I’ll be honest, the 4 Month Sleep Regression can be a real doozy. It’s often the first time where baby’s sleep goes off the rails for parents. When I was a new mom, we were barely surviving on the amount of sleep we were getting, and then that first regression hit, and it felt like we wouldn’t get through it.
Maybe your little one was juuuust starting to get into a predictable sleep pattern, and now putting them down for any bit of rest isn’t going too well, or you’re up every couple of hours. Yikes! But the good news is that regressions are relatively short, manageable, and a sign that your baby is developing as they should. And as always, I’m here to support you through it in the meantime.
Where The Trouble Starts
Around 4 months old is when your baby gains another sleep cycle. While this is a good thing for their sleep development, going to sleep (and staying that way!) isn’t as simple as it’s been up until now. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but all of those on the go naps where baby could fall asleep anywhere, and in any amount of light are going to be fewer and farther between. They just become a little less portable because their little sleep cycles will be around 30-45 minutes each now, and they need more of a calm environment than before.
If your babe has any sleep associations that require your involvement to help them fall asleep, they’ll certainly come to light here. It could be something like rocking, feeding to sleep, or putting in a soother to help them fall asleep. If those are working for you, keep going! I’m not here to get in your way. But I’ll be the first to say that doing the Paci Dance 7 times a night to put my girls’ soothers in again and again wore me out quickly.
Here’s how you can go through the 4 month regression and come out the other side more confident, and with your wits intact.
How to Power Through It
When you’re going through a regression, it can feel like forever. But really, they only last 2-6 weeks. You can support your baby while they’re learning, and adjusting to this new sleep situation, because it’s frustrating for them too!
Dark environment – The darker, the better here! Sometimes regular blinds just don’t cut it, and you’re left with crummy naps and early morning wakings. No thanks! My favourite black out blinds are these, as they’re excellent for home or travel. And if you use my code RANCH10 you’ll get a tasty little discount. Plus, you know my love for a sleep environment that helps your little one sleep better and for longer stretches.
Independent sleep – If you haven’t started this yet, now is a good time. I know it can be scary, but I support my clients with different (and effective) methods that work for their parenting styles and comfort levels. The key is consistency, so pick a method and stick to it! If you’d like me to break down each method for you, I’m happy to do that.
Routines are everything – No matter what stage of sleep your little one is at, routines are what make easier sleep happen. Have a dependable routine lets your child know that sleep is coming, so nobody is caught off guard. This might look like:
Practice during the day – At this stage, babies are often learning to roll. They’re learning a new skill, and they can often roll onto their tummy and get stuck. Practice rolling tummy to back with them during the day so they can learn how to roll both ways quicker.
If your little one is starting to show signs of rolling, it is definitely time to stop swaddling. Being swaddled and stuck on their tummy is a dangerous place to be.
I get it, regressions can be really tough! But what’s great is that they’re temporary, a reflection of baby’s development, and totally doable! I’m here for all of the ups and downs of little ones’ sleep. If you’re really struggling with any part of your kiddos’ sleep, I’m all ears to help get everyone back on track and having the ability to be present with your children again – because that’s really hard to do when you’re in survival mode.