The Life of Bon: June: Four Months (Alternate Title: Teaching your Baby to Sleep?)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

June: Four Months (Alternate Title: Teaching your Baby to Sleep?)

four month appointment:

weight: 10 lbs 5.5 oz
length: 23.25 in
weight percentile: 1%
height percentile: 6%


two month appointment:

weight: 8 lbs 5 oz
length 21.25 in
weight percentile: 1%
height percentile: 1%


two week appointment:

weight:  5 lbs 15 oz
length: 20.5 in
weight percentile: 1%

June is still little.  As the doctor said, "Well, someone has to be the first percentile.  Why not her?"  But she's healthy and happy and hitting all of her developmental milestones so I am going to go ahead and file her small size under "borrowed trouble."

Having a baby has been the absolutely most surprising joy of my life thus far.  Every day I am amazed all over again at how much I like June and how much I like taking care of her and how much I like being a mom.  June is the light of my life.  She rolls with the punches and doesn't seem annoyed that we take her anywhere and everywhere to accommodate our busy lives. (Ten pm last night found her at Village Inn with 80 high schoolers after their performance of Les Mis.  I think she thought she was part of the cast.  Then she passed out in Fantine's arms.)  She lets anyone hold her and will take her breast milk straight from the source or in bottle form. (But don't you dare try to give her any of that formula stuff.  She can smell it from a mile away and she don't like it!)  She drools like a dog and farts like a 13 year old boy.  She smiles at anyone who smiles at her and seems to especially know when someone is complimenting her- she lights up and giggles like "Ah geez, go on!"

As far as eating goes, the doctor said we could introduce rice cereal if June acts interested in our food.  If she doesn't act interested and is as content as can be just nursing, then we can exclusively breast feed up until six months.  Well June couldn't care less about the food that we eat so I guess it's more of June being attached to my chest.

People told me that a little baby wouldn't sleep as well as a big baby.  If that's the case, then June doesn't seem to know that she's little.  She sleeps like a champion at night- usually sleeping from about 7 pm to 6 am.  When she wakes up early in the morning I feed her in bed while I fall back asleep.  The days that I don't work June falls asleep too, and we both sleep until 8:30 or 9:00 am.  The best thing I ever did for June's sleep was to lay her in her crib by herself and let her learn to fall asleep by herself.  She cries for ten minutes and then is fast asleep.

During the day she usually naps well, too.  If I am at home and can lay her in her crib with the noisemaker she will almost always sleep for 2-3 hours in the morning, and then again in the afternoon.  If she's in a car seat or being shuffled around, she doesn't sleep as well.  At daycare she doesn't get as many solid naps in- she's too busy checking everyone out, watching the other little people.  Her eyes bug out and she just sits and watches and watches.

I feel very grateful that June sleeps as well as she does.  I know that a lot of this is just luck of the draw- some babies just naturally sleep better than others.  I do, believe, though, that there are some things you can do to help teach babies to sleep.  There are so many books written about teaching babies to sleep- I kind of picked and chose what worked best for June and for our family.  These are some things that helped me a lot with establishing healthy sleep patterns for June:

1)  The book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby.  The main thing that I took away from it is that adults often don't let babies sleep as much as babies want- insisting on keeping the baby up because they don't realize the baby is tired.  Most of the time when babies are fussy it's just because they're tired.  As soon as June starts acting a little bit fussy, she goes down.  It always weirds me out because I think she can't possibly be tired again already, but then in ten minutes she's fast asleep.  From the time she wakes up to the time she is ready for another nap is only one to two hours.  It seriously boggles my mind that after a three hour nap and then being awake for an hour June could be ready to sleep again.  But she is.

2)  I follow the pattern mentioned in Babywise- eat, play, sleep.  When June wakes up she eats immediately and then is usually very pleasant while she plays for an hour or so.  She starts to act a little bit cranky and boom, she is back down for a nap.  I feel like this gives a very natural way to tell when June is tired.  Because she has just eaten within the hour I know that if she is starting to act fussy again she is ready for a nap.

3)  Bringing up Bebe has an entire chapter dedicated to "the pause"- the 5- 10 minute time that French parents give their kids by themselves before the parents rush in to help.  June will often wake up about 45 minutes or an hour into her nap.  Sometimes she cries at 2 am.  When this happens I look at my clock and give her ten minutes to figure out how to soothe herself before I go in.  It works more than half the time and she goes back to sleep without me having to do anything.  Bringing up Bebe mentions that a lot of times babies will make noises just like we toss and turn in the night.  They are still asleep, but if we rush in and get them up, then we stimulate them and wake them up all the way- we've then woken a baby up halfway through the sleep cycle and the baby is then grumpy and can't fall back asleep.  It is not unlike when we are enjoying a nap and are awoken by a phone call.  We are still tired, but can't fall back asleep and then we're just grumpy for the rest of the day.  If a baby has slept enough, the baby should be waking up happy.

4)  If you establish healthy sleep patterns, the idea is that you can deviate on occasion and it won't ruin everything your child has learned.  For example, last night we were out very late with June.  But that doesn't mean that 11 pm will now be her new bedtime.  I feel like by giving her a predictable sleep schedule it allows us the freedom of being able to switch it up once in a while and still have a baby who is pleasant and sleeps well.

* I wrote this post this morning and am now editing it while June screams at the top of her lungs in the crib upstairs.  So, you know, take it all with a grain of salt.

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