Clara’s fifth month has been an absolute rollercoaster, and while it has had many rewarding and heartwarming parts, it has also been our most challenging month of parenthood so far – mostly because of the four-month sleep regression.
When I wrote her four-month post, we had just entered the regression and it wasn’t terrible yet. After a few weeks of bad nights, I kept hoping things would naturally improve on their own, but her sleep just kept getting worse over the next couple of weeks and she was consistently awake and fussing/stirring between 4-6 a.m. every day (as well as multiple times throughout the night).
Somehow the four-month regression actually felt worse than the newborn months. I think we escaped those early months mostly unscathed because even though we were tired, her routine was still so predictable – she would wake up when she was hungry, we’d feed her, and she’d go back to sleep.
But this month, we were ALL cranky. Clara was fussy because she was tired and didn’t know how to put herself back to sleep without our constant assistance. E and I were exhausted because we weren’t sleeping, but also due to the constant mental battle – it was hard to decide between prolonging sleep crutches that let us all get some rest, or pushing forward and helping Clara learn how to sleep better. We would build up the motivation to stay strong and then we’d get exhausted, give up, and go back to old habits. I think the lowest point was the day I ruined two rugs by spilling an entire bottle AND a whole cup of coffee – yikes!
Finally after a particularly rough day, E and I wrote out a game plan on the fridge, 100% committed to it, and started the hard work of getting her transitioned over to the crib for naps and nighttime. We cut out the paci cold turkey, got her out of the swaddle, and did a gentle version of sleep training to teach her how to fall asleep without us rocking her.
As part of sleep training, we also moved her out of the bassinet in our room. We hadn’t planned to move her to the nursery until six months, but we realized she was outgrowing the bassinet and getting frustrated that she couldn’t move around. We figured we would just try the crib for one night to see what happened….and it stuck!
After all our trial & error this month, I’m happy to say that she’s now sleeping through the night and she falls asleep and puts herself back to sleep on her own. It feels like a miracle when we put her in the crib, leave the room, and watch her fall asleep on the baby monitor just a couple of minutes later.
However, because I thought we had a whole month left with her in our room, moving her out early has been SUPER hard emotionally. I cried for the first few nights after putting her in her crib and walking away, and I didn’t sleep well because I kept anxiously checking the baby monitor whenever I heard the slightest sound. I was so used to having her in the same room with us 24/7, so suddenly being apart from her 14 hours out of the day felt like a huge shift! But I’m getting used to it, and it’s nice to have our bedroom back without tiptoeing around in the dark every night.
Independent sleep was a big milestone for Clara this month, and even though the whole goal of parenting is for your children to need you less and less, it’s still hard when that reality hits home. I really do miss having her right next to us every night…I loved waking up and seeing her smiling face right next to me in the morning. But we are all sleeping SO much better now, and good sleep makes every other aspect of life so much better. I hope it sticks – fingers crossed!!!!
A few more favorite memories/updates from this month:
• We’ve started to get some giggles! She finds it hilarious when E does pushups above her face and it’s so funny to watch her laugh!
• She no longer hates baths and has started to splash in the water with her feet! Which brings me to my next story….
• Skip this story if you’re easily grossed out, haha! One day she had a diaper blowout in a big way…like, out the sides AND the back, which was a first for her. So I stripped her down and gave her a bath, where she had fun splashing her feet in the bath water. After her bath was done, I went to grab a diaper and realized we didn’t have any left in the changing basket…so I left her on the changing mat and ran to go get a new box of diapers. When I came back, she had peed without her diaper on…and to my horror, she was splashing her feet all around in the pee puddle just like she had in the bath. OMG OMG OMG. All I could do was throw my hands up and laugh…after getting her out of the puddle, of course! That was one of those parenting moments I will remember forever!
• She has discovered those weird things on the end of her feet! The first time I looked up and saw her holding onto her toes on her own, it made me tear up. She will just lift her feet up in the air and stare at them or pull on them like the “happy baby” yoga pose. She loves to examine her hands too!
• This month we were so proud to see her making great progress with rolling and even sitting a little bit! But then we noticed that she was only rolling and pushing up on one side and she would fight us when we tried to turn her head the other way. Her pediatrician diagnosed her with torticollis and she’s been making great progress since we started doing stretches and helping her build strength on her weak side.
• Mostly she wants to be looking around all the time and will “tell you” to get going if you stay in one place. But sometimes she has these rare snuggly moods and will just rest her head on my shoulder and stay there. In those moments I wish I could stop time and just breathe in her little baby smell forever.
• In general, this month = information overload!! In addition to figuring out sleep (which is a whole world on its own), we’ve also been learning about starting solids soon as well as physical development (because of torticollis). Some days when I feel overwhelmed with all of these new things, I try to remember that although we can help Clara along the way, she is very capable and smart and will figure things out in her own time.
• After I change her diaper, I kiss her belly and let her play with my hair. She is obsessed with hair!!!!! She runs her fingers through it in fascination and will pull it (sometimes painfully)….but it’s so sweet that I can’t help but let her play anyway!
• We kicked off her fifth month with the inauguration and cried watching Kamala Harris and Amanda Gorman. E and I felt so hopeful for her future.
• She learned how to blow raspberries this month and we found it really endearing! She would often do that when she was hungry or bored, so a lot of times we would wake up to the sound of little baby raspberries at 4 a.m., LOL.
• This month we celebrated her first Valentine’s Day! I had soooo much fun dressing her up in all her little heart-covered outfits! I never really cared for that holiday before, but it was super fun to celebrate with my tiny Valentine.
• She loves putting anything and everything into her mouth, especially fabrics! She will happily munch on burp cloths all day long. She also loves to feel fabrics with her hands, so a lot of times she’ll rub her hands on my flannel pajama pants and it’s so sweet.
• She still doesn’t have much hair, but it looks like some of her new hair might be coming in either light brown or blonde? And her eyes are still blue although that could change anytime. It’s such a mystery to see what she will end up looking like as she gets older!
• She started holding her bottle on her own this month! When we hold the bottle in front of her, she will reach out, grab it and shove it into her mouth as if she hasn’t eaten in days.
• She continues to be LOUD…not just crying, but also squealing and roaring! We left our downstairs neighbor a bottle of apology wine during sleep training because we felt so bad for her!! We’re lucky she has been beyond patient with us!
Above all, even though it was a month of many challenges, I still LOVE being Clara’s mama so much. This quote I saw on Instagram so perfectly sums it up:
“Never in my life have I felt so happy and so exhausted, so “into it” and “over it,” so beautiful and so worse for wear, so alive and so tired, so organized and so unorganized, so on the front foot and so on the back foot, so hopeful and so unsure, so visionary and so withdrawn, so extrovert and so introvert, so brave and so afraid, so bold and so timid, so in love and so out of my depth, so abundant and so fickle, so confident and so crazy, so purposeful and so aimless, so intentional and so “go with the flow” – Motherhood. PS: Today I need the coffee.”
(From The Moonflower Monologues by Tess Guinery)
First picture of her sitting!
She still LOVES to turn the pages when we read together! And now she likes to try to eat the books too!
Daddy = her #1 Valentine!
What most mornings look like…I’m usually bleary-eyed and my hair is a mess at all times, but I’m so happy to say good morning to her!
One of those rare snuggly moods…
Her absolute favorite toy! She loooooves this thing!!!
Caught her blowing raspberries and sticking her tongue out one day!
In case you can’t tell, I am still doing DIY haircuts for E, haha!
As much as I love dressing her up in adorable outfits, there’s something so great about a baby in just a diaper. So simple and sweet.
Little rolls and her adorably awkward baby mullet still hanging around…
We have a thumb sucker now! 🙂
Last photos of her in the bassinet! 🙁
For comparison, here’s a photo of her at one week old! Look how much space there used to be above her head!
Here’s how I found her after her first night in the nursery! I put her down facing the other direction and she had wiggled herself around – party at Clara’s crib!
“Gymnastics class” on our bed, where we practice rolling!
FaceTime with Abuela!
She thinks noses are extremely appetizing…
…but her eyes are bigger than her stomach 😉
She also likes to pull daddy’s hair!
She thinks dresses are mostly just toys to put in her mouth.
I love her pure curiosity when something catches her eye.
First ride on daddy’s shoulders – the first of many to come, I’m sure!
Baths are a lot more enjoyable than they used to be, and I enjoy watching her splashing her feet in the water. These are some of my most cherished photos of her to date!
…and that brings us to her five month “birthday!”
Admiring and inspecting her hands!
Last one for this month…the most delicious snack of all 🙂
Thank you for following along every month…since we are pretty isolated this year due to COVID, it means a lot to be able to share our journey here!
You can find Clara’s previous monthly recaps here: