The 4-month regression is actually a sleep progression. For most parents (not all) this can be a really hard time, because your baby is going through a developmental stage and their sleep pattern is maturing.
Up to the first 16 weeks your baby had only two phases of sleep. Now they have four phases just like adult’s sleep and it can take some babies a bit of time to navigate through this.
Sleeping has become more complex. In this new developmental stage, your baby now begins their sleep in a light phase before they can move onto the deeper sleep. It takes babies a bit of time to master this developmental stage as most babies find it difficult stitching the different cycles of sleep together. As a result, they can wake up more often.
Whilst your baby adjusts to this new developmental stage:
- Support them with a consistent bedtime. Up to this age most babies are happy to go with the flow of sleeping at any time, but now your little one’s body clock would appreciate a regular time.
- Have a bedtime routine. A bedtime routine will help your baby to understand that sleep is coming and helps them to unwind. Make sure that the lights in the room are low whilst getting ready for bed and dark when going to sleep. This will encourage melatonin (the sleepy hormone) production.
- White noise can also help. Use a continuous non-looping white noise played between 60 – 70 decibels. Any other type of sleeping noise may not prove so helpful to your child and may even cause more sleep disturbances.
- Keep an eye on their wake times, watch out for their sleepy cues to prevent your baby from becoming over tired.
- Get out in the natural light. Think about going out for a walk in the afternoon, daylight can promote cortisol production in the day. This will help to encourage good sleep.
The 4 month sleep regression is usually short lived, and sleep will improve.