Surviving the Dreaded Four Month Sleep Regression
Remember those days when your little newborn would sleep forever in the stroller, on your shoulder or the carrier? Even 10 fire trucks flying down Queen Street wouldn’t wake up your peaceful sleeping beauty. This is the sleep of newborns! They can sleep anytime, anywhere.
As babies get closer to four months and the “fourth trimester” ends, baby sleep actually turns into adult sleep. They are easily distracted and often begin waking up early from naps and many times at night. They are growing up and reaching new milestones. Their little brains are on fire and learning many new skills each day. With this maturity comes more distinctive stages of sleep that unfortunately often cause sleep regressions.
I frequently have clients who have near perfect sleepers until the fourth month hits. It doesn’t happen for all babies, but when it does hit, it is not fun! It’s tough. If they are up twice to eat, sometimes they're waking 3,4,5 or even 8 times a day. This can last a few days, weeks or potentially even months. They come in and out of light and deep sleep and often need their parents' help to get back to sleep.
The good news is that it doesn’t normally last. Here are my tips to survive the dreaded 4-month sleep regression:
- Get into survival mode and prepare yourself with coffee brewing and extra hands on deck if you are lucky enough to have a community around you to support you during this tiring phase.
- Don’t rush in at the very first peep! It is hard not to run in and try to coax your little babe back to sleep, but give them some time. They may surprise you and actually fall back to sleep on their own.
- This is a great time to start removing sleep props and teaching your little one to go down wide awake. When they wake in the night, they will begin using their new found self-soothing skills to put themselves back to sleep without your help.
- Early bedtime is KEY. When little babies go down overtired this will often lead to night wakes, early morning wakes and short naps. Watch their sleepiness cues and get them down awake, not drowsy.
I know these times are tough, but try to slow down and enjoy the moments with your little one even with bags under your eyes and two coffees in your hand. Before you know it, you’ll be walking them to Junior Kindergarten or packing your car full of newly-purchased Ikea furniture as you drive them off to their new adventures after high school.
Lisa Kvapil is a sleep consultant with WeeSleep, where Healthy Moms get 15% off select sleep packages. Find out more here: https://gohealthymoms.com/weesleep