Four Month Sleep Regression/Progression

Four Month Sleep Regression/Progression

As a parent of a newborn, you've likely heard of the dreaded "four-month sleep regression." While many parents hope that their baby will start sleeping through the night around this time, the reality is that the four-month sleep regression can throw a wrench in even the best sleep plans.

So what is the four-month sleep regression, and how can you help your baby (and yourself) get through it? Let’s get to the nitty gritty … 

The four-month sleep regression is a developmental stage that babies go through around four months of age. During this time, your baby may experience a disruption in their sleep patterns, including waking up more often at night and having difficulty falling back asleep. This can be frustrating for both you and your baby, as everyone is likely feeling the effects of sleep deprivation.

Why does the four-month sleep regression happen?

Firstly, it is not technically a regression but a progression. Changes which occur during this progression are changes to their sleep stay with them, they don’t revert back. It is seen as a regression because sleep does go haywire as a response to the changes to your baby’s sleep structure.

The reasons for the four-month sleep regression: 

  1. It is the developmental changes that your baby is going through where their sleep patterns change, for good. Daytime sleep cycles become clearly apparent, somewhere between 30 - 45 minutes. This is why your bub is waking from their nap and not resettling. Night time sleep cycles change from 4 - 6 hours to 2 - 4 hours. 4 hours being a sleep cycle, 2 hours being a partial. This is why you might find your bub stirring/waking and not resettling easily after 2 hours.
  2. Your baby is likely going through a growth spurt at this time, which can disrupt their sleep patterns.
  3. Your baby is becoming more aware of their surroundings and may be easily stimulated by noises, light, or movement.

What we all want to know, how can you help your baby through the four month sleep regression?

While the four month sleep regression can be tough, there are some things you can do to help your baby (and yourself) get through it. Here are some tips:

  1. Stick to a consistent bedtime routine: Having a consistent bedtime routine can help signal to your baby that it's time for sleep. This can include things like a bath, reading a book, or singing a lullaby.
  2. Keep a routine or rhythm about your baby’s day. Have them wake up at the same time in the morning, around 7 am is ideal, and make sure they are napping at roughly the same time each day (give or take 30 or so minutes).
  3. Try to minimize stimulation: During the regression, your baby may be more sensitive to stimuli like light, noise, and movement. Try to keep the sleep environment calm and quiet during naps and at night to help your baby fall off to sleep easier, stay asleep longer and attempt to go back to sleep when they stir.
  4. Be consistent, patient and persistent: The four-month sleep regression can be tough, but it's important to remember that it's a temporary phase. Be patient with your baby and yourself, and know that things will eventually get better. Be consistent, don’t keep changing up approaches, choose a way of being and stick with it. When you swap and change approaches and techniques this confuses bub and will inevitably make the regression harder.

In conclusion, the four-month sleep regression can be a challenging time for both parents and babies. However, with a lot of consistency, persistence and patience and some helpful strategies, you can help your baby get through this phase and start sleeping more soundly once again.