In my last post I talked about developmental leaps and sleep regression. These leaps cause many challenges for parents and the one that people complain the most about is the 4-month sleep regression.

Often parents are feeling wonderful when their 3-month old is sleeping through the night and then all of a sudden, their sweet baby starts getting up many times during the night.

What happened?
Four-month-olds are learning so many new things, but these may affect their sleep:

  • Rolling over! It is time to take off the swaddle if you still have them in one

  • More observant of the exciting world and more distracted with feedings

  • Starting to learn cause and effect – when they smile and giggle, we respond

  • The brain is starting to organize night sleep from daytime sleep

  • Routines help baby learn what comes next

While this growth is exciting for your baby and for you, you may find their sleep gets a little disrupted. There are things you can do to help your baby sleep for longer periods of time at night. If your baby is over 15 pounds, he should be able to go 6-8 hours without a feeding.

Helpful tips:

  1. Make sure he is getting enough milk during the day by feeding him every 2-4 hours according to his hunger cues. It is also good to feed when he wakes from a nap rather than when he goes down to nap. This will help remove the association of feeding with sleeping.

  2. Consider giving the baby his own space for sleeping. Because of his new awareness of you, he is more apt to wake and call for you. If he is in your room, consider moving him further away from mom or creating a separate space with a divider of some sort. While the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends room sharing for the first 6-12 months, if you decide to move him out of your room, it is a personal decision. Many parents report babies sleeping for longer stretches when the baby is in his own room.

  3. Establish a predictable bedtime routine that lasts 30-40 minutes. That routine may include, feeding, a lovey, diaper change, PJ’s, book, rocking, and bed. Again, notice that feeding is not the last thing before bed. This is to ensure that baby does not fall asleep while eating and is placed in their sleep space drowsy, allowing him to fall asleep on his own. The routine should conclude by having him asleep between 7:00-7:30 pm.

  4. Consider doing a dream feed between 9:30-11:00 before you go to bed. This will ensure baby has enough in them to sleep all night or with only one feeding before waking between 6-7 am.

Naps are another part of the day that can be frustrating for parents because baby is not yet on a schedule. Around 5-months the naps become more organized and the first one is always the first to fall into a routine. The wake window is between 90-120 minutes for four-month-olds with the first nap likely happening closer to 75-90 minutes after waking. Watching your child’s sleep cues and not allowing them to get overtired will help them fall asleep easier and take longer naps. Patience is necessary as your baby grows and develops in this area!

When your baby is four to five months old it is an ideal time to create good sleep habits that will carry you through future leaps. If you are finding that your baby still wakes every two hours during the night, now would be a good time to work with a coach to get a good routine and habits established so you all can get the much-needed sleep you deserve!

Reach out for a free 20-minute consultation! I would love to talk with you!

Download “A Tired Parent’s Guide to Restful Sleep” for more details regarding sleep.