Today we have a guest writer, sleep consultant Erika Lamour from The Sleep Dept speaking with us about the 4 month sleep regression. She’ll be writing for us for the next few months, so if you’re wanting to find out more about helping your baby to sleep, keep an eye out… over to Erika.
The 4 month sleep regression
After many long, sleepless nights staying up with your bub, you’ve finally got it all figured out. You’ve developed a solid sleep schedule and your baby is not only taking long naps through the day but actually sleeping through the night. You feel almost…well rested! It’s a miracle!
But just as you think you’ve got it all figured out, things go downhill. All of a sudden, you’ve got a cranky, fussy baby on your hands, who won’t fall asleep, let alone stay asleep. What the hell is going on?
Don’t worry, what you’re dealing is totally normal. Enter, the dreaded 4-month sleep regression. The bad news is, these last indefinitely. The good news is, there are ways you can manage it and actually use it as an opportunity to build positive new sleep habits. Here’s what you need to know.
What causes the 4-month sleep regression?
While it may not seem like it when you’ve got a crying baby in your arms, the 4-month regression is actually a good thing. In fact, it’s more of a progression than a regression! It’s a sign your little one’s brain is maturing. Your bub is going through all sorts of physiological changes, but it’s most evident in their sleep. Note: this can actually happen anytime after they’re three months old, so don’t be alarmed if it happens early.
Basically, what’s happening is, their slumber is becoming more adult-like. Before the three or four month mark, your baby would immediately enter deep, non-REM sleep when they fall asleep. As they go through the regression, they will begin to enter a lighter, non-REM sleep stage first. This is the same as how us adults sleep — in multiple cycles. But as this is all new to your bub, they don’t know how to deal with it. So, they struggle to make it past the non-REM phase and wake themselves up. This vicious cycle goes on and on and your bub ends up overtired. Not fun!
How to deal with the 4-month sleep regression
While to an extent, you need to let the 4-month sleep regression run its course, there are strategies you can use to help them through it. These include:
Create a relaxing sleep environment:
Now is the time to teach your bub that their cot is an awesome place to sleep. Yep, unfortunately, that means saying goodbye to car and pram naps! Make sure the room is super dark and cool (but not freezing) and that the mattress is comfy. If there’s any noise around, consider getting a white noise machine.
Keep doing what you’re doing:
The best advice we can give you is to continue helping your baby fall asleep how you’ve been doing it up until this point — yes, it may create some sleep associations, but we will deal with that once they’re past the regression.
Hit the hay earlier:
As your bub starts to take shorter naps during the day, they’ll naturally need to go to bed earlier in the evenings.
Ask for help:
You don’t have to go through this alone! I’ve helped many parents through the 4-month sleep regression. If you need a helping hand, book your FREE 15-minute sleep consultation HERE.
Unfortunately, you’re not out of the woods after the 4-month sleep regression ends — there’s more at 9, 11 and 18 months! But the first one is always the most difficult and once you’ve made it through that, you’ll be a pro!
Other feature articles Erika has written for us
Why baby sleep training isn’t all just black and white – view here.
Erika has been working in childcare for nearly a decade. She’s worked with Newborns, Toddlers, Special Needs, Multiples… and everything in between. Her curiosity in guiding babies to sleep began in 2012, and she quickly read every book she could get her hands on. She then completed qualified training courses in various sleep training techniques. Over the years, she would help out friends and families, before she took her growing passion and turned it into The Sleep Dept. Erika has created her own gentle techniques that have had a 100% success rate. There is no better feeling than supporting families to not only find a solution to their families sleep issues, but one that they also feel comfortable with. To find more about her services, visit thesleepdept.com
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