I think we are finally seeing the light at the end of the 4 month sleep regression tunnel. For us it started around 3.5 months and Flora will be 5 months at the end of this week – it was a solid 6 weeks of difficult sleeping. Because Flora slept so amazing as a newborn it was a bit of a shock to the system! But like all challenging parts of parenting…. it won’t last forever! I think Flora’s severe Eczema played into a bit – but all of our doctor’s agreed that the 4 month sleep regression is REAL! I had a call with Becca from Little Z Sleep when I was in the thick of things and also did some research of my own, so today I’m sharing a few tips in hopes that they will help you! I wish we would have implemented these a lot earlier. But live and learn, right?
What is the 4 month sleep regression?
Most likely by 4 months your baby is sleeping through the night or maybe waking up for 1 nighttime feeding — then you hit 4 months and sh*t hits the fan, again! That’s because around 4 months your babies sleep patterns begin shifting and they start sleeping more like an adult, not dozing off into a deep sleep for the whole night. They may wake up (just like we do) and have a hard time falling back asleep.
It doesn’t last forever!
Most importantly remember this is a phase that won’t last forever. We had an especially hard time with Flora, who was waking up just about every 45 mins all night long. I felt like a zombie for a full month straight and it was hard during that time to remember – IT WILL END! You WILL sleep again! If we have another baby I think I’ll write this on a post it and stick it on my mirror to remember ;)
Now is the time you can start to sleep train your baby. Think, research and talk to people about the different sleep training methods out there. Decide with your partner what you are comfortable with. (Here’s a few books I read) Now is also the time to think about where your baby sleeps. If your baby sleeps in your room still it will be very difficult to sleep train. They can hear you, see you and smell you. If you want to keep your baby in the same room, Becca suggested moving their bassinet or crib farthest away from you in your room as possible – and even hanging up a partition if you have a small space to make the baby feel as far away from you as possible. We ended up moving Flora across the hall to her own room and it made a world of difference. We use a video monitor and it works great for us.
Drop the sleep props.
During this regression you are really teaching your baby how to sleep. That means you want to put them to bed drowsy but not a sleep. You want to nix all of the sleep props so your baby can learn to self soothe and put themselves to sleep. That means say goodbye to the Dock-A-Tot, Merlin Suit, pacifier etc. Becca suggested we just go cold turkey with the pacifier (but haven’t been brave enough to do it yet)!
Think about your routine.
So important to set yourself up for success by implementing a bedtime routine. One of the things Becca mentioned in our training call was not nursing your baby to sleep – because then they will want to feed whenever they wake up in the night to fall back asleep. I always nurse before bed so I asked how to handle this – she suggested making it the 2nd or 3rd part of our bedtime routine, so it’s not the last thing we do before bed. Nursing in a bright space, when the baby is awake and alert, ideally naked or in a towel. This has really helped us!
Remember the pause.
Don’t run into your baby’s room as soon as you hear a cry. Becca suggested waiting 10-12 minutes because often a baby is not really awake when they cry. This has been a huge game changer and I wish I would have implemented it earlier on during Flora’s sleep regression. As soon as she started to cry we’d just run over and pop her pacifier back in. She was also sleeping right next to me. We could have saved ourselves so much sleep had we started on some of these tips earlier!
Around this time your baby is most likely starting to roll….which we all know means we can’t them swaddle anymore! So, not only is their brain and sleep development growing and changing, we possibly moved them into their own new sleep space ( a big crib at that) but now we can’t use the swaddle we’ve been relying on since birth? Oh mama, it’s TOUGH but its worth it to get the good sleep patterns established now, trust me! Most sleep coaches and doctors will suggest using a sleep sack when you transition from the swaddle. We used the Zipadee Zip and then Swaddle Up 50/50 and love both!