Silja's Sleep Diary: four weeks old

Written by Taru, Silja's mom

Four weeks old baby Silja takes great naps in the stroller and the baby sling.
Her mom experiences light sleep deprivation effects and an energy drop after the rush of the first weeks. Experimenting with a bedtime routine gives on-and-off success so far.

Four weeks old now: Silja is still asleep in her pram after a long walk in the park, and I've even managed a shower afterwards. I'm not surprised she's sleeping now, as last night was definitely the roughest we've had by now.

It's beginning to dawn on me that although I've been feeling much better and more energetic than I expected, I am tired a lot of the time and it will be a long time before things get any different.

During the first few weeks, every day was better than the one before, but now Silja is four weeks old, it feels like that honeymoon is over.

Morning walks and naps

Still, this week, at four weeks old, we've managed lots of long morning walks and she's had long lovely naps in the pram, usually still fast asleep when we get home.

This can backfire – I tried to have her passport photos taken (again, the first ones were not good enough so it was back to the photographer's) and she just took one very suspicious look around the strange place, shut her eyes and refused to wake up.

I tried everything – cuddling, tickling, changing her, taking her outside – but she just wouldn't wake up. After half an hour of this nonsense I had to leave and try again in the afternoon. Even then, it was hard work, and I'm still waiting to hear from the Embassy if the photos are good enough.

Afternoon wriggles ...

So mornings have been great. Afternoons remain a bit of a mixed bag, sometimes she naps 'properly' early in the afternoon, and sometimes she just dozes a bit.

 One lonth old baby girl

The baby sling seems to work like magic when she's at her worst around dinnertime. Silja is now used to the sling and seems to settle there no matter how fussy she's feeling. I can usually get the big kids fed and bathed, although I do wish I had some uninterrupted time with them.

Bedtime routine experiments

We've tried to introduce a bit of an evening routine now that she's four weeks old.

First physical effects of sleep deprivation

Even if you do get reasonable sleep, like Silja's mom right now, you do have less than usual (and certainly more than you'd want I assume :)). Sleep deprivation is a standard 'bonus' that comes with a baby ...

That is does not increase your energy levels of course.

What I always find good to realise is how our body&mind react to a sleep debt. The first consequence of less sleep is that you start to feel more sad, depressed feelings, and easily become lethargic (you don't feel like doing anything because 'what's the use', 'no energy' ...).

It's good to know that these are natural reactions of the body. So you're not feeling down because "all is bad" or "I'm not doing well and not doing much" BUT because that is simply how your body reacts when it gets less sleep.

When we (unreasonably optimistically) think we have a fair chance of getting her to sleep, around 9pm perhaps, I turn the lights down in the bedroom, change her into night clothes and give her a good feed.

Then I put her into her baby sleeping bag and put her down in her cot. I was thinking about swaddling her but haven't tried it yet, however the sleeping bag has worked really well.

Since she can't kick it off she stays warm and cosy even if I pick her up for a feed, and it's probably easier for her to get back to her cot after a feed.

She still feeds around 2 or 3am but then goes back to sleep very easily, and then wakes up around 6 or 7am.

All this hasn't been much of a success in terms of getting Silja to sleep in the evening, however.

I think she's fallen asleep like this once this week.

If she's not settling well, I'll cuddle her and give her a dummy. This has worked a couple of times, but on the couple of really rough nights this week she's fussed about for a half an hour, then done a poo, then wanted to feed again, fussed a bit more, done another poo, and so on and so on until midnight.

What really gets me about this is that about 3 seconds before she poos herself up to her neck she actually looks like she's falling asleep ...

I don't know if we're making too much of a fuss of it, maybe we should just let her watch the evening news with her dad and then put her to sleep.

Last night was particularly hard because Silja seemed to be in pain and cried quite a bit. Feeding seemed to help but then she was so full she seemed about to burst, and that probably didn't feel too comfortable either.

In the end, she fell asleep lying on her tummy on top of me, on my chest, around midnight. She had her four weeks old BGC immunisation yesterday, so that might explain it.

I'm not sure if it was just the injection – it didn't go very well and seemed quite painful to me, in fact it was absolutely terrifying to look at and I was in cold sweat all over – or the vaccine itself that upset her. There are lots more vaccinations to come, so I hope it won't all be like this.

The good thing is we never seem to have two rough nights in a row, so I'm hoping for a calm one tonight.

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Silja's Sleep Diary: Five Weeks Old