Sleep regression at 4 months is something every parent deals with, even if it doesn’t seem like it. This happens to be one of those least talked about subjects so when it hits, it seems anything but normal.
The truth is not only is it normal, but it is also temporary (thank goodness). Before you think there’s something else behind those multiple wakeups in the night, keep reading to find out what’s really going on and how to deal with it.
What Is Sleep Regression?
In a nutshell, 4-month sleep regression is when your baby’s sleep pattern makes a drastic shift. They may wake up several times throughout the night and have difficulty going back to sleep.
You may have heard that babies who sleep longer are most likely going through a growth spurt, but the same is true for these seasons of regression.
In fact, your baby’s brain is constantly developing which can be a contributing factor to them not sleeping as much. They could be making new connections with rolling over, sitting up, or taking in the environment around them.
This new wave of learning can very well affect their sleep pattern, but don’t worry – it will pass.
What Are The Signs Of 4 Month Sleep Regression?
As with just about every phase your baby will go through, this one has some obvious signs as well. Your baby may be in the thicket of sleep regression if you notice:
- Obvious shift in sleeping through the night.
- Sleep patterns getting worse.
- Changes in appetite.
- Waking up multiple times in the night.
- Taking less naps during the day.
If you are noticing some of these symptoms, then it is pretty safe to say that your four-month-old is in their first wave of a sleep regression (yes, there are more to come).
5 Ways To Handle Sleep Regression At 4 Months
When you are aware of what’s going on with your baby’s development, you will be able to make better accommodations to see them through it. Consider these practical ways to help you and your baby work through this tiring, yet necessary, milestone in life.
Give Your Baby Penty Of Playtime During The Day.
Your baby is most likely figuring out how their little arms and legs work, meaning they’ll be practicing kicking, rolling over, rocking on all fours, and the like.
While these are amazing spurts in movement, their sense of night and day aren’t quite there meaning they will practice their acrobatics any chance they get – including at night.
To help prevent your baby from waking up at night to test out their new tricks, give them lots of playtime during the day.
Give Your Baby Complete Meals During The Day.
If hunger is the culprit to your baby not sleeping regularly throughout the night, remedy this situation by making sure your baby is getting enough to eat during the day.
Don’t overfeed them or pack their bottles with cereal as this could hurt their bellies and lead to digestional issues.
Instead, make sure that when they’re eating, they are able to do so without any distractions. When their curiosity kicks in, eating becomes one of the last things they want to do.
Begin Establishing A Bedtime Routine.
At four months old, your baby still needs roughly 10-12 hours of sleep at night and a couple naps throughout the day.
While your baby doesn’t quite have the concepts of time and schedules down pat, you can certainly help them learn a routine that would lead to a nice night’s sleep.
Some things you can do to create a bedtime routine are:
- Giving a bath.
- Reading a story.
- Playing lullaby music.
- Changing into nighttime clothes.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure to stay consistent and don’t hesitate to make changes to your own routine to accommodate.
Your baby will begin recognizing bedtime with the routine you put into place.
Take A Low-Key, Quiet Approach.
As frustrating as it may seem to wake up multiple times throughout the night, taking a low-key approach to meeting your baby’s needs could be beneficial.
Instead of jumping up to get him or her at the first cry sound they make, consider waiting a few moments. They could go right back to sleep (which would be a plus).
However, if a few minutes go by and they have not gone back to sleep, keep what you do quick and quiet. Refrain from turning on lights or drawing out feedings and changes.
Do what needs to be done and immediately lay them back down. This will help your child associate this time as a time to rest.
Give Your Baby Extra Attention.
It is just as frustrating to your baby to not get a good night’s rest. They also don’t have the words to describe they’re tired which is why they are more fussy, whiny, and crying.
What they are saying when they’re rubbing those eyes and restlessly moving around is, “Hey Mom, I’m tired.”
To help them accommodate this phase, consider offering them extra love and affection. They may also want to nurse more and be cuddled up with you for some of their naps.
This is also a good time to try some soothing techniques such as rocking your baby, shushing, rubbing their back, or playing a few lullaby tunes.
Overall, you want to provide them with the extra forms of communication to show that you care and are trying to help alleviate the situation.
Although 4-month sleep regression seems like it could last forever, it only lasts 2 to 6 weeks for most baby’s.
Sooner than later they will settle into a new sleep pattern and everyone will be back to catching those precious z’s.
Use the practical suggestions above to help you and your baby adjust to this short new season in life.
CHIME IN: Have you ever dealt with sleep regression at 4 months? What were some things you did to alleviate the stress and overwhelm? Let me know in the comments below!