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The Ultimate Guide to the 4-month Regression

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

The 4-month sleep regression is a challenging time for many new parents. But the good news is that it is a normal and temporary phase in a baby's development, and with the right approach, it can be manageable. As a sleep consultant here are my tips and advice on how to help your baby through this stage while still being responsive to their needs.

What is the 4-month sleep regression?

The 4-month sleep regression refers to a sudden change in a baby's sleep patterns that typically occurs around 4 months of age. Babies who were previously sleeping through the night may start waking up frequently or taking shorter naps and overall sleeping less. The regression can last from a few weeks to several months, but it is important to keep in mind that this is progress - your child is developing and changing the way they sleep and it's a PROgression rather than a REgression.

Why does it happen?

The 4-month sleep regression coincides with a period of rapid brain development that happens at this age. As babies' brains mature, they become more aware of their surroundings and can be easily awakened by noise and light. They may also start developing new skills such as rolling over or crawling, which can also affect their sleep patterns.

But the 4-month sleep regression is a result of biological changes in the way a baby's sleep is regulated, specifically related to the maturation of their circadian rhythm. By this age, babies have started producing their own melatonin, which is the hormone that helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle.

While a newborn's sleep is not really controlled by the circadian rhythm, at 4 months of age this completely changes! A baby's sleep pattern matures and they start sleeping in stages and cycles, similar to adults with phases of REM and non-REM sleep.

After each cycle, babies will have a brief period of wakefulness as they transition between light and deep sleep. This wakefulness serves as a built-in protective mechanism for survival, allowing the baby to check in on their environment and make sure everything is safe throughout the night.

Tips for managing the 4-month sleep regression

  1. Establish a consistent bedtime routine: Having a consistent bedtime routine can help your baby understand that it's time for sleep. This can include a bath, lullaby, book, and goodnight kiss. Stick to this routine every night and create a calm and dark environment to promote peaceful sleep.

  2. Implement good sleep hygiene: To ensure your baby gets the best quality sleep possible, make sure their sleep environment is conducive to restful sleep. This includes a comfortable sleep surface, a dark and quiet room, and a consistent room temperature.

  3. Be responsive: Offer comfort and support If your baby is waking up frequently or struggling to fall back asleep, it's important to offer comfort and support. This can include holding, rocking, or nursing your baby back to sleep. Providing physical comfort can help your baby feel secure and calm, promoting better sleep.

  4. Consider using a baby carrier: Wearing your baby in a baby carrier during the day can help soothe and calm them, as well as strengthen the bond between you and your baby. It can also make it easier to complete daily tasks while keeping your baby close and comforted.

  5. Avoid overstimulation: During the 4-month sleep regression, it's important to avoid overstimulating your baby. This means avoiding loud noises, bright lights, and excessive activity before bedtime. Instead, opt for quiet and calming activities such as reading or singing to promote relaxation and better sleep.

The 4-month sleep regression can be a trying time for both baby and parent. But by taking a consistent approach and offering comfort, support, and good sleep hygiene, you can help your baby through this stage and promote better sleep for both of you. Remember to be patient, understanding, and to trust in the process. With consistency, your baby will eventually return to their regular sleep patterns.

Here at The Bedtime Champ, I believe that every family deserves peaceful and restful sleep. I offer personalised sleep consulting services that are tailored to your family's unique needs and circumstances. My approach is personal, holistic, and centred on your baby's wellbeing, and I work with you to find the best solution for your family that's fitting to your child and their temperament.

I offer in person sleep consulting services in the South-East London area and remote sleep consulting services worldwide that are convenient and accessible. Services include one-on-one consultations, sleep assessments, and customised sleep plans, all designed to help your family get the sleep you need.

I understand that every family is different and that's why I offer a wide range of sleep solutions that are gentle, effective, and easy to implement. From newborns to toddlers, I can help you and your baby get the sleep you need to thrive.

If you're looking for a sleep consultant who takes a gentle and holistic approach, look no further than The Bedtime Champ. I am dedicated to helping families achieve peaceful and restful sleep, and am here to support you every step of the way.

So, if you're tired of sleepless nights and are ready to take the first step towards better sleep, get in touch with me today. I'm here to help you and your family become bedtime champs!

NOTE: It's important to note that for children who were born premature, the 4-month sleep regression signs may appear later, and that is completely normal. In these cases, the regression is based on their adjusted age for sleep development.


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