Yes, 4-month sleep regression is real! Between 3 – 5 months of age, our babies may start to struggle with sleep, even though they may previously have been great sleepers!
This is because their sleep cycles change and they come out of their newborn sleep cycles to become more like adult sleep cycles.
This causes issues in our babies sleep as adult sleep cycles go in and out of phases that string together. These cycles can span between 60 – 120minutes during the night. After each sleep cycle, the body will awaken slightly and move to the next phase.
For some babies, if they have gone to sleep while in your arms, rocking, bouncing etc. this may cause them to panic.
Imagine this: if your baby has gone to sleep in a pram after hours and hours of rocking back and forth, round the block, up and down the street but after 60..maybe 120 minutes they awake slightly and see that they are no longer in a pram but in their bassinet, all alone…guess what will happen?
If she could talk it would sound like this: “Mama! Where are you? I thought you were pushing me in the moving bed?? Where am I now, where are YOU? Come and get me!!!! WAAAA!!!!” (Can you blame her? What if you fell asleep in your bed but got up in your neighbour’s bed?? Wouldn’t you freak out?)
So normally, what do parents do when their babies cry at night? They feed as it is automatically assumed that babies cry due to hunger. So they feed. And this repeats every two….sometimes one hour! This begins the sleepless nights known as the four month sleep regression!
During the 3 – 5 month development phase, our newborn babies awaken from their newborn slumber and the world becomes so much more interesting to them! They notice the birds singing, dog barking, kids playing and so feeding becomes less interesting to them! Add on the numerous night feeds overnight, there’s really no reason to feed today, right?
So what happens tonight? The cycle of 1 – 2 hour sleep cycles happen again because our babies circadian rhythm (sleep, wake cycle) become used to this new feeding schedule!
How long does this sleep regression last?
Surely it is just a phase?
Well, I have both good and bad news…😊
The effects of this regression and the frequent night wakings can last for a very long time, if you don’t have a plan to get back on track!
Your baby isn’t magically going to start sleeping better (or again), independent sleeping is a skill that has to be learnt.
The good news, this doesn’t have to be permanent! Through our 5-steps sleep system, we will coach you through the program and you can have a champion little sleeper in a few weeks! You can start fostering healthy sleep habits at any time – it’s never too early or too late!
Imagine, 10 – 12 hours of sleep over night and great solid naps of 1 – 2 hours during the day all this to be able to put your baby down, walk away knowing full well they will sleep! Have a plan for nights and naps with a flexible routine that works for your whole family!
So what can we do about sleep regression?
Start fostering healthy sleep habits for your newborn baby now! Our one-on-one sleep programs will gradually work with you in coaching your baby to sleep on their own at bedtime and naps.
If your baby knows how to put himself to sleep at each sleep cycle, the 4-month sleep regression isn’t so scary!
Some babies don’t even experience this after our coaching program, some may struggle a little but end up moving past it fast!
How do I deal with this sleep regression now though?
Realise that there are changes in your baby’s sleep cycles
Acknowledging the changes in the sleep cycles is the first step. Knowing full well that it isn’t a feeding issue, teething issue, etc but a change in the baby’s sleep cycles. This makes it easier to accept and go through it!
Try to put your baby down awake at bedtime
If you’re thinking “Yeah right, not my baby.” We can definitely help you navigate through these steps and teach you how to put your baby down awake!
Maintain adequate feedings during the day
Every baby has a 24 hour caloric intake, if we are feeding our babies more at night (every 2 hours) then they may not feed in the day and therefore it ‘fixes’ their sleep, wake time and ends up in a never ending cycle of your baby not feeding sufficiently in the day and hence waking at night to feed – not ideal!
Begin to expand wake windows
Getting good, awake time before naps will ensure great naps are taken and sleep promotes sleep so with good, solid naps babies will end up sleeping well at night too!
Consider using a transitional sleeping bag rather than a swaddle
At this age, your baby might need to break free to be able to roll, find their hands to self-soothe etc and moving them into a transitional sleeping bag rather than swaddle may allow them to do so!
However, if by around 5 – 6 months of age and sleep still seems like a struggle, know that you don’t have to go through this alone! Through our one-on-one coaching program we will journey with you until you get your personal sleep success story!
In a matter of weeks, your baby will be able to sleep 10 -12 hours of night sleep in their own cot and you will be able to confidently execute the sleep plan and navigate future sleep regressions. The daytime routine and nap schedule will be able to fit into your family’s lifestyle and values.
You will get age specific support to meet your baby developmentally where he or she is at every stage! Don’t hesitate further and book in for a free 20 minute discovery call with us and we will take you through what we can do for you and your family!