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4 month sleep regression
When a baby goes through sleep regression, it can be particularly difficult for parents. If your child was previously sleeping well at around the 3 month mark, and it now feels like they have gone many steps backwards, it can make you feel defeated and discouraged. You can listen to our podcast on the creating the perfect bedtime routine for your baby here.
Newborn Sleep – Baby’s Sleep Habits
From zero to two months of age, a baby will need a whopping 14 to 17hours of sleep per day. This sleep time is usually split into three segments throughout the day.
At around three months of age, you baby’s sleep schedule will begin to normalise, or consolidate: with your baby sleeping for longer periods during the night, and fewer total hours (14-15hours). At three months old, your baby is developing rapidly- creating links between your baby’s brain and baby’s nervous system. It is around this age that they begin to recognise the difference in daytime (via daylight) and night time (via the darkness).
What causes 4 month Sleep Regression?
At four months of age, a four month sleep regression can occur. This is due to your baby going through a major transition from the newborn sleep pattern to an older infant’s sleep pattern. The transition caused by your baby’s development isn’t always straight forward; it can occur in fits of successful nights sleep and sleepless nights. This can be particularly difficult for parents but it is completely normal.
Which babies can have a 4 month sleep regression?
Every baby is different, and there are no factors which make your baby any more or less likely to go through the 4 month sleep regression. Not all babies have a 4 month sleep regression; some babies experience a sleep regression earlier or later, and some babies do not have any sleep regressions at all.
Is my baby experiencing the 4 month sleep regression?
If your baby’s sleep wake cycle suddenly worsens at 4 months, they may be having four month sleep regression.
Symptoms of 4 month sleep regression include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- More nighttime awakenings
- Baby crying in sleep
- Changes in appetite
- More clingy or fussy around falling asleep or waking
- Less sleep overall
How long does 4 month sleep regression typically last?
Sleep regressions typically pass after between 2-6 weeks- which is how long it typically takes before your baby learns to self soothe. This can feel like an eternity for parents.
How can I help my baby sleep with 4 month sleep regression?
Establish a Soothing bedtime routine
A consistent bedtime routine is great to help your baby get settled to fall sleep for the night. An age appropriate schedule for your baby can involve: milk feed, bath, a baby massage, cuddling and then bed. It is important that you keep the bedtime routine consistent- making sure to put your baby to bed at around the same time each night.
Put your baby to bed whilst they are drowsy but awake
Pediatric sleep experts highly recommend putting your baby to sleep whilst they are drowsy, vs when they are fully asleep, will help your baby learn to soothe themself and it will make them less worried upon awakening, since they didn’t fall asleep in your arms and suddenly wake up and find you missing.
When baby is in their cot or moses basket, talk calmly and soothingly to them to help them relax. Many parents find it useful to put a hand on their baby’s chest to help them drift off.
Allow your baby to practise new skills during the day
Letting your baby practise new skills during the day will make them less eager to stay up at night to practise their new found abilities. These skills can involve making a new sound, or rolling over.
Keep night-time dark and day-time bright
Light levels are a very good indicator for your baby to distinguish between night and day time. If you keep the house loud and bright during the day, and then quieten down, turn off the lights and shut the curtains at bed time, it will help your baby to relax and realise that it is time to sleep.
Watch out for your Baby’s Sleepy Cues
It is important to watch out for any signs that your baby is tired. Common signs include becoming fussy, rubbing eyes and yawning. Once your baby begins showing sleep cues, you should turn out the lights and quieten down the houyesse to let your infant slepe in peace. It is important not to try and keep your baby awake because you think they will sleep for longer at night; an overtired baby is usually more fussy and harder to soothe.
Sleep training can be a great way to get your baby to sleep through the night and minimize fussiness and crying. It is recommended to introduce sleep training, by pediatric sleep experts, between the ages of four and six months. For baby’s as young as four months, not all methods are appropriate, but many parents have found some methods, such as the Check and Console method, highly beneficial. Click the link below to find out more:
Periods of sleep regression can be very difficult for parents- and it is important that you get the right amount of sleep, otherwise you could be putting yourself at risk of over-exhaustion and mental health issues, such as depression. Turning to your loved ones to look after your little one whilst you get a few hours sleep is a great idea.
What are mybump2baby mums saying on this subject?
“The 4 month sleep regression was awful for us, we barely had any sleep if we did it was just a light sleep. Not all babies go through the 4 month sleep regression but ours did for a good few weeks. Baby sleep is difficult at the best of times but when you feel like you are getting somewhere and the bad sleep habits start it can feel like torture. We tried to sleep train a little to see if that made a difference but she was too young, our eldest did no night waking from 12 weeks he was down for the night in a deep sleep. We thought we had done everything for healthy habits sleep for our littlee girl but she would wake frequently, my husband works nights so all the sleep regressions were on me and getting a night sleep just wasnt possible for me for a good few weeks. It was tough!”
“The four month sleep regression was a very hard time for us as a family, we tried to create healthy sleep habits for our little boy but the sleep regression really took its toll on us all. The sleep cycle seemed to change as well as he sleep patterns. It all seemed to happen at the same time, he would fall asleep as normal but just as we started to relax for bed ourselves it would begin. I was trying to stay safe with sleep and not let my baby fall asleep in our bed but this was not easy at all. A few times i nearly fell asleep with him in the bed and it worried me”
Carla is the founder of MyBump2Baby. Carla has a huge passion for linking together small businesses and growing families. Carla’s humorous, non-filtered honesty has won the hearts of thousands of parents throughout the UK.
She has previously written for the Metro and made appearances on BBC News, BBC 5 live, LBC etc. Carla is a finalist for Blogger of the Year award with Simply Ladies inc. Carla is also the host of the popular Fifty Shades of Motherhood podcast and The MyBump2Baby Expert podcast.