Whew! I’ve been back at work a week now, and I ended up going radio silence here to figure out how to mom a person and work all at the same time. It’s a lot to balance, and I’m not sure if it’s going to get harder or easier as I get better at it but get more tired all at the same time. That said, I’ve got an update coming this week about my first week back to work. First though, I wanted to document Olivia’s fourth month!
I’m a week late in even writing this, but I remember a lot more now than I would if I didn’t write it down at all. I’m going to follow the same format that I did for Olivia’s 3 month update.
For the fourth month, we followed a similar schedule to the third month in the sense that it was a Babywise or EASY schedule. My goal was to try to have Olivia eat every 3 hours, but we went through a big growth spurt at the beginning of this month that really had Olivia eating closer to every 2.5 hours. It actually had me worried about how I was going to make enough for her when she started to daycare, but there wasn’t much I could do with a crying baby besides feed her when she wanted food.
I got a lot more comfortable taking Olivia out of the house this month as well. We went to Target more frequently and visited friends and even went to lunch at a restaurant a couple of times. I knew she was better when we went places in the afternoon, so it was always my goal to get out of the house after feeding her after her second nap. I just really started getting into a rhythm this month with getting out of the house.
We made it another month on only breast milk! I say we, because this month I did start to realize what a commitment breastfeeding is. It came naturally for both of us for a while, but as I’ve started feeling more like myself and would like to get out of the house a little more or go out to lunch with friends or have a glass or more of wine I realize that all of my decisions are really dependent on Olivia’s eating schedule.
Like I mentioned above, Olivia started wanting to eat more frequently this month, and what had been eating every 2.5-3.5 hours turned into every 2-2.5 hours most of the time. The growth spurt hit hard, and we spent a lot of time cuddling on the couch while she ate.
Olivia’s weight at her 4 month appointment was 13 pounds 14 ounces, and I can see it all in the chunk and rolls she’s developing. I call her chunky, but I mean it in an endearing way; she’s very healthy, and I’m glad to know it! Her height is 24.2 inches.
We’ve also experienced a few more challenges with breastfeeding this month in the form of plugged ducts and pain. When I get the plugged ducts I just put her to feed more frequently on that side and pump to try to get the plug out, but man does it hurt!
Oh, sleeping. I went back and read the three month update and longed for the problem I mentioned there about her wake up time. Around 3 months and a week or two, Olivia’s sleep got flipped on its head.
Daytime naps were still taken in her crib, but for most of the month she never took a nap over two hours. Most of her morning naps ended up being either 50 minutes or 1 hour and 40 minutes. Gone were the naps where I wondered if I should wake her up. Over the course of the month she went from needing 4-5 naps per day to needing 3-4 naps per day. By the end of the month I no longer wrapped her up in the wrap while I cooked dinner, as I was trying to keep her up longer between her last nap and bedtime. I tried to stop napping by 5 for an 8 o’clock bedtime, but in looking back I think it was a bit long at that time of night. She usually ended up fussing by 7, so I’d feed her a big feed downstairs before taking her upstairs to bed.
Night time sleep turned from wonderful to worrisome. I mentioned above that sleep got flipped around, and I can’t explain it. We shifted Olivia’s bedtime earlier this month, and we started getting her to bed by 8 instead of letting her fall asleep on us downstairs and taking her to bed at 9/9:30. When we shifted her bedtime earlier it ended up causing her to wake up so many more times per night. It started out at three wakeups per night, and for most of the month was pretty consistently 3-4 wake ups. It’s still there, even now a week after her 4 month birthday, but I’m so hopeful that it was the four month sleep regression and we’re going to be moving out of it soon.
I do think that the three month growth spurt overlapped with the regression and led to some of the worst of the nights. One night when she was up at 4 am for the fourth time I just about lost my mind wondering what I was doing wrong. After reading enough articles and forums about the regression that happens around this time I decided to just go with the flow. By the end of this month I just came to accept that we were going to be waking up a lot. It was just the first week that I had the worst time; as I accepted it as normal it became less awful.
This month in preparation for daycare we transitioned to the Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit (that’s an affiliate link), and we had a fairly easy transition. There were a few naps to begin with where Olivia took extra long to fall asleep as she figured out why her hands weren’t wrapped up tightly, but eventually she napped well in the Merlin and we switched her to it for the night time as well. I had high hopes that it would fix our night sleep problems; it didn’t.
Olivia’s wake up time varied a lot this month too, and I never figured out what was going on. She would wake up anytime between 6 and 7, and it didn’t relate to her bedtime or the number of times she woke up in a night. I spent the entire month trying to figure out what I was doing wrong, and now I look back and realize there’s really no way to figure out baby sleep.
When our pediatrician says we need to have a standard wake up time, I just laugh internally. If I could have a standard wake time I absolutely would. Olivia is less interested in predictability.
Olivia started playing with a lot more toys this month. She got really into the Oball rattle (affiliate link), because she could hold onto it and shake it. She continued enjoying the Fisher Price Rainforest Melodies Play Gym (affiliate link), but she now could grab onto the animals and was more interested in the animals than in just staring at the lights.
We started reading more books this month, because Olivia started getting really into the pictures. I would hold the book in front of her to read to her, and she would actually look at the pictures. Some of the books had textures, and I would rub her hand along the textures. A few times she would rub her hand on it after I let her hand go.
Activities during three months
I left Olivia alone with someone besides Tim for the first time this month. My mom came down so that I could go to work for a couple of hours for two days, and it went so well. It gave me confidence that Olivia was going to be okay when I headed back to work.
Olivia started talking a lot more and made several new sounds. She rolls her tongue and will converse back and forth with you. When she’s getting her diaper changed she smiles huge and starts talking back and forth with you. She has different yells and squeals that mean different things.
We took Olivia out to dinner for the first time this month. We went to a restaurant for two of our friends’ tenth wedding anniversary, and kids were invited. Olivia did great! When we got there I wore her for a little 30 minutes catnap before feeding her and then keeping her up through dinner and dessert. She looked around at everyone and enjoyed sitting at the table with us (in my lap). I was shocked she lasted as long as she did, though she screamed bloody murder the entire car ride home because of how overtired and overstimulated she was. Oh, well! It was fun to take her out!
We celebrated Easter for the first time with Olivia. She got her first Easter basket (and second and third from grandparents). I love the smocked outfit that I got for Olivia’s Easter outfit, though I wish it had more wear to it. I just can’t get over the little smocked look.
We enjoyed our last month of my maternity leave with a lot of walks outside and a lot of cuddles. I tried to soak it all in while I could, as I knew that the time was fleeting. As I sit here writing this a week after her four month birthday, I almost can’t remember what separated the month of March from the month of February. Time flies on maternity leave, though I’m sure it also flies in the real world too.
We did some daycare test days to get an idea of what daycare was going to be like. Olivia did very well, and it helped ease my mind in my transition back to work.
This month’s likes:
- diaper changes
- daytime naps
- car rides
- Oball rattle
- trying to roll over back to tummy (not successful yet)
This month’s dislikes:
- sleeping at night
- waking at 7
- getting out of the bathtub
- being tired
Clothes: 0-3 months and a few 3-6 months
Diapers: Size 1 most of the month; moved into size 2 at the end of the month
How long did the 4 month sleep regression last for you? What toys did you use for months 4 and 5?
Previous updates: 3 months