If you know anyone with little ones or are a mother yourself, then you are most likely aware of the dreaded sleep regression. If not, and you’ve stumbled on this term because your baby’s sleep patterns have you wondering if you’re delirious, I’m here to say “no, mama, you’re not imagining things.”
Your baby’s sleep regression is not only normal, it’s also temporary!
What is the 4-month sleep regression?
To put it simply, it’s a period of time that lasts about two to six weeks when a baby experiences poor sleep after a history of sleeping well.
Signs of a sleep regression
Was your baby in a pretty good sleeping pattern up to this point? If you’re one of the lucky mamas whose baby has been sleeping well at night (or even sleeping through the night), you’re probably going crazy trying to figure out what’s changed! These are the signs your baby is going through the 4-month sleep regression:
- frequent night awakenings.
- shorter naps.
- fighting sleep.
- extreme fussiness.
- changes in appetite.
The 4-month sleep regression is usually a surprise to parents, especially first-time parents! That said, the warning here is that there are certain timeframes in a baby’s life these regressions happen. Usually, they occur at 4 months, 9 months, and/or 18 months.
Why Do Babies Go Through Sleep Regression?
By this time, most parents have gotten used to some type of nightly routine, only to be disrupted by their baby’s maturing sleep cycle. At 4 months, your baby starts cycling through 4 stages of sleep, just like any adult. This means, suddenly, he or she will spend more time in a lighter, non-REM sleep stage, causing more frequent wakeups which may take a little time to adjust.
According to The Baby Sleep Geek, there are 10 causes of sleep regression. Some of the causes of sleep regression, just to name a few, are:
- Physical Developments
- Increase in Cognitive Abilities
- Changes in Sleep Needs
- Disruption of Schedules
How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?
Okay, you’re tired and ready for schedules to get back on track, aren’t you?
The good news is, your baby’s sleep should improve in two to six weeks. Honestly, the odd (and frustrating) sleep schedule will mostly likely disappear as suddenly as it started.
4-Month Sleep Regression Solutions
Don’t stress, there are many things you can do to help ease this transition on both the baby and yourself.
Try out these solutions to help you survive the 4-month sleep regression.
Develop Skills During The Day
If your baby is going through physical or cognitive developments at the time, make sure he’s getting plenty of time to practice his skills during the day.
Offer extra tummy time for building muscles and practice rolling over.
Spend more time reading and speaking to your baby.
Take walks to see the sights.
Try Dropping A Nap
If your baby is still taking about 4 daytime naps, check out their nap schedule.
Are naps shorter or is there a longer timespan between naps?
If naps are also becoming inconsistent, try removing a nap. Be sure to follow your baby’s sleepy cues and lay them in their crib before they become overtired.
Adjust Your Baby’s Bedtime
If your baby is dropping a nap, consider adjusting his bedtime earlier. A bedtime between 6 and 8 p.m. isn’t out of the norm for a 4-month old baby.
Feed That Baby!
A full belly usually makes a baby tired! If you’re looking for longer stretches of sleep, ensure your baby isn’t hungry at bedtime.
Make sure daytime feedings are filling as well.
Stick To A Bedtime Routine
A bedtime routine is one of the most important things you can do to get baby to sleep in the beginning.
Make sure you’re sticking to this schedule, even during a sleep regression to reinforce good sleep habits.
Black Out The Room
Make sure that the bedroom is as dark as possible to reduce or eliminate visual stimuli while your baby is trying to get some shut-eye.
If your baby wakes up and can’t focus on anything, it’s possible the world will be too boring to stay awake for.
Get The Right Sleepwear
Another option is switching to lighter weight sleepwear.
However, a little extra comfort can go a long way, and Nested Bean’s Zen Sleepwear™ is fantastic in helping them self-soothe through the night. Gently weighted Nested Bean’s sleepwear mimics your touch on baby’s chest and sides, leaving your little one feeling comforted and secure, like in your embrace.
Make Night Wakings Dull
If your baby does wake in the middle of the night, follow these tips for ultimate sleep-inducing boredom:
- Keep the smallest amount of light on during diaper changes
- Turn off all lights while breastfeeding or bottle feeding
- Whisper to baby at the most, but preferably no speaking
- Be boring and keep everyone calm – don’t engage in play
While it feels like a sleep regression drags on forever when a parent is exhausted, I can attest that these sleep regressions pass and you will soon forget them. A few weeks will go by, your baby will get back to a routine (if not a better one with these tips) and it will feel like it got better in the blink of an eye.