What Is The 4 Month Sleep Regression?

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What Is The 4 Month Sleep Regression?

Has your baby gone from being a reasonably good sleeper, able to self-settle, link those sleep cycles and happily go down for day time naps, to the opposite? Have they hit 4 months and everything has changed - frequent night wakings, fussy nap times, refusing to go down? Then you are absolutely not alone.  But what happens to babies at 4 months for their sleep to change so drastically?  Here is everything you need to know about the 4 month sleep regression. 

Baby Sleep Cycles:

When babies are first born their sleep is different from ours, their cycles are shorter and they drift off into a light sleep before transitioning into a deep sleep.  When they reach circa 4 months (it usually happens between 3 and 5 months) babies go through a huge developmental leap and their sleep is one of the things affected. Their sleep cycles increase and their sleep pattern matures towards what we do as adults – deep sleep transitioning into lighter sleep. As a result of this development, they spend more time in lighter sleep, sometimes resulting in frequent night wakings.    This change is permanent and should be seen as a positive, it is a huge milestone for your little one! However, this does not mean that you just have to live with broken sleep from here on in. 

Adapting Sleep Routines:

Some babies take a couple of days/weeks to readjust and some parents don’t really notice the change. Other babies need a little more support to adjust to their new sleep cycle and there are ways in which we can help our little one achieve the sleep they need to grow and develop:
  • Environment: Look at the environment that your baby is being put to sleep in. Our aim is for it to be dark, cool, screen-free and calm. 
  • Day time naps: Sleep breeds sleep. Day time naps play a massive part in your baby settling well and sleeping well at night by preventing them from becoming overtired and overstimulated. It may be time to look at gentle nap routines for your little one. 
  • Sleep associations: We all wake up during our sleep cycles when we transition between deep sleep into light sleep, but as adults we tend not to remember it. Babies, on the other hand, may wake up fully. If your little one is used to being, for example, rocked or fed to sleep, then they are going to need the same thing done to get them back to sleep every time they wake up. Look at introducing a sleep association that doesn’t involve you, white nose, a comforter, a dark room. 
  • Sleep coaching: Some babies need a little more help to get them back to being good sleepers. This is where you can use a gentle, consistent sleep coaching method that feels right for you and your baby.
  Remember, you matter too, and if you have been hit hard by this change in your babies sleep pattern then make sure you ask for help. Lower your expectations on what you will achieve in a day when you have had 2 hours sleep, listen to your mind and body, and get some sleep whenever you can.  If you feel you need guidance with the 4 month sleep regression then please have a look at my packages and send me an email (tori@thisparentcan.com) to book in for your free 15 minute consultation.