YES. The four month sleep regression is real. Ask my five-month-old baby how I know. While not every baby experiences this, it’s very common. Laney’s sleep regression lasted a few weeks, which felt like an eternity during those long nights. Never fear, mamas! Extra snuggles and maybe a second cup of coffee will get you through the woods.
What is the four month sleep regression?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, babies under three-months-old need 14-17 hours of sleep, and older babies need about 14-15 hours of sleep. The four month sleep regression is occurring because your baby doesn’t need quite as much sleep as they used to, and most of their sleep is beginning to happen at night. (Hopefully!) Newborns have two sleep cycles and adults have five; sleep regression is a sign that your baby’s sleep cycle is maturing to be more like ours. This can happen anytime between three and six months.
This is how I knew that Laney was experiencing a sleep regression:
A sleep regression is also a good indication that your baby is going through a growth spurt, which is a good thing! All that growing and learning is exhausting, and it changes sleeping habits.
Here’s how I survived Laney’s sleep regression:
(Please note that every baby and every family is unique. This advice is based on what worked for us and what I learned from research and speaking with our fantastic pediatrician.)
Establish a Bedtime Routine
If you haven’t established a bedtime routine yet, get after it! Now is the perfect time because your baby’s circadian rhythm is getting in a groove and their schedule will probably become more predictable soon. Our bedtime routine is simple:
- I change Laney’s diaper and pjs if needed
- Nurse her in bed
- Burp her (No burp = no sleep)
- I put her in her günamüna sleep bag
- Then we snuggle and read a bedtime story with Big Sis.
Laney is usually asleep by the time our story is over and we’ve said our prayers. She sleeps in a bassinet right next to our bed.
Focus on a Full Feedings
A previous blog post focused on the importance of a full feeding to help babies sleep. As your baby gets older this remains just as important. Encourage your baby to eat a full meal at each feeding so their tummy is full and everyone can get a more restful sleep.
Laney also happened to be cluster feeding for a few days during her sleep regression. This meant that she was hungry all the time, especially in the evenings. Extra nursing, comfort, and patience were required to adapt to her new sleep and feeding schedule. Keep a lookout for a future article about cluster feeding; it warrants a whole page of its own!
Use a Sleep Bag
When Laney can’t be cozy and warm in my arms, her günamüna sleep bag has her covered. When it’s 2am and she needs a diaper change, the zipper at the bottom of her sleep bag makes it quick and easy. (Just like her convertible pjs!) Parents have enough to worry about; the last thing we need are endless buttons and outfit changes in the middle of the night.
At this age babies are becoming more engaged with their environment and everyone in it. They’ve discovered their hands, they want to try and sit up on their own, and roll over. Give them time during the day to play and practice these skills; according to Healthline, this could lead to more rest at night.
Ask for Help
If you have a partner, get him or her involved in the late night fun. For breastfeeding moms, it can be tough for anyone else to offer comfort, but partners can still help by taking over diaper changes, rocking your baby to sleep after their tummy is full, and taking care of you as you take care of your baby. Or, ask a family member or friend to help out during the day or on the weekend so you can take a much deserved nap.
Snuggle Your Baby (This doesn’t spoil them!)
I do not subscribe to the “cry it out” method. Crying is Laney’s only form of oral communication, and as her mom, it is my job to comfort her and meet her needs. It also goes against every motherly instinct I have to let her cry, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about motherhood, it’s the importance of following my instincts. (I feel very passionate about this topic!) This doesn’t mean my babies have never cried. Yesterday I needed to give Big Sis a bath, so Laney sat in her little bouncy seat in the bathroom and was not a happy camper. Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do! However, to help Laney get through restless nights, I often rock her to sleep at all hours. Comforting your baby when they can’t sleep will NOT spoil them. When babies’ needs are met, their mind and body are free to learn and thrive.
Have a Positive Mindset
I know you’ve heard this before, but sleepless nights won’t last forever! Remind yourself that you WILL sleep again, and so will your baby. Each time you scoop your baby in your arms, feed them, talk to them, sing to them, and soothe them, you are forming a closer bond. These moments are precious and important; the work you are doing is important. Your baby will only need you this much for a short while, and it’s YOU they need, the person who loves them most in the world.
You’ve got this, mama! Our team at günamüna is here to help with the night shift. (This very long night shift.)