious about what you are eating
It can be quite hard to make such an important decision, especially on an empty emotional tank, but stand firm in the knowledge that no one understands your baby better than you. Remember that God knows the beginning and end of all. He knows what is best for your child and He gave that child to YOU for a reason. YOU are the best possible parent your child could ever ask for. Let that soak in…
MommaMia Tip: Everybody has an opinion and most people are not sensitive in voicing their thoughts. It can be very hurtful to listen to all of those opinions. Remember that it is only opinions. Smile and nod, then go on with your life. Hold onto the wisdom and guidance of those you trust. They will speak life into you and build you up.