Has your four-month-old baby who used to sleep soundly through the night suddenly become overactive? Have his sleeping habits changed drastically? Don’t run to your paediatrician yet; this is most probably the 4 month sleep regression.
- Recommended read: DSPS (Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome) and DSPD (Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder) explained
So, what is 4 month sleep regression?
Till your baby reaches the four-month mark, his sleeping habits are very different. Babies sleep deeply during the first few months of their life. This deep sleep is the reason why you often find babies sleeping through anything.
When babies become four-months-old, their brain matures, and their sleeping habits change and become more like those of adults. Now they too start moving between deep and light sleep. In fact, this change in their sleeping habits is a very typical developmental milestone just like crawling and walking.
- Also read: How much sleep do I need?
While it’s good news that your baby’s growth is right on track, it can become a challenge for the sleep-deprived parents. Your baby’s naps will start to get shorter, and you may have to wake up in the middle of the night more often to help your baby get back to sleep.
Around this age, your babies will also learn new tricks like rolling from their backs to their bellies. So, if your baby wakes up in the middle of the night on his stomach, he may need your help in getting back to sleep.
Five signs of 4 month sleep regression
Are you still not sure why your baby is so cranky? Watch out for these signs of 4 month sleep regression.
1. Increased level of fussiness
If your baby has started to cry more often for no apparent reason and it is starting to affect their sleep pattern, it is a sure sign of sleep regression.
2. Longer naps
If your baby isn’t sleeping well at night, he will take longer naps during the daytime because of sheer tiredness.
3. Frequent night-time waking
Babies usually wake up during the night for a diaper change or their feed. But if they start waking up frequently every night, you can attribute it to sleep regression.
4. Change in appetite
If your baby is refusing to feed, has difficulty latching or has started spitting out the formula, it can be a sign of sleep regression.
5. Restless during sleep
If your baby is restless and is frequently changing his position while sleeping, it is a sign of sleep regression.
When does sleep regression start and how long does it last?
Sleep regression can start anytime between three to five months. It can last between two to four weeks. If it doesn’t resolve in four weeks time, then it means that your baby is ready to be more independent. It’s time to teach your baby a new way to sleep.
How to cope with 4 month sleep regression?
Coping with your baby’s 4 month sleep regression can be quite tricky. As parents, you need to be creative to deal with your baby’s changing sleep patterns. Here are some tricks to help you deal with your baby’s new sleeping routine.
Stick to a schedule
Nap times get easier when you follow a plan. You don’t have to follow the clock, just stick to the nap, eat, play, repeat the formula. Feed your baby as soon as he gets up. When your baby has had his full feed, it’s time for some play. Interact with your baby till he is ready for sleep again.
Don’t let them get overtired
Watch out for signs of sleep in your baby. If your baby is rubbings his eyes, losing interest and yawning, it’s time for his nap. It is much more difficult to get an overtired baby to sleep than one who is just getting tired.
Create the right atmosphere in your baby’s room
Keep the room dark so that he can learn to associate darkness with sleep. Keep the room at a comfortable because most babies kick away their blanket while sleeping. Keep your baby’s crib free from any distractions. Place a white noise sound machine in your baby’s room as it is soothing for him.
Follow a night-time routine
A night-time routine helps your baby differentiate daytime naps from sleeping at night. The quicker they get used this routine, the better it is. Stick to a fixed time to get your baby to sleep every night. The night-time schedule can include changing into pyjamas and a clean diaper, reading a book or singing a song to your baby, feeding him and then putting him in the crib.
When they wake up
Most babies wake up during the night and can get cranky if you do not deal with them efficiently. Never turn on bright lights if your baby wakes up during the night. Keep the lights dim. Avoid talking to him/her, sing a soothing song instead. Don’t change the diaper unless it is wet. Feed your baby and get him back to sleep as soon as possible.
- Suggested Read – How to Get Baby to Sleep in Crib?
Sleep regression can last a while and can be very tiring for the parents. This is the right time to seek help from family and friends so that you can regain your energy for the challenges that the next day brings.
Is four-month regression different from other regressions?
The four-month regression may be your baby’s first sleep regression; unfortunately, it won’t be his last. The next sleep regression comes along around eight months. But having experienced and dealt with this one, you will be better prepared for the next one. It does get easier each time.