4 Tips to Conquer 4 Months Sleep Regression

4 Tips to Conquer the 4 Months Sleep Regression

4 Tips to Conquer the 4 Months Sleep Regression

You have survived the newborn stage. WOO-HOO! It may have left you scarred and deeply exhausted but you made it through. Hopefully you used my strategies from 5 Ways To Help Your Baby Sleep and they helped you get the most sleep out of your child.

Now that your child is 3 months old, you are likely getting a small reprieve in the sleep department. Your sweet little darling might be putting in 6-10 hour sleep stretches at night and might even be taking longer naps. It feels so good to finally start getting some rest. The only problem with this rest is that it’s short lived. The dreaded 4 Months Sleep Regression is right around the corner. It’s a scary time in any parents’ life, whether it’s your first time or not. In some ways it’s even scarier the second or third time around because you know there is no escaping it.

But it doesn’t mean you have to completely lose it while going through this sleep regression. Here are some tips for helping you restore peace to your household.

I think the most important part is to identify what is waking your child up at night. Knowing the cause will help you come up with the right strategy.

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1. Your child is waking up because you stopped swaddling.

Your little newborn has turned into a baby and is learning all about their limbs. They prefer those limbs free and ready to move but they still haven’t fully lost their Moro Reflex. Which means they can startle themselves right out of sleep and need your help to get back to it. So how can you prevent it without the swaddle? Well, you can use the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.

                                                 

With my firstborn, I really did find the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit to be nothing short of magic. My son started consolidating his sleep and doing great, only to grow out of his bassinet and needing to be placed into a crib. It was a big transition for him and one that he didn’t handle well. He started waking up every hour and the only way to get him back down was to nurse him. Needless to say, by day 2, I had ENOUGH!!!!! So I ordered the suit and never looked back.

The first night we placed him in the suit, he slept right till the morning. No more wiggling and no more wake ups. Plus, the sight of the cute little “spaceman” in his suit was one of the cutest things I’ve seen. He wore it until he learned to skillfully turn both ways and no longer needed the padded security of the suit.

4 Tips to Conquer 4 Months Sleep Regression                       4 Tips to Conquer 4 Months Sleep Regression

2. Your child is going through a growth spurt

While a growth spurt can happen around 3 months of age, there are many times that it coincides with the 4 months sleep regression. It might confuse you why your child was content with the food they got just a week ago and are now back to needing to eat at night. It may even make you question your milk supply. But don’t worry. All of this is perfectly normal.

Your baby is growing and boosting your milk supply. You can talk to your doctor about introducing solids around this age and see if that makes a difference in the hunger level. But don’t push solids if your baby is not ready. If they are pushing the spoon out with their tongue or gagging, wait for at least a week before trying again.

3. They are not able to self-soothe yet

I know this goes against a lot of sleep training advice but I don’t think it’s right to expect your child to know how to self-soothe the moment they leave the swaddle. It’s a skill that they develop and it takes some time. The sleep training school of thought believes that you must train your child to sleep, otherwise they will not. But that is simply not true. Kids can learn to sleep and self-soothe all on their own. The problem is usually that their timeline for acquiring these skills doesn’t match their parents’ expectations. I’m personally more on board with Dr. Sear’s approach to self-soothing  and also believe that you need to wait till at least 6 months for your baby to learn to self soothe.

I don’t think CIO is bad but it’s better done at a later age when your child’s cognitive abilities are more developed. I also think that starting CIO at a younger age (around 4 months) does not bring lasting results. I’ve heard from many moms that they did CIO when their kid was around 4 months and it wasn’t too bad. It took about a week and the child started falling asleep on their own and sleeping through the night. I then also heard from those same moms how they had to “retrain” their children every time a major illness or a life change happened. In my opinion, if you have to retrain every time something major happens, what you’re doing isn’t actually working. In my experience, when you do it at the right time for your child, you only have to do it once.

I did CIO with my older son when he was around 9 months. It was necessary because he no longer fell asleep breastfeeding and rocking or holding him just led to a lot of crying. So one night, I was just too tired to continue rocking him and I put him in his bed. He was crying regardless of what I was doing, so it felt right to me. I would go in and check on him periodically. It took about 2 hours the first night but he fell asleep and stayed asleep till the morning. The next night it was about an hour of crying and then he fell asleep. Third night was less than half an hour of crying and the fourth night was peaceful and easy. I never had to repeat this process again and my son is a great sleeper.

My youngest son didn’t sleep through the night till he turned a year old. It was a difficult year, I won’t lie. And we didn’t do anything to train him. We just let it ride. Which meant that at least 3 times a week we had “Levi party time” (as we called it) from 2:30-6:30am. And then it abruptly stopped right around this birthday. I can now count on him to sleep 11-12 hours every night with a 2-3 hour nap every day.

So feel free to continue offering help in the soothing department to your four month old. Use a pacifier to help calm them down, feed if they’re hungry, rock and shush or use vibrationto help them doze off. I know it’s tough but the sleep regression ends and they learn to self-soothe, as long as you don’t stand in their way.

                                   

                  

4. Don’t stop doing what’s working

And don’t forget to use your tried and true strategies from before. Continue to use blackout curtains and a white noise machine if they were working for your child. And most importantly don’t despair, your child will sleep again.

                           

                                

Quote of the Day

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mental Health Tip of the Day

It’s easy to lose your sanity when your child is not sleeping much. All we want to do is fix the problem. But remember, your child not sleeping is not necessarily a problem. Sometimes all you can do is ride the wave and wait till they finish whatever developmental leap they are going through. Just do your best to get as much sleep as you can and just survive.

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55 thoughts on “4 Tips to Conquer the 4 Months Sleep Regression”

  1. My daughter never stopped between the 2, 4, and 6 month regressions. It was just one big sleep regression. ?
    We’re finally down to twice a night at 6 months old.
    Youre right on the just keep doing what’s working – consistency really is key!

    1. Lexie, I absolutely feel you. My younger one is a doozy when it comes to sleeping. He’s almost a year old and we never know when he’s going to sleep through and when he’s going to be up for half the night.

    2. Your tips are so helpful. My son did experience sleep regression and just like you mentioned it’s because we weren’t swaddling. Once we did, he was back to sleeping well.

  2. I remember this age being tough because my son could not self-soothe and we stopped swaddling. He responded really well to vibration and a mobile. He really liked the white noise machine too. Even now at 20 months old we play the same white noise sounds for him to sleep.

    1. Hi Brittany. Thank you for sharing your experience. My 3.5 year old still uses his white noise and loves it. He even goes and turns it on himself if we forget. Swaddles are always so difficult to drop. That’s why I was so thankful for the Merlin’s Suit.

  3. These are awesome tips for new parents. I was lucky and always had a good night sleeper. However, when he would sleep during the day, I ALWAYS had to be holding him. I could never lay him down to nap. It’s always something I guess…but WORTH every moment! 🙂

    1. Aren’t they all so different and require different things? But as everything in babyhood, it passes and something new comes along.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Cyndi. Please, do. I hope she finds this helpful. The 4 months sleep regression is rough and parents going through it need all the help they can get.

  4. Ohhhhh I remember those days! :/
    Fortunately my daughter has always been a good sleeper and now, aged 11 years has already started acting like a teenager in terms of sleep patterns… come the weekend, it is bliss! To those who don’t think the sleepless nights ever end, they will, it just takes time! Sim x

    1. Thank you for sharing, Sim. I was totally like that. I slept a lot even as a kid. No one had to worry about early mornings with me. My sons are not like that but definitely sleep more than your average kids do.

      1. The sleep regression, so dreadful and frustrating. From two months my son was waking up every one hour. I would hardly close my eyes when he’d be up for another around. I wish I had found tips like yours then or thought to look for them.

  5. Oh I remember those days, wow! wish I had found out about the Merlins Magic Suit – but I will share this information with my sister in law she’s having a little one soon.

    Thank you for sharing

  6. I’ve never heard of the 4 month regression before and I’ve had 4 babies. Maybe a new term, but a new concept for sure. I do remember each of them having regressions in their sleep and I can relate them back to the reasons you described. Great tips!

    1. Thank you for your comment, Shannah. Yeah, there are some common sleep regressions in the first 2 years. Usually around 4 months, 8 months, and 18 months. But the 4 months is usually the most pronounced because kids go to a more mature brain system and their sleep is starting to resemble that of adults.

    2. Thank you for your comment, Shannah. Yeah, there are some common sleep regressions in the first 2 years. Usually around 4 months, 8 months, and 18 months. But the 4 months is usually the most pronounced because kids go to a more mature brain system and their sleep is starting to resemble that of adults.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sarah. Yes, sleep regressions are so bad. They always seem to happen right after your kid starts sleeping and you start feeling human again.

  7. These are so helpful! The sleep regression period can be so hard. There is one other thing that can cause it though; that’s a bunch of older loud siblings, lol! Once we got to 5 and 6 babies they didn’t want to sleep because they didn’t want to miss anything.

  8. Expecting a newborn any day now makes me so thankful for insight like this as to what’s to come! Thank you for sharing and being so detailed!

    1. Lol. I would definitely wish that for your. It was pretty easy with our first son. The Magic Merlin Sleep Suit restored peace within the first time of wearing it. It wasn’t as easy with our second. But he in general was a bad sleeper the first year of his life.

  9. these are great tips! I remember wondering what was going on around 4 months. We swore by the zip up saddlers because we had a wiggled. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Beth. I remember hearing up the zip ups and was choosing between them and the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit. It’s nice to know there are options.

  10. I think we skipped the 4 month sleep regression but definitely got the 6 month and early toddler ones with my oldest. It was a mix of growth spurts, mobility changes, and nutritional changes. CIO at 6 months is the only thing that worked and it was luckily a quick solve, never worked with my youngest though, who didn’t sleep through the night til 8 months. ??‍♀️

    1. Thanks for sharing, Paula. I’m glad you guys found something that worked. I think 6 months is definitely the youngest for CIO and it’s great that it worked out. My second son didn’t sleep through the night till he turned 1 year old. They’re all so different.

  11. OMG where was this last month when I needed it?! LOL. Great tips though! Good luck to all mommies and daddies going through this right now

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