I didn’t want to be a smug mum, but when my daughter started sleeping through the night from 9 weeks, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d cracked it and that my daughter was amazing. Of course she was amazing in so many other ways, but sleeping through the night just made her that little more special.
A friend who had a baby six months before I gave birth told me when my daughter was 5 weeks old that her son had slept through from 9 weeks. I literally counted down the says until little one reached 9 weeks, hoping she’d follow his lead. And she did! My partner and I were astounded. It was brilliant having night after night of unbroken sleep.
Little one’s third round of injections threw a spanner in the works, though. He sleep became unsettled for a couple of weeks and she wanted a mid night feed, until eventually she settled back into her routine.
And then leap 5 hit. And boy did it hit! At the time we didn’t know what it was and I wasn’t really up to date with my knowledge on baby leaps. I wrote about how she hadn’t been herself and that our sleep deprivation was getting worse. It was only once we came out the other side and upon reflection that we realised she’d been through the mother of all leaps.
Leap 5 occurs when a baby is approximately 26 weeks old. Our little one was around 24 weeks old when she stopped sleeping through and when the changes began. Now, this was also the week that my other half had off work, so her routine was different, so it may have been that rather than leap 5 that interfered with her sleep that week. However, by week 25, leap 5 had definitely hit!
Parents with babies going through leap 5 report frequent waking up from sleep, a change in personality, continuous crying, fussy, clingy and refusing to eat.
The evenings were the worse. 7pm would strike and her personality would completely change. It got to the point where we started calling 7-7 her witching hours. She’d scream and cry uncontrollably and nothing we did soothed her. She didn’t want feeding, she was clean and warm, her nappy was fine. She just wanted to cry! It was truly awful and we had hours of the same each evening until she eventually crashed, only to wake in the same manner multiple times during the night.
We had several particularly bad nights and sleep deprivation and a screaming baby don’t mix! The result? An argument in the middle of the night between my partner and I and the dog getting anxious and sick. This lasted the best (or should I say worst!) part of a month and it was one of the most testing tines my other half and I have been through as parents and it put considerable strain on our relationship.
And then it just stopped. She went back to being her happy, content self in the evenings, chilling on the bed with us, playing with her toys and reading her books.