Thanks, guys, for the lovely blog comments and emails responding to my sleep post! I appreciate all the input!
I think my biggest takeaway is: CHILL OUT. Ha. You guys know me - I don't relax very well. And I love to research the crap out of stuff going on in my life. This whole parenting thing sort of throws those two tendencies for a loop because a lot of times, I just need to chill out and let Bates do his thing. As much as it bothers my control freak, sometimes he needs to be the one showing me what he needs.
The night I wrote that blog post (when I was realllllly sleep deprived), we put him down in his crib at 8:30. He was up at 9, 11, and 11:30 when I finally said, "F it - I'm not doing this all night" and moved him back into the bassinet in our room. He then slept until 3:40 (ie, the longest single stretch I had slept in a LONG time), I fed him, and he went back down until 7am. The next night, we started him in the bassinet in our room and he only woke up once to eat, basically sleeping from 8pm-7am. Hallelujah!
One thing that sort of surprised me I heard from everyone was how common the "4-month sleep regression" is. I found a fascinating website (that led me to a fascinating book) that says we use the term "sleep regression" to sort of acknowledge that it's a situation most babies go through at certain times. But the term "regression" is misleading because it suggests babies' sleep progresses in a linear way (ie, they gradually start sleeping longer and longer as they get older and older until they sleep through the night: the end). This just isn't true.
And it said how when babies suddenly start sleeping worse than they had been, we know they're going through certain phases (so when they wake up drooling and grabbing their ears, we know they're teething; when they wake up in their crib rocking back and forth on all fours, we know they're learning to crawl). Well, it said cognitively, babies also go through different "spurts" as well, but we just can't see and identify these spurts like the other ones that are well known milestones in a kid's life.
The book I bought on my Kindle, The Wonder Weeks, describes the major cognitive milestones of the first 55 weeks of a kid's life. The two authors (researchers) did 30 years of research observing children from birth to 55 weeks. They say a child goes through major cognitive growth at: 5, 8, 12, 19, 26, 37, 46, and 55 weeks. In the time leading up to these "wonder weeks," you can expect fussier behavior, more clinginess, poor eating, and poor sleep (ie, sleep "regressions"). The book devotes a chapter to each wonder week and describes: when you can expect to see the behavior that leads up to the week; which cognitive milestone will be taking place; things you can do/games you can play to encourage it; and feelings you might have as the parent while you're child is learning this new thing. (Very cool book & worth checking out!)
Wouldn't you know - Bates turned 19 weeks old today. And wouldn't you know, the book said you can expect the period leading up to the 19-week milestone to start around 15 weeks. Bates started sleeping poorly 3 days before he turned 15 weeks (I remember because the first bad night of sleep happened the night before my mom got in town for his baptism).
It seems applicable in this situation - I'm anxious to see if it happens again with the next milestone! (Or if the book is just a load of crap.)
But anyway - thanks for all your responses to the original blog post! When we're ready to try again with crying it out and him in his own room, I'm definitely going to use some of your tips!