I haven’t documented Colton in a little while and worry that I am going to forget all the juicy details of his beautiful life, so I am packing it all in tonight.
At around 4 months, Colton weighed 15 lbs and change. He was starting to tripod-sit, supporting himself upright with his hands and arms, which really impressed me. We also started to crank up tummy time at around this age to be more diligent in training his core muscles. What a difference it made in his overall strength. A few days after, Colton was rolling and then not too long after, he was able to tripod-sit for longer periods of time. We also started to spend a lot of time at the Little Gym of Oakville, exercising :). More on that in a future post.
At 4.5 months, we started playing around with his first solid food, Oatmeal, but only for fun at this point, not a meal replacement. He was absolutely ga-ga over the taste of something new and was literally ready to eat the spoon, too. Thank goodness for being able to capture these moments so easily on video because it was truly hilarious to watch him eat from a spoon for the first time.
At 5 months, Colton weighed 16 lbs and change, on track with doubling his birth weight! We continued to do LOTS of tummy time and by this age, he was able to sit upright for a few seconds, unsupported by me or his arms! He is also discovering his love for standing. :) We’ve also introduced pureed prunes to regulate his bowel movements because he started to go 8 days without pooping and it tripped us out :P.
Clearly Colton has been very busy with growing up, it’s no wonder his night wakings have been worse than ever, which leads me nicely to the topic of sleep training – Lord, have mercy, lol.
Rewind back to 4.5 months, we decided to start sleep training because Colton was determined to wake up multiple times a night and I was stuck nursing him back to sleep with each waking (15 to 30-minute process) and I was a zombie, albeit still a happy one, by morning. I mean, he was sleeping reasonably well by 3 months, giving us anywhere from 4 to 6-hour stretches then all of a sudden, we got hit hard with the 4 month regression and the night wakings were unreal. Don’t get me wrong though because honest to God, from the bottom of my heart, I love, love, LOVE every minute of every part of this whole journey. Nonetheless, I wanted my son to be a great sleeper because ultimately, it is good for everyone, himself included. So we moved forward with Richard Ferber’s gradual extinction / progressive-waiting method.
Day 1 was not too shabby – we handled it well and felt empowered by the results. He cried for 28 minutes at bed time and then no more than 15 minutes during 2 subsequent wakings that night. Looking awesome. Simultaneously trained for naps as well, and it was effortless.
Day 2 was great! He cried for 13 minutes at bed time and self soothed himself for 2 subsequent night wakings within 10 minutes and mostly just whined vs cried. WOW, I thought to myself. This is wonderful. Naps were peachy, too.
Day 3, the momentum kept going! He cried for 3 minutes at bed time and self soothed himself for 2 subsequent night wakings within 8 minutes. Amazing!! This is magic!! Naps continued to be peachy.
Then Day 4 happened. Complete regression. Cried 20 minutes at bed time and 30 minutes during one of his wakings, followed by several other wakings. It was just so much crying that night. We were caught off guard. It felt like Days 1-3 never happened and we felt discouraged. (Naps were still great.)
Day 5 was a slightly better night in the sense that bed time was effortless and he self soothed throughout his night wakings but it was worse than Days 1-3 because his actual number of wakings increased from 2x to 3x when it should have decreased by this point. (Naps still great.)
Day 6, he woke up 3x again. (Naps still great.)
Day 7, he woke up 6x!!! LOL. What happened?!?!?!?! (Naps still great.)
Day 8, I stopped documenting and was winging the training. I was exhausted and completely emotional. We were messing around and changing up Ferber’s method according to what made us comfortable and what allowed us to survive the crying, making the training inevitably ineffective. (Naps still great.)
Day 9, we persisted through another messy night. Not worth discussing. (Naps still great.)
Day 10, we decided to take our wins so far and stop training. (Naps still great.)
1. We no longer nurse and rock Colton to sleep. This is a HUGE win.
2. We’ve weaned him off his swaddle, yay!
3. We can put him down in his crib awake during nap AND bed time and he will go to sleep all on his own. He will sometimes still fuss a little bit but nothing crazy. Bed time from start to finish is now a 30-minute enjoyable, relaxing process vs a 1.5 to 2-hour ordeal that sucked the life out of our entire evening!
4. Colton now consistently naps 3x a day for 1-2 hours at a time. They are NICE, CHUNKY, SOLID naps. I find myself anxious about what to do with all this extra time!
5. During his night wakings, I can soothe him and put him back down in his crib awake and he will finish the falling-back-to-sleep process on his own. The breast is still the fastest way to soothe him unfortunately but I need not keep him at the breast all the way back to sleep, which is PROGRESS. (However, he still wakes up a lot. In fact, he’s waking up every 1-2 hours right now. Did I mess up the training that badly? lol!)
Alright, so where does this leave us? We are probably 60% of the way there. And well, I actually know exactly why our training for the night wakings failed epically. Sleep training logically works best if the baby no longer feeds at night. This allows firm consistency in the controlled responses/comforting to the cries. For example, if baby wakes up crying at 10:00pm and has to self soothe all the way back to sleep and then wakes at 2:00am and this time, mom comes in, picks him up, and nurses him, a completely different response to the first waking, would this not be super confusing to baby? Now imagine every waking consistently required self soothing all the way back to sleep and mom never intervenes with a feed? Baby would catch on much quicker.
The challenge is my Colton is a big nighttime eater and it breaks my heart to cut it all off cold turkey. No one wants to feel like they are deliberately starving their child and there is debate as to when babies no longer need to feed at night, so I kept 1 feed during training but it was enough to weaken the entire thing and make it ineffective or at least slow to progress. My plan is to train for the night wakings a little later, maybe at 6.5 months, when I know for sure he no longer medically needs to eat at night.
For now, I’ll say this: it was by far the toughest week since giving birth and it was my first testing challenge as a first-time mom. I’ve entirely underestimated the emotional and mental readiness needed for this daunting task, walking into it excited when anxious was probably more on target. It’s the hardest thing in the world to hear your baby cry and takes every fibre of your being to not respond right away. It was a lot of emotional nights. But I know in my heart of hearts, it was the right thing to do and he is better for it. We will get there. :)
Despite all of this, months 4 and 5 are easily my favourite seasons so far and I will surely mourn for them. It keeps getting better and better. What was life without Colton?
Back again soon, xo.