Just when you thought your baby is doing extremely well and sleeping through the night, napping well during the day and sticking to the routine you have set, then suddenly at 15 weeks everything you have worked so hard to achieve turns haywire! Your baby becomes hard to settle to sleep at night, with frequent waking and the day naps becomes short and unpredictable! What is happening and why is this happening all of a sudden? This is known as the 4th month sleep regression ( sometimes it happens at the 3 or 5 months ).
What is happening at 4th month?
This is thought to be strongly related to the brain development of your baby. A newborn sleep is easy as it is just natural for them to want to drink and sleep. As they mature and become more aware of their surrounding, they begin to see, hear and feel things around them. This stimulation sharpens their senses and makes them want to interact. The brain starts to mature and becomes more adult-like. This affects their sleep pattern. Like us, they start to enter into light and deep sleep stages. The usual strategy to rock or nurse them to sleep becomes unpredictable and less effective. What used to be a quick 15 minutes rocking and the baby sleeps now becomes a 45 minutes struggle and the moment you try and put her down, she wakes up and grizzles! So the cycle continues resulting in an overtired baby. Other possible reason is your baby starts to roll over and gets startled while doing so in their sleep. The swaddle won’t be effective anymore and even if you try, your baby will most likely struggle free from it.
How to overcome this sleep regression?
Firstly, you must understand your baby development and ever changing needs. Your schedule must be flexible enough to accommodate the changes that are occurring to stay in sync with your baby natural sleep pattern. Learn the age appropriate sleep schedule for your child. Watch the clock to make sure your baby isn’t overtired by the time you put her down for a nap or sleep.
Secondly, look at how your baby is falling asleep. Is she falling asleep with rocking, cuddling or feeding? Once you have identified your baby’s sleep association, you need to start to wean her off them so she can learn the art of self settling on her own.
How do I teach my baby to self soothe?
There are many methods and techniques to teach your child the art of self settling. Whichever method you choose, you got to be comfortable with it, it depends on your parenting philosophy, your child’s temperament and also your family’s circumstances.
If you are still struggling with getting your child to self-soothe, try sleep coaching. A sleep consultant can review your baby’s sleep routine and habits and suggest ways to improve her sleeping situation through consultation and follow up support as you implement the sleep plan.