Sleep Regression Woes 

So… for the past 4 days, Nat started waking up around 4/5am crying 😦 We thought it was due to the introduction of evening puree, and thus maybe he was not getting enough milk calories but we also noted that before evening puree started, he was unable to nap in the PM last Sunday. Hence, it is very likely a sleep regression phase, coinciding with a possible growth spurt and introduction of evening puree => 3-in-1 combo that basically obliterated his usual schedule.

It was really mind-boggling because when it happened on a day-to-day basis, we could not see the big picture to ascertain what was most likely the culprit? Everyday was a trial and error experimentation, especially since evening puree had been introduced to the picture.

It helped that everything was recorded down so that we could analyze it to check for any patterns.

We also had to ensure that we adhered to certain feeding guidelines given to us by the PD:

  1. First purée of the day – mid AM (10am)
  2. Second puree of the day – before 6pm (once Nat woke up from his PM nap)
  3. Depending on puree intake, top up milk accordingly i.e. if a full bowl (4 ounces is given, no need milk top up)
  4. Keep the 10pm last feed, before 11pm latest (too late = bad for gum health)

Below is the log sheet of the series of confusing events that occurred over the past few days…

Sunday (16/4): [the afternoon his nap regression began]

  • 330pm – suddenly woke up from nap and could not sleep again despite us trying to coax him for 1h+ *** THIS was the start of the sleep regression, that we missed, thinking it was due to the introduction of evening puree ***
  • 6pm – rice cereal (4 dessert spoons with 40ml milk) *wasn’t completely finished
  • 645pm – went to sleep without any milk top-up, too tired after missing his PM nap
  • 9pm – drank 140ml (last feed)
  • 140am – woke up hungry, we gave 40ml *we didn’t think much of this at that time because his last feed was quite early and, his schedule for the day was messed up already so we thought it would be a one-time episode (so so wrong haha!)

Monday (17/4): [Vaccination day, no puree]

  • 610pm – 175ml in the car
  • 835pm – 60ml suddenly hungry
  • 1115pm – 60ml (last feed) *we didn’t rouse him at 10pm as he fell asleep around 9pm only 
  • 440am – hungry, gave him 40ml milk *we didn’t think much of this as it was expected? since his last feed was only 60ml 

# This also ruled out our first hypothesis that his 4/5am awakenings was due to the introduction of evening puree because we gave him his normal full milk feed after the PD appointment in the car. 

Tuesday (18/4): 

  • 545pm – rice cereal (4 dessert spoons with 40ml milk)
  • 620pm – 100ml (could not finish the last 20ml)
  • 8pm – 40ml (peckish, could not sleep)
  • 835pm – 60ml (still peckish) *potential growth spurt alert!
  • 1020pm – 120ml (last feed)
  • 445am – woke up crying, we gave 30ml water^, Nat went back to sleep

^We experimented with water because after Nat was able to drop his MOTN feed, the last thing we want is to re-start a habit of early AM awakenings for milk

Wednesday (19/4): 

  • 535pm – rice cereal (4 dessert spoons with 40ml milk)
  • 550pm – 60ml milk (part 1)
  • 645pm – 50ml milk (part 2, could not finish remaining 40ml)
  • Not peckish at 8pm+ *maybe because he consumed part 2 of his milk close to 7pm
  • 1030pm – 130ml (could not finish remaining 20ml) *possibly due to the short interval between his part 2 milk feed at 645pm? 
  • 415am hungry, gave 60ml milk but a bit diluted^

^ Reason for this is because his wake up feed was 645/7am and we try not to encourage the habit of large feeds between 11pm and 6am. Afterall, Nat had been sleeping through since end-Feb so we very much like to get back to that.

Thursday (20/4): 

  • 145pm – only drank 100ml (usually he takes 180ml)
  • 335pm – suddenly woke up mid-nap hungry, gave 80ml but he could not go back to sleep until after 1hr of coaxing!
  • 6pm – pumpkin and rice cereal puree (2/3 bowl)
  • 7pm – only drank 30ml (I decided to give an hour break to see how much milk top-up he could taken but he wasn’t that hungry)
  • No hunger pangs at 8pm+
  • 950pm – 160ml (last feed)
  • 245am – woke up crying but…. could be coaxed back to sleep within 5-10 minutes without any milk or water required (Thank God!)

So some preliminary conclusions:

  1. Main culprit = most likely sleep regression because both PM naps and night time sleep is disrupted, sometimes he’s hungrier, sometimes he’s not and it all started on Sunday PM, even before evening puree began
  2. It seems that he is able to last through the night as long as his last feed is big enough i.e. 150ml minimum so even with a sleep disruption, he’s not hungry and can be coaxed back to sleep

Today will be another day we cross our fingers and hope it ain’t too destabilizing. Though when all this is happening, I am reminded that I have to just be more flexible and to go with the flow, while also sticking to an overarching routine.

This article nicely summaries what sleep regression is, when it may usually happen, and how to survive it. We’re still not 100% sure what Nat is going through so we’ll just try our best to adjust accordingly.

So for now, our coping mechanism, which we successfully applied yesterday is to try and sleep earlier so that if Nat were to wake up, we are not too zombie the next day.  Before last night, we were totally zonked in the mornings because of his 4/5am awakenings. I still marvel at how we could wake up at 1am and 4am last time but once we started sleeping 6-7 hours straight, it’s physically exhausting to even have 1 night awakening.

Hopefully this will pass soon…

– CK


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