This is likely familiar territory: your 4-month-old baby was sleeping peacefully at night and taking restorative and lengthy naps during the day. Now, suddenly, your baby has transformed into a restless, sleepless, irritable baby. Gone are the days of a proper sleeping schedule for you and your baby. Gone are the days of peaceful naps, and any kind of peace at all.
You’ve likely looked-for signs of illness, early teething, or any other changes that may be affecting your baby. And you’ve found no likely reason for this sudden transformation. If this is the case, it is likely that your baby is experiencing a four-month sleep regression. Don’t worry, this is a normal stage of development.
What is the Four Month Sleep Regression?
The four-month sleep regression is a time during a child’s development when their sleeping pattern permanently changes. This is the stage when your baby’s sleeping habits begin to mature. As your baby is constantly developing, this is the stage when, believe it or not, they become more advanced in their sleeping. When your baby was a newborn, they could easily sleep deeply which is why your newborn was able to sleep anywhere at any time.
The four-month sleep regression involves your baby beginning to transfer between sleep cycles, they are becoming more engaged with their environment, including you and everything around them. A baby at this stage can no longer immediately enter non-REM deep sleep as soon as they fall asleep. Now, they enter a lighter stage of non-REM sleep and continue to enter different sleeping stages throughout the night.
How Can You Fix it?
It is important to note that the sleep regression that your baby is experiencing is temporary. Try to recognize that your baby is probably also having a hard time with this new development. Therefore, take this opportunity to teach your baby positive and healthy sleeping habits. Help them to relax and be able to enter into sleep. Here are a few strategies that you can implement to fix your baby’s four-month sleep regression.
1. Create and Establish a Routine
This is an important strategy, at this age, babies need approximately 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night as well as naps during the day. This is the perfect time to begin regulating your baby’s sleep patterns. You should start putting your baby in their crib for naps during the day and at night when they are showing you signs of being tired and sleepy. It is important to establish a bedtime, sleep and hygiene routine at this stage and do your best to stick to it. A healthy sleep and hygiene routine can include bathing your baby, changing into pajamas, and playing some soothing music. You can choose any activity that you feel will prepare your baby for sleep. The key is to stick to it.
2. Swaddle Your Baby
You can swaddle your baby and hold them tight to encourage them to relax and fall asleep. This tool can be used to soothe your baby at this fussy stage, and it often has a positive outcome. If you’re already doing this, continue to do it along with the bedtime routine you established.
3. Love and Affection
Baby’s love to be cuddled and kissed by their mother or father, providing them with extra affection at this stage will encourage them to feel loved, as they continue to grow and develop. This is a stage where growth spurts can occur. So, keep an eye out for your baby’s height and signs of rolling over or learning to sit up. This can be an exhausting time, as both you and your baby are likely tired, therefore extra snuggles and cuddles will go a long way.
4. Keep Calm
Sleep regression is a natural part of a baby’s development. Your baby is growing and developing at a fast rate. This is a temporary stage, and your baby will overcome this (so will you!) and return to having longer stretches of sleep. If your baby has not adjusted after a few weeks, consider contacting your pediatrician for additional advice and ideas.