Four Month Old Sleep Regression
In general, I find sleep regressions to be a little bit scary and a bit of a self-fulling prophecy. However, of all of them, and I do sometimes feel like there’s one for every day of the week, like the four-month sleep regression, the six-month sleep regression, the eighth month, ten month, fifteen month, eighteen month. Sometimes it seems to me as if there’s one for every second week. However, of all of them, the four-month sleep regression is the one that I believe genuinely causes the most consistent havoc.
Four months sleep regression has basically two things at play. The first thing is that your little one’s senses are much more switched on, so they can hear a lot more, they can see a lot more and they have all of sudden kinda realised they are part of this whole big world. So that’s one part of it and another part that that first part impacts, this is the time in your little one’s life where they are starting to develop distinct sleep cycles.
A quick lesson in sleep cycles
A baby’s sleep cycle lasts around forty-five minutes and they go from going to sleep then transition into a deep sleep and then come up to the top of the cycle where they are in more of a light sleep stage. Prior to this regression, your little one was actually sleeping mainly just in a deep sleep, they weren’t having that transition cycle. So this is actually an advance, however, it doesn’t feel like an advance when your little one’s sleep has gone to poo. Before the four month sleep regression you would have probably noticed that when you have a little one they can sleep anywhere, you could have your baby in one of those capsule car seats that you take out of the car, and pop them into the middle of an operating theatre with bright lights and people around them and they would still sleep. Newborns will just sleep anywhere, they can sleep in the living room while everyone’s having dinner, there’s no problem.
Four month old sensitivity
Around this age of four months, when their senses are switching back on, they are much more sensitive as they come through these sleep cycles. The first thing we need to do is start to make a really good, nice, quiet (but still with white noise, but no extra stuff happening) sleep environment. You want to make that room nice and dark, have the white noise going, you want to make it warm enough so that they are not cold, basic day spa conditions. You want to really focus on their sleep environment, that’s one thing we can do.
The other thing is to keep in mind their wake full periods, and by this age, you definitely notice that there are distinct wake full and sleepy periods, and I want you to be mindful of that and not let your little one get crazy overtired. I have published the wakeful periods on my page a few times, maybe someone can pop them in the comments, I know a lot of you have them saved in your phone. That is definitely something to keep in mind as well.
Why Sleep Guidance won’t work at four months
Here is something we don’t do at four months, we don’t do sleep guidance or any form of sleep training, it’s just simply too young.
This is, unfortunately, going to have to be something you help your little one through. You can try to do a little less at bedtime, when you are putting them down, maybe stop before they are a hundred percent asleep and just lightly pat them instead of full on patting. But honestly, this is not the time for sleep training. Please don’t be thinking “I should be doing control crying, I should be making my baby self-settle”.
Don’t do it for fourth months, it’s too young. It is simply just too young.
I hope that helps answer some questions about four-month sleep regressions.
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