Around the age of four months, a baby’s sleep cycle often shifts, resulting in broken sleep and cranky little ones who struggle to get shut eye or remain asleep at night. This transition, often referred to as the 4-month sleep regression, can be a trying time for parents and children.
Here we share a few simple tips to help you survive the infamous 4-month sleep regression.
- Be mentally prepared and get ahead of the regression before it arrives.
There is no quick fix solution to a 4-month sleep regression. However, if you understand the major development your baby’s tiny body is undergoing during this time, and why they are experiencing a regression in the first place, you may be better equipped to help them (and yourself) through this unpredictable time.
As your little one outgrows the newborn phase of development, certain changes may begin to happen which can adversely affect their regular routines and sleep cycles. At this age, they are beginning to gain independence and will start to notice the world around them in more detail. They may be reaching new milestones such as rolling over, grasping objects or laughing out loud. These changes are often a sign of significant brain development and growth. However, this increased stimulation may also result in shifting sleep patterns and an inevitable regression which may last between 2 to 6 weeks.
If you are mentally prepared for this adjustment period, you can get ahead of a regression without it causing havoc or completely disrupting your home.
- Consistency is key
It may be hard to keep to your standard bedtime routine when your little one is constantly waking up or battling to sleep through the night during a 4-month regression. However, it is important to keep things consistent. Stick to regular bedtime rituals and do very little to alter your baby’s sleep environment. If you implement any sudden changes now, it may be even harder to rectify after the regression has passed.
- Set the scene for a good night’s rest
Ensure that your baby’s room is free from distractions which could hamper sleep. Keep things quiet and dark to promote sleep. Block-out curtains are a great option to avoid early morning light or outside views. If your little one seems more restless than usual, try swaddling them or invest in a weighted blanket which may help to promote a calming presence at night.
- Increase feeds if needed
Your baby is growing and may require increased feeds to help them through this sleep regression. They may sleep for shorter periods and wake up due to hunger and you can certainly help by offering them regular or increased feeds during this time. They may require longer feeds at each nursing session or they may simply need more frequent feeds for a few days to help them adjust. Either way, follow your baby’s cues and allow them to feed when hungry.
- Monitor your baby’s day naps.
If your baby is taking shorter naps during the day, it may be time to adjust nap times to accommodate an earlier bedtime. At this phase of development, some parents may opt to drop the last day nap and put baby to bed a little earlier, so that they have better, or longer, sleep at night.
- Implement sleep training
You do not have to be exhausted or at your wit’s end to implement practical sleep training techniques in your home. In fact, professional sleep training will act as a guide to help you ensure better rest for your entire family.
Some simple techniques include helping your little one to fall asleep independently or putting baby to bed when they are drowsy yet still awake. You could also aid them to soothe themselves to sleep or help to break bad habits that may have arisen in the first few months of your baby’s life at home. Be gentle, offer lots of affection and patience, and soon enough this 4-month sleep regression will be a thing of the past.