Has your little one who used to be easy to put down, or could sleep a couple of hours at a time has suddenly wanted only to sleep on you, or will nap only 30 minutes max at a time? You could be going through the 4 month sleep regression. Find out more with our guide to the 4 month sleep regression.
What are sleep regressions?
As our babies grow, they go through huge developmental changes – from seeing and learning more about the world around them, rolling, teething, crawling, pulling up, walking, saying their first words.
The cot is their favourite place to practice their new found skills. All of these can cause sleep disruption for small periods of time as they act out these new skills in their sleep and often wake themselves.
What happens during the 4 month sleep regression?
At four months, there is a physiological change in the way babies sleep.
They enter stages of Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep which is where all the good things happen: committing it to memory, restoring energy and development takes place.
Once this occurs, they will naturally wake during those sleep cycles, like us adults. It’s completely normal, we don’t want to stop night wakings.
Does the 4 month sleep regression always start at 4 months?
Not always, it can sometimes happen earlier or later, however it is very common for this to be between three and five months old.
4 month sleep regression signs
For some it is obvious, and for others, they may pass with only a few changes to their little ones sleep.
Obvious signs are:
- Your little one is finding it harder to fall asleep. If your little one previously happily fell off to sleep, and now your way of getting them to sleep is no longer working no matter how long you try for.
- Those naps become shorter than they were before. Yes, and this includes even shorter naps, usually somewhere between 30-45 minutes, and they really struggle to resettle.
- Frequent night wakings are now becoming a typical night and every one to two hours has become the norm.
I vividly remember our 4 month sleep regression, it was New Year’s Eve and the night wakings became every 45 minutes with only the boob to settle back to sleep. It is incredibly difficult to be so sleep deprived.
How long does the 4 month sleep regression last?
For little ones who are able to fall asleep and resettle independently, there may be little disruption and you may not even notice.
Yet, for others, it may lead to a period of struggling to go down for bedtime and nap time, being unsettled and struggling to resettle to sleep for longer periods. Don’t think this will be the new norm forever, you are not failing!
4 month sleep regression tips
Support your baby to settle independently
This can be gradual. There are many methods out there, so make sure you choose one you feel comfortable with.
Introduce a routine
Routines allow your little one to feel like they know ‘what’s coming next’. Routine doesn’t equal having to be in the house 24/7, however planning to be in or on the move at nap times will really help to ensure they are napping at the right time for their age.
A dark room and possibly some white noise
Ever found it really hard to fall asleep in a really bright and noisy room? Maybe not since having a baby and being so tired… but the same can be true for our little ones.
Know help is out there and don’t be afraid to ask
We are as important as our little ones. If we aren’t rested it makes it even more exhausting to be a parent, as much as we love them and they are cute. Take help where you can and even laying down with eyes shut whilst not asleep can as restorative.
The 4 month sleep regression can be particularly difficult, especially if you have counted your blessings on having a great sleeper. It’s a natural change in the way your baby sleep has progressed. It can take time for it to pass and with my tips, go at the pace that suits you.
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