The late afternoon intense fatigue setting in, I walk in, smile and greet my four month old patient and her family.
Doctor Hoffman: “Helloo!!! How are you? What’s the update?”
Judith the Parent (thought but not said): “keep smiling, don’t let on that you are as tired as she is….”
Patient’s Mom (PM) “ We are great! Baby X is doing so well, she’s rolling, jabbering up a storm.. She’s putting her hands in her mouth.. But you know- the four month sleep regression has definitely kicked in… I need HELP with sleep Dr. Hoffman.”
J.T.P.: “am I familiar with the four month sleep regression? Hell yeah… how about the four year sleep regression… or the fact that i haven’t slept since my child was born…”
Dr. Hoffman: “ Oh yeah, that can be so hard. Tell me more about bedtime routine, schedule and what exactly is going on with naps and night time sleep…”
Patient’s Dad (PD): Well we read “Happy Baby Healthy Sleep Habits” and “12 Weeks to 12 Hours” and are so confused. We are trying to extend the times between feedings but Baby X is just miserable. We rock her to sleep at 6:30 every night but she wakes up without fail at 8:30 to eat. She cries, then we fight, then my wife cries, then I cry and we end up going in and giving her a bottle so we can get some sleep.
J.T.P.: “At least i’m not the only one crying on the regular due to my child’s sleep… but still my kid is five and yours is four months… is there something wrong with me? Is my child a sociopath?”
Dr. Hoffman: Ok let’s start with talking about a routine around bedtime and self soothing…
I am sharing this not to give you too much of a window into my own sleep struggles with my child but rather to stress the fact that even those of us giving the advice have difficult times with sleep. It is on the top of everyone’s list when they come in the office and one of the more interesting parts of my job… But, unfortunately, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution to sleep struggles with children.
A few things that generally are true ( but still there are exceptions..)
All of this being said… I’m really looking forward to getting to bed early tonight!