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Thread: Nearly4 mo - growth spurt, poor napping and long feeds?

  1. #1

    Default Nearly4 mo - growth spurt, poor napping and long feeds?

    Lots of questions about the 3-4 mo transition. Just want to make sure I'm not creating / reinforcing bad habits...

    Up to about 3 mos, my baby's feeding and napping was pretty predictable.

    Shortly after 3 mos (coincided with our first flight) he started napping poorly - very hard to put down and he would wake shortly crying. I chalked it up to jet lag and not being in a familiar environment. When we were back home and adjusted, things got better, but still not as reliable as before the 3 mo mark. He's still much harder to put down than before, and his naps are short - 30-45 mins. Sometimes he wakes up after only 20 mins. We've been having to resort to walking him where we never had to before. He was sleeping through the night regularly before, he's doing it still but occasionally waking up, and also earlier in the morning.

    Feeding has changed as well - there have been spurts of much more frequent feeding (assumed this was the 3 mo growth spurt) but at this point it's been several weeks of this. He also seems to be getting less efficient eating than more - sometimes he's distracted, other times he makes an "uhhhhn" sound throughout, and in general takes a loooong time to finish. I invariably have to just take him off as he never gives it up on his own as he did before. And in the 1-2 hours leading up to bedtime, he's practically eating for 1.5 hours straight. I just keep switching him from side to side - somehow I continue to have let downs. He seems hungry as he will cry if I take him off and when he's sated I can finally put him down.

    I've heard if both the 3 mi growth spurt and the 4 mo sleep regression - looking for tips on whether I should try to put baby on more of a routine? Does anything I'm doing seem just plain wrong?

    I feed on demand but up till now Ive tried to keep a regular routine for naps.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Nearly4 mo - growth spurt, poor napping and long feeds?

    Hi and welcome to the forum! Welcome also to your jetsetting baby son!

    If up to 3 months, your baby's nursing and napping schedule was pretty predictable, I would say THAT is what it unusual!

    It sounds to me as if your baby is a 100% normal baby. Babies typically prefer to be comforted to sleep one way or another, (nursing to sleep often works well, but walking, rocking, swaying, singing, bouncing, etc. etc. and also often part of the mix. A soft carrier like a sling or wrap often helps if baby is hard to settle.

    Also, many babies often will not sleep very well if left to sleep on their own. How does baby sleep if left to snuggle on you or someone else while you relax? Where does baby sleep? Do or would you co-sleep? If you would like more info on that, let us know.

    Sleeping through the night, depending on how that is defined, is also not typical for this age. Some 3 month olds may sleep about a 5 hour stretch fairly regularly, and that is considered "through the night." But many will not do that until closer to one year of age, and some not until well past one.

    Feeding has changed as well - there have been spurts of much more frequent feeding (assumed this was the 3 mo growth spurt) but at this point it's been several weeks of this. He also seems to be getting less efficient eating than more - sometimes he's distracted, other times he makes an "uhhhhn" sound throughout, and in general takes a loooong time to finish. I invariably have to just take him off as he never gives it up on his own as he did before. And in the 1-2 hours leading up to bedtime, he's practically eating for 1.5 hours straight. I just keep switching him from side to side - somehow I continue to have let downs. He seems hungry as he will cry if I take him off and when he's sated I can finally put him down.
    I cannot speak to the sounds, but otherwise, This is normal, assuming baby is gaining ok. Is baby gaining ok, as far as you know? No issue with milk production as far as you know? (Please note, normal weight gain rate typically slows after about 3 months.)

    I've heard if both the 3 mi growth spurt and the 4 mo sleep regression
    IMO, Growth spurt and sleep regression are just fancy (and I think) misleading ways of saying "babies do not nurse or sleep the same as other babies, nor do they sleep the same as they used to, this happens all the time and we don't know why." Yes I know it is controversial to say there is no such thing as growth spurts, and that is not what I am saying ,exactly. What I am saying is entirely too much is made of them. And I am saying there is no such thing as sleep "regression" at 4 months because there is no such thing as sleep "progression" in a newborn!
    My point is it is a myth that nursing frequency gradually and steadily decreases and that sleep duration gradually and steadily increases as young baby ages. There are lots of ups and downs and backs and forth and variations in between. All normal.
    but up till now Ive tried to keep a regular routine for naps.
    Why? Is this something you need to do for your own schedule (work, other responsibilities) or is there some other reason?

    looking for tips on whether I should try to put baby on more of a routine?
    I've probably made this obvious but no, I do not see any need nor benefit to putting a 4 month old on a routine. You can have a routine, but it will probably be much less frustrating if you base your routine more on less on what your baby is doing at the time, which will probably change.

    Does anything I'm doing seem just plain wrong?
    No. I do not believe there is any evidence that a baby must be put on routine or schedule for sleep OR eating or play or anything else. And I do not believe that not doing so means baby will learn "bad habits." This idea has not only not been proven, it has been disproven, because when longer term studies compare sleep trained babies and non- sleep trained babies, their sleep habits in toddlerhood and beyond are indistinguishable. I know you are not sleep training, but that is simply the most intense form of "scheduling." So if sleep training makes no difference in sleep patterns, I don't see how scheduling would. IN fact, I think the idea babies need an eating or sleeping schedule of any kind is nonsense based on nothing except the need to by some to sell parenting books. In my personal experience, when I respect my children's own, internal and changing schedules, I usually find a pattern that makes sense and works for the family.

    Certainly I never worried about this with my kids. Well, I did but shortly gave it up as impractical, because schedules for eating and sleeping do not really make sense anyway, unless they are pretty flexible. My boys are 10 and 8, and have long had a fairly "regular" bedtime, but it does tend to waiver quite a bit because they are in competitive sports and other activities that sometimes go late. But overall I make sure it is early enough, and despite never being put on a schedule as babies or toddlers, they sleep well and all night, and wake up rested for school. They eat well at meal times and snack times, which are usually not always at the exact same times because we are not a Stepford family. My toddler daughter sleeps when she is tired, and while at this point she reliably naps once a day for at least an hour, the time is continuously shifting. She nurses when she likes, "eats" with us at meal time (although how much varies a ton) but she loves meals even if she is not hungry because she enjoys being part of the family activity. Of course she also asks for snacks at other times as well because toddlers (like growing boys, nursing mommies, and pantry raiding daddies) get hungry when they get hungry and not on a schedule.
    Last edited by @llli*lllmeg; June 21st, 2014 at 12:10 AM.

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