The Four-Month Sleep Regression Survival Guide

Congratulations, you’ve finally done it! After a couple months with your newborn, you’ve settled into a sound nighttime routine, and your baby is sleeping for solid stretches through the night (for the most part, at least). Well parents, we have some good and not-so-good news for you.

First, the not-so-good news: your baby is about to hit the dreaded four-month sleep regression. This is a period between 3-5 months where your baby will have less naps and more interrupted sleep, waking up fussy like a newborn all over again. The good news? This is completely normal – it means your baby is developing right on schedule.

Here’s all you need to know about the four-month sleep regression and how to survive it.

What Causes the 4-Month Sleep Regression?

The four-month sleep regression occurs when your baby is hitting developmental milestones. These changes and new skills cause babies to become restless and wake up more often throughout the night, often accompanied with more crying and irritability like a newborn.

Sleep Pattern Changes

As your baby starts to reach the 10-12 week mark, their sleeping patterns begin to change from a newborn’s pattern. With the introduction of REM sleep, they will start to shift between lighter and deeper periods of sleep – just like adults do.

Increased Awareness & Skills

Around the four-month period, your baby is becoming much more aware of their surroundings. They will notice little disruptions more than they did as a newborn and also become more aware that you are not with them. Developments like needing more food, rolling over and having more control of arms and legs also contribute to lack of sleep.

Changes In Sleep Needs

At four months, your baby’s sleep regression is a way of them telling you that they don’t need as much sleep throughout the day as they did as a newborn. This may be the time to cut their naps back by one or even two – depending on your baby.

How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?

While the four-month sleep regression is actually a permanent developmental progression, your baby will begin to get used to their new sleep patterns and other developments, and you’ll typically notice sleep stretches start to get longer again in about 2 to 4 weeks.

Tips For Making It Through The 4-Month Sleep Regression

  • Stick to a consistent bedtime routine: Think bath, breast or bottle, book, bed. Consistency is key to regulating sleeping patterns.
  • Adjust nap times: Shorten naps during the day and consider moving bedtime earlier – just remember to find what works best and stick with it.
  • Make some nursery updates: Blackout the room and try to introduce a white noise machine. Doing so will cause less wakes from brightness levels changing or noises occurring outside the nursery.
  • Put your baby down tired, but awake: Look for signs of your baby becoming drowsy and then act quick to put them to bed. Being overtired will make sleep harder.
  • Feed your baby well during the day: They are going through a growth spurt, meaning they are hungrier throughout the day – and the night.

As with all other tough newborn phases, remember this too shall pass. No matter how grueling the four-month sleep regression can be on parents, your baby will be back on track in no time – meaning you’ll get back to more sleep as well. 

Tags: Parent's Corner