The 4 month sleep regression - the first of the significant periods of change to your baby’s sleep. Previous to this regression you may have noticed your baby would have nice long naps without needing to be resettled. They may have been sleeping long stretches at night in between feeds, 4-8+ hours perhaps.
Why does it happen?
The 4 month sleep regression is caused by a normal developmental change in a baby’s sleep cycles becoming much more apparent. This regression can happen as late as 5 to 6 months of age. All babies go through this normal maturation is sleep cycles and most babies will experience quite a significant change to their sleep around 4 months of age. Babies begin to wake fully in between sleep cycles in the day time and night time rather than being able to link sleep cycles as easily as they did previously.
Sleep fact: An adult sleep cycle is 90-120 minutes whereas a baby sleep cycle is 40-50 minutes in the day and 2 hours overnight.
How do I know the 4 month regression has started?
Your baby is aged anywhere from 8-10 weeks to 5 month old and is showing some or all of the below signs…
During this regression you may notice that your baby suddenly starts to wake every 40-50 minutes and will need your assistance to go back to sleep.
Overnight your baby may start to wake every 2 hours.
Other common characteristics of this regression include your baby having a wake up before 10pm (you may put them to bed at 7pm and they wake at 8pm or 9pm for example).
Tips for the 4 month sleep regression:
Here are some tips to help you move through this regression as quickly as possible and help your baby have longer naps and longer stretches of sleep at night again.
Teach your baby to self settle and resettle independently (if your baby is being fed, rocked, patted, bounced or uses a dummy to go to sleep - they will likely wake after a sleep cycle and require this to be repeated to go back to sleep)
Use a consistent settling strategy (this helps your baby adjust to the new settling method much faster and reduces any confusion for baby)
Resettle your baby when they wake after 40-45 minutes rather than getting them up out of their bed. A good place to start is to focus on resettling your baby for one nap per day (the middle of the day nap would be best).
Resettle your baby at night for some wake ups. If your baby has been waking every 2 hours overnight and you can rule out hunger, illness, pain, soiled nappy and environmental factors - you could resettle for some wake ups rather than feeding baby every time
The key thing to remember is this regression in sleep WILL PASS however it does require a some consistency with helping baby learn to settle and resettle. Typically within 1-3 weeks of consistency in helping baby learn to settle and resettle, this regression in sleep will be far behind you. You got this parents!
If you need any additional information or support please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book in a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to discuss what is happening for your baby and family.