All babies go through sleep regressions, but what are they and what can you expect? Sleep regressions are a normal part of baby development, but they can be really tough on parents.
The 4-month sleep regression is usually the most difficult for many parents to deal with since it’s the first sleep regression that many babies will experience.
During 4-month sleep regression, babies may experience difficulty sleeping through the night and might wake up more often than usual. This is a normal stage of a baby’s growth and development and usually lasts anywhere from 2-4 weeks.
Do All Babies Have Sleep Regression at 4 Months?
Babies are babies and there is no one “rule” for when babies will experience sleep regressions. This means not all babies will go through the 4-month sleep regression phase.
These sleep challenges can vary from baby to baby.
Some may have difficulty falling asleep at four months old, while others may find it hard to fall asleep until later on. This variability is due to the fact that different infants exhibit different sleep patterns and considerable variations in infant sleep.
What Causes a 4-Month Sleep Regression?
The 4-month sleep regressions typically happen between 3-4 months. This is the age when babies usually start to cycle between deep sleep and light sleep, otherwise known as REM and experience maturation of their circadian rhythm. REM sleep is a lighter sleep where we dream.
At 4 months old, babies are going through a major transition as they start to wake more during the day and sleep less at night. This can be disruptive to their sleep patterns and may cause setbacks like sleep regressions. During the 4-month sleep regression, it’s hard for babies to fall asleep and stay asleep.
There are several things that can contribute to a 4-month sleep regression, including brain development, growth spurt, and changes in the environment.
However, much of the underlying biology of infant sleep is still unknown. And while there can be many different causes for a 4-month sleep regression in babies, even pediatric sleep experts may not know what the exact cause is.
Is the 4-Month Baby Sleep Regression Bad?
The 4-month baby sleep regression is not bad because it is completely normal part of development and growth spurt. Most babies go through this phase and it is only temporary.
There are things that you can do to help your baby through this phase, such as making sure they get enough daytime sleep and establishing consistent bedtime routines to help your baby fall asleep.
The 4-month sleep regression is not something to be concerned about, it is just a normal part of your baby’s development.
What Are the Symptoms of 4-Month Sleep Regression?
Sometimes, a baby will start having trouble sleeping through the night at about 4 months old.
This is called sleep regression, and it can cause a lot of havoc for both parents and babies.
- baby cries more than usual
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- can’t get back to sleep and get into their next sleep cycle
- waking up frequently during the night or an increased night waking
- excessive daytime sleepiness
- taking short naps
- baby wakes suddenly after sleeping soundly for a few minutes
- reduced total sleep time
- poor appetite or sucking reflex
- obvious changes in usual sleep patterns
Sleep regression also affects a baby’s daytime and night sleep cycles. If you notice any of these changes in your baby’s sleep habits, it could be a sign of 4-month sleep regression. This is a normal, temporary condition that typically lasts for 2-4 weeks. During this time, your baby may have difficulty settling down for naps and nighttime sleep.
How to Manage Baby’s 4-Month Sleep Regression?
Parents have a new challenge to face when their baby hits 4 months old – the 4-month sleep regression.
This is a time when babies suddenly stop sleeping through the night and may start waking up every two or three hours.
While there is no one perfect solution to managing this sleep regression we’ve done a full guide on How To Put A Fussy Baby To Sleep, there are some things that parents can do to make it a little easier.
- Try to stick to your baby’s regular sleep schedule as much as possible. This means putting them down for naps and bedtime at the same time each day.
- Create a calming bedtime routine that will help your baby relax and get ready for sleep. This could include a warm bath, gentle massage, or reading a short story together.
- Avoid overstimulation before bedtime. Instead, opt for quiet activities such as looking at books or listening to soft music.
- Make sure that your baby’s sleep environment is conducive to restful sleep by keeping the noise and light levels low.
- Use the proper motion and sound to soothe your baby back to sleep when they reach the light sleep stage of their sleep cycle, you can keep rocking a baby to sleep up to 6 months.
- If your baby is waking up frequently during the night, try soothing them back to sleep with a pacifier or by gently rubbing their back.
- Be patient and remember that this phase will eventually end. In the meantime, try to get as much rest as you can so that you can be well-rested and better able to deal with the demands of parenting.
- Offer plenty of opportunities for daytime naps (morning and afternoon nap) so that your baby can make up for some of the lost sleep at night.
- Identify what’s causing your baby to wake frequently. If it is sleep association such as being rocked to sleep, create situations where your baby starts weaning off of these sleep associations that they’ve fallen asleep.
- Make sure the baby is well fed and hydrated during the day as this can also help them get more sleep at night.
- Pay attention to your baby’s sleepy cues and put them down for a morning nap or bedtime when they start to yawn or rub their eyes. Sleep cues vary from one baby to another though so pay close attention.
- Minimize any stimuli in your baby’s room during sleep periods.
- Use a white noise machine for babies younger than 12 months.
How Long Does the 4-Month Sleep Regression Last?
The 4-month sleep regression usually lasts for two to four weeks, but it could also only last for a few days. These sleep problems depend entirely on the baby’s sleep patterns.
You may be wondering why your baby is waking up more at night or taking shorter naps. This can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that this is a temporary phase.
Conclusion on 4-Month Sleep Regressions
The 4-month sleep regression is a normal developmental milestone that all babies go through. It usually lasts for two to four weeks, but could also only last for a few days. This depends entirely on the baby’s sleep habits.
FAQ on Baby Sleep Regressions
What Are the Usual Sleep Patterns of a 4-Month-Old Baby?
In general, 4-month-old babies should get between 12 and 17 hours of sleep in a day, including nighttime sleep and three or four naps. This may vary depending on the baby, however, so it’s important to pay attention to their individual needs.
At this age, most babies are leaving the newborn stage and may experience changes to their sleeping habits.
How Do You Know When Sleep Regression Is Over?
There is no one definitive answer to this question as every baby is different. However, there are some general signs that regression is over.
One indication is that your baby’s sleep becomes calmer and more like it was before the regression began. This is a good time to start sleep training if you haven’t already.
However, some babies are still fussy months later because their sleep never really improved. If this is the case with your baby, talk to your pediatrician about possible solutions.
Sleep regression usually goes away after a few weeks and once it’s gone and sleep begins to be normal again, there’s no better time to start sleep training to help babies fall asleep on their own. Doing so will make the next sleep regression if it ever happens, much easier than the last one.
What Are the Stages of Sleep Regression?
Sleep regression is a normal occurrence during a baby’s development. There are generally six stages of sleep regression, which happen at 4 months, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, and 2 years old.
Each stage is marked by different changes in a baby’s sleeping habits or toddler sleep patterns. There will be at least one sleep regression during your baby’s life before she turns two.
How Do Parents Establish Healthy Sleep Habits in Babies?
If you’re a parent, you know that getting your baby to sleep through the night can seem like an impossible task.
However, there are some things you can do to establish good sleep habits in your baby.
- Follow a consistent bedtime routine.
- Establish a regular sleep schedule to prevent sleep deprivation.
- Put baby to bed drowsy but fully asleep.
- Use a pacifier if needed.
- Keep the room dark and quiet. A dark room can help babies associate darkness with their sleep cycles and help them fall back to sleep when they wake up in the middle of the night.
- Burp and change your baby before putting them down to sleep.
- Have a set limit on how much time you spend in the nursery each night.
- Don’t overstimulate your baby before bedtime.
- Be familiar with your baby’s sleep-wake cycle, particularly wake windows, so that you can plan accordingly.
- Start breaking any sleep associations to make babies start sleeping independently.
- Avoid letting your baby get overtired.
- Put your babies down to sleep on their backs.
- Sleep train your baby so that she will learn how to self-soothe.
This article was written by: Gian MIller – Full-Time Writer, Baby Whisperer & Dad of 3.
Gian spends a lot of his time writing. A self-proclaimed baby whisperer, Gian has been through it all with his own children and is passionate about sharing his hard-won wisdom with other parents. When he’s not writing or changing diapers, you can find him playing the guitar or watching baseball (or preferably both at the same time).