Piper turned 14 weeks on Thursday 31st August, making 31st August to 7th September her 15th week of life. Here’s what was going on for her this week.
Where we were: after such a busy August and knowing we are moving house next week, I kept us mainly at home this week. We did go out to Pizza Express for Tom’s third birthday on Thursday, but managed to forget both the buggy and the sling! Piper is not a huge fan of her car seat but she did sleep in it for 20 minutes or so and we took turns to hold her.
John’s parents came to visit on Saturday to drop off Tom’s presents but Piper managed to sleep right through their visit. We spent Wednesday doing a last few little bits and pieces in the new flat, so she was back to napping in her old moses basket in the bathroom.
Feeding: finally a week where both bottles and nursing went without issue! I increased her feed interval to 3hrs20 for most feeds this week. I also started offering a full feed at 18.00 instead of just one side, since she kept dozing off during her bedtime top up feed and not eating as much as she had been, so I was hoping that increasing the 18.00 feed might help her go longer at night.
Sleeping: are you ready for more detail than you could ever possibly need? Sleep was a real focus for us this week after such a crappy time last week. For sleep we follow many of the suggestions in the Baby Whisperer books and I also got some advice from the Baby Whisperer forum on how to change things up. Although naps were still being interrupted at 40-45 minutes (regardless of wake time), this is very common at the three to five month stage and she was still going back down with the dummy, so my main concern was addressing the multiple night wakings and early morning waking.
The suggestion from the forum was that we should be working on lengthening her awake times, especially for that first nap. A too early first nap is often the cause of early morning wakings. Piper had already started going longer between her last nap and bedtime which had made bedtime much smoother, so it made sense to work on the other awake times. We started to aim for 1hr30 for that first awake time and 1hr15 for the others (up from an hour).
To assess how the new wake times were working, I obsessively catalogued the time she woke, time I took her for her nap, time she went to sleep and timing of mid-nap wakings, then any night wakings, to see if any pattern emerged. This meant staying in the room with her whilst she fell asleep but I did my best to stay out of her eyeline in the hope that my presence wouldn’t become a prop for her.
It quickly became clear that 1hr30 was going to be a stretch for her. She was getting very fussy and just seemed overtired. This then got worse throughout the day so she was getting very cranky in the late afternoon. After a few days with no improvement I decided 1hr20 was a better mark to try for the first awake time and 1hr10-1hr15 for the others.
The first night on the new regime went much better. She didn’t wake for a feed until 1.45, an hour later than she had been, then went back down until 5.15, which I extended to 6 by giving her the dummy. The second night wasn’t so good, as she woke twice again for feeds and then again at 5.15 (again gave her the dummy until 6). The third night started well and she didn’t wake until 2.43, but I had to then give her the dummy as she wouldn’t go back down, so ended up reinserting it about every hour until we got up at 6.
Sunday night everything fell apart. She woke at 22.45! I had to check the clock several times to make sure it was right. Then she woke on and off throughout the night, with 2 hours as the longest stint. I checked the Wonder Weeks app and, sure enough, she had entered the next leap which is the super long one that usually correlates with the four month sleep regression.
Seeing that she was in the leap, I had pretty much given up the idea of getting a good night again until the leap was over. Tom stopped sleeping for longer than 45 minutes day and night during the regression (but then slept through from 20 weeks).
Naps went as normal the next day (ie interrupted and extended with the dummy) but she was extremely cranky in the afternoon and spent from about 15.30 to 16.00 just sobbing inconsolably in my arms.
Fortunately, she had calmed down by the time we had to leave to get Tom from nursery and was actually very happy looking at everything whilst in the sling. She slept maybe 15 minutes in the sling on the way back but then wouldn’t go back down in her cot so I just gave her the dummy then got her up at 18.00 for her feed. That night was brilliant! She woke at 2.09 for a feed and I took a bit of extra time to burp her, then gave her a 10 minute cuddle after, as I do before bedtime. She went into her cot still wide awake but instead of crying for the dummy, she just chatted to herself for about half an hour and then went to sleep by herself. I had to wake her at 6.09 to start the day! It was the first night in a really long time that I hadn’t had to give her the dummy at all.
Looking back at my log, I could see that our best nights had been after picking Tom up from nursery, which meant she’d only had a short nap on the go rather than an (interrupted) hour and a bit in her cot. I decided to try cutting that nap to just 40 minutes (so one sleep cycle). To achieve that she would either have to be up an extra half hour before bedtime or would have to be in bed longer for the nap before so she could go down later. As she was already struggling to make it to bedtime happily, I opted for making the third nap 2 hours rather than 1hr20, hoping that if I offered the dummy again when she woke around 15.20, I might get an extra sleep cycle out of her.
Tuesday and Wednesday nights were both good too – she woke for a feed at 4.45 on Wednesday morning and 3.15 on Thursday morning and both times went back down straight away and slept until 6. Fingers crossed keeping that last nap short has solved our night issues for the moment. Naps still need a lot of work but, until the dust is settled from our move, I won’t have time to tackle these properly. The advantage of the longer wake times is that she is settling much more quickly for naps now and is usually down in 7 to 8 minutes rather than the 10 to 15 it was taking. But we are still getting her waking 40 minutes in and having to give her the dummy in order to extend.
Working on: Piper is getting really good at holding things now and always seems to have something in her grasp. She grabs my hand when I’m changing her and tries to put it in her mouth and will do the same to any toy, musy, or other random object that comes close.
She is also moving her legs and hips around a lot, especially during nappy off time, as if beginning to prepare for rolling. She uses her feet to push herself towards a toy which is slightly out of reach.
She has finally worked out how to suck on her fingers and will do this every now and then during playtime, but still doesn’t seem to be able to keep them in her mouth for very long. We are pretty sure though that she will be a finger or thumb sucker very soon.
Other things: Her nappy rash was still not gone and I eventually realised that it is actually a yeast based rash, which is why my normal remedies weren’t working. Tom almost never had nappy rash so it took me a long time to realise that this one wasn’t reacting the way it should. I am now treating her with an anti-fungal cream and it looks to be clearing up quickly.
Piper has had a ridiculous amount of hair from birth. She looks like the porcupine from Surf’s Up and it is the first thing people comment on when they meet her. It is still really thick on top but she is beginning to go bald in the back now from constantly rubbing her head on the sheets.
Up until now we have only ever given her the dummy to extend naps or night time sleep. But she was getting a bit fussy during story time with Tom in the evenings. Since I’m usually on my own at that time of day, I can’t separate out their bedtimes any longer, so I gave her the dummy so that Tom could still have a restful bedtime ritual. Other than this we are still limiting its use to the cot so that it remains a sleep signal for her.
Piper had her 12 week jabs on Tuesday – yes almost 3 weeks late. She was booked to have them the week before but the appointment was cancelled because the nurse was unwell. She cried really hard when she had them done and took a while to calm down, but hasn’t had any after effects.
During her bout of inconsolable crying on Monday she did find her fingers and used them to calm herself down, but then kept losing them again. She would find them, calm down, lose them, and then cry harder because she had lost them. It was heartbreaking. Babies are badly designed!
Since Piper is finding her fingers and also looks to be working towards rolling, I want to start weaning her off the swaddle once we have settled in after the move. She wasn’t quite ready for one hand out last time I tried, so I have decided to try transitioning her first to an arms up swaddle which will give her some movement but will still help to minimise her startle reflex. So far she has only used it when we were at the new flat for a day but she did some really good napping in it and had worked out how to use her hands to keep her dummy from falling out. We went cold turkey with Tom (because the zip broke on the swaddle we had been using and we thought we might as well) and suffered a lot of bad nights because of it, so I’m hoping the slow and steady route will work better with her.
Schedule: lots of changes this week as I was working out what would work best for her. By the end of the week we had landed on something that seemed to be working, which looked like this:
6.00 – Wake and feed (woken if not already awake)
7.15-7.30 – down for nap 1 (this and all other naps were interrupted at 40 minute mark and extended with dummy)
9.20 – Feed then playtime
10.30-10.40 – down for nap 2
12.40 – Feed then playtime
13.50-14.00 – down for nap 3
16.00 – Feed then playtime
17.10-17.20 – down for catnap
18.00 – Feed
18.15 – Nappy off playtime
18.30 – Bath and pjs
18.45 – Stories with Tom
19.00 – Top-up feed
19.20-19.30 – down for night
One motn waking somewhere between 1.30 and 5 for a feed, then back down.