Is your baby now 4-month old and you are wondering if you will ever sleep again? They suddenly are waking up more often at night, taking short naps, is fussier, or fighting sleep? Your baby may be going through a 4 month sleep regression, but don’t worry this is very common.
When babies are around 3-4 months old, their sleep patterns start to mature. Their sleep cycles have additional cycles of light sleep and deep sleep. If you think that your baby is experiencing the 4-month sleep regression, it’s because they start to fully wake up between these sleep patterns, and need help to fall back to sleep.
At this stage, changes in sleep are caused by a biological change in the way a child sleeps. It is not a “regression”. In other words, your baby may be waking more because they’re growing and developing, not because they’re going backward. Asa result, if they are unable to fall asleep independently between these awakenings, they will need you!
I can guide you through this important developmental milestone. The 4-month sleep regression won’t really go away until your baby has learned to self-soothe. I want to share with you a few ways to manage and deal with this sleep regression
Why is your baby waking up
The first thing you need to do is to identify when your baby is waking up. Does your baby need to be rocked, bounced or need a bottle to fall asleep? If the answer is yes, I recommend weaning your child from that sleep association, to help them self-soothe. We slowly have to teach them how to fall asleep independently without a sleep association or without your help.
What to do
When your baby wakes, give some time before going in the room. In other words, don’t rush into the room right away when your baby wakes up. By the way, it is absolutely normal that your baby wakes up throughout the night. We all wake up multiple times between sleep cycles. The difference between babies and adults, is that we have the ability to fall right back asleep, where some babies don’t. They need our help to self-soothe and go back to sleep. That being said, wait a few minutes before going into the room. They may surprise you and fall right back to sleep on their own and to practice this new skill!
Try using a white noise machine, to help your baby transition from light sleep to deep sleep without waking up. This will also prevent your baby from waking up from external noise such as dogs barking, neighbors, cars etc. Additionally, the darker the room the better. It’s a common misconception that children don’t like the dark. It’s even more relevant at this age as they’re more and more aware of their surroundings, sensitive to the light and the slightest change in their environment may trigger them to wake.
Routine Routine Routine!
Consistency is key! I know how hard this can be and how difficult it is to keep a routine and be consistent, especially when we are tired and we feel that we are not making any progress. Try as much as possible to stick with it, as it will be harder to get back into a routine once your baby has come through the regression. Also, make sure that the naps and awake times are age appropriate.
Lastly, I would recommend removing the pacifier, to prevent you from replacing the pacifier multiple times a night. Using a pacifier is a personal choice and you can absolutely use it if this fits your needs and parenting style. One thing to consider…if your baby needs it to fall asleep at bedtime, they will need it in the middle of the night when they wake up between sleep cycles. In other words, it won’t help your baby learn how to fall asleep independently. If your baby is 4 ½- 5 month old, you can ditch the swaddle. Using the swaddle is great for newborns, but at 5 months, your baby is ready to explore other ways to self-soothe. They may want to sleep on their side, sucking their thumb, kicking their legs etc. If we swaddle them for too long, they won’t have the ability to find other ways to self-settle.
I know how this transition can be difficult for you, the parent. I can help you and your family during this process, and guide you. Get in touch with me and I will be more than happy to be part of your sleep journey.
As always, sleeping babies = Happy families!