A four month sleep regression is very common, but not all babies experience it. You may notice a significant change in your baby’s sleep habits around 3-4 months of age. This is generally after the fourth trimester when your baby has surpassed the newborn phase. Read on to find out more about four month sleep regression and how to get through it a little easier.
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Four Month Sleep Regression – What Is It?
When babies are aged three to four months, their sleep cycles begin to mature. Instead of sleeping like a newborn, they will now experience light and deep sleep cycles.
Why Does This Happen?
Four month sleep regression happens due to a biological change in the way your little one sleeps. Basically, wakes up more frequently because he is growing and developing. This phase is not an indication of going backward. Sleep regression is a result of your baby starting to wake up fully between sleep cycles and needing to fall back asleep.
How Long Does It Last?
Sleep regressions generally last between two and six weeks. Sleep improvement is contingent on how quickly your baby develops healthy sleep patterns and if they are physiologically prepared to link their sleep cycles on their own.
8 Tips For Surviving Four Month Sleep Regression
Because sleep is quintessential for overall health and brain development, we don’t want our babies to miss out on sleep. Whether you’ve already started noticing a change in his sleeping habits or not, here are a few things you can do to make the transition a little easier.
Routine Is Key
A consistent pre-nap and pre-bedtime routine can go a long way in letting your baby know what to expect when it’s time for sleep. A predictable and calm routine can assist in relaxing your baby to prepare them for sleep. A typical bedtime routine involves feeding, bathing, or washing up, followed by a diaper change and pajamas. You can also read a bedtime story before bed. Whatever you decide, it’s essential to be consistent and follow the routine every day in the same order.
Encourage Him To Fall Asleep In One Space
A useful way to prevent your baby from waking up regularly during the night is to assist him in learning to fall asleep under the same conditions he will experience for the remainder of the night. Try to let him sleep in his crib and fall asleep there.
Assisting your baby to learn how to fall asleep on his own can significantly lower the impact of four month sleep regression. Babies that can fall back asleep without things like rocking, feeding to sleep, and patting can use these skills to link their sleep cycles after a short nap or during the night. This will also mean longer sleep cycles. There are a few natural remedies that you can try to help your baby sleep more comfortably, like Dudu Drops or sleepy sprinkles. These products are 100% natural and are specially formulated to help babies sleep more peacefully.
Try To Keep The Sleeping Space Dark
Since our internal clocks let us know to wake up when exposed to light, a darker room with dark curtains can encourage sleep, even when it is daytime. During sleep regression, your baby tends to sleep light during the early morning hours and wakes up more easily. A dark room that impedes sunlight from entering the room can make a significant impact. Once your baby’s sleep cycles has matured, he will typically wake up after a sleep cycle. A light room with too many distractions can cause him to wake up fully.
Be Vigilant About Wake Windows
Babies tend to fall asleep more easily when they are tired, but they should not be overtired. When they stay awake for too long, they will become fussy and will struggle to fall asleep and remain asleep, due to hormonal release. Allowing him to fall asleep within the suitable wake window will make a huge difference in falling asleep more easily and sleeping for longer periods. Look for cues that suggest your baby is ready for sleep.
Wait Before Rushing In
Babies often make noises in their sleep. If he starts to stir between sleep cycles, it’s not necessarily a sign that he needs your assistance. Oftentimes, they will go back to sleep after a few minutes.
Look For Hunger Cues
During four month sleep regression, many babies will experience a growth spurt which means they will feed more often. Sometimes when your baby wakes up more regularly during the night, you might wonder if he is hungry or simply wants to soothe himself back to sleep by sucking. At 3-4 months, you may notice that he needs anything from one to three feedings a night. If he wakes up more frequently than that, it could be due to overtiredness or sleep association.
Some babies develop a feed-to-sleep association and would need assistance between sleep cycles. Try to offer more formula or breast milk during the day to help keep hunger at bay during the night. You can try more regular or longer feeds during the day, dream feeding or cluster feeding before bedtime. Check with a lactation consultant or your pediatrician about your child’s specific dietary needs.
There are many things that parents can do to try and improve their baby’s sleep during the four month sleep regression period. However, keep in mind that your baby’s sleep patterns are not going to be perfect. Not all babies are the same, and some might have difficulty falling back asleep on their own. Developing this skill takes time, and some babies will only be physiologically ready for this at around 5-6 months of age.
We hope you have found these eight tips for surviving four month sleep regression in babies helpful and that you will give some of these guidelines a try to make the transition easier on you and your little one.
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