One of the pivotal points that led me down the path of becoming a sleep consultant was my experience when my son hit the infamous 4-month sleep regression. Just when I thought we had this sleep thing sorted, my babes’ sleep suddenly took a turn. But guess what? We made it through, and so will you!
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The What and When of the 4-Month Sleep Regression
The 4-month sleep regression, typically hitting at 12-16 weeks, is a period where your baby, who once slept so peacefully, suddenly starts waking more often during the night and takes shorter naps. If you’re scratching your head, wondering, “What happened to my sweet sleeping babe?” — you’re not alone!
The Why: Unpacking the 4-Month Sleep Regression
This sleep disruption happens as your baby’s sleep cycles mature. They’re transitioning from the straightforward newborn sleep pattern to a more complex pattern of sleep, cycling between light and deep sleep stages. This shift often results in more frequent night wakings as they figure out how to self-soothe and connect sleep cycles.
But here’s the comforting news: this is a sign of normal growth and brain development, not a regression per se!
Surviving the 4-Month Sleep Regression: Practical Tips
During the chaos of this sleep regression, it might seem like endless, sleep-deprived nights are your new reality. But remember, this phase is temporary! Here are some strategies that can help your baby (and you!) navigate this transition:
- Consistency is key: Try to stick to your baby’s sleep schedule as much as possible. This routine offers reassurance and ease during this transitional phase.
- Teach independent sleep skills: If your baby relies on props like rocking or feeding to fall asleep, consider teaching them how to fall asleep independently. By developing these skills, they’ll be able to settle back to sleep after waking during the night, making the sleep regression easier on everyone.
- Optimize the sleep environment: Ensuring your baby’s sleep environment is extremely dark, quiet (with white noise, this is my favourite sound machine), and cool can help signal to their body that it’s time to sleep.
Typical Sleep Needs for a 4-Month-Old
Your 4-month-old still requires ample sleep! Generally, they should be taking 3-4 naps per day, with wake windows of 1.5-2 hours. Expect about 4 hours of daytime sleep and 10-12 hours of night sleep. Keep in mind, every baby is unique, so these figures might vary a bit.
The 4-month sleep regression can be a challenging time, but it also offers a golden opportunity to instill healthy sleep habits that will benefit your baby in the long run. You’ve got this!
As always, I’m here to support you through your child’s sleep journey. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need some expert guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out for a personalized sleep plan for your family.
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