By Tara Mitchell from The Gentle Sleep Specialist
I frequently receive questions about the dreaded 4 month sleep regression, so here are my thoughts on this stage in your little one’s life.
The four month mark is such a wonderful time. Your baby will be interacting more and more with you and you should hopefully be seeing a settle in any wind and colic issues. However, there is also a not-so- pleasant side to the 4 month milestone that you may or may not experience: a spike in night time waking and day time catnapping. Some may have blissfully drifted through the first few months with a near perfect sleeping baby. For others, sleep may have been just ok and for the rest, sleep has been near extinct from day one. But regardless of how the first few months went, it seems the four month sleep regression can get the best of us.
First, you need to understand the science behind the four month sleep regression. At four months, your little one has a shift in sleep cycle length - they become shorter, much shorter. Additionally, they are also developing an increased awareness of the things going on around them, including who and what plays a role in them getting to sleep. Pair those two things together, and voilà! - it’s the perfect storm for poor sleep.
BUT... do not despair!
There are many things that contribute towards great sleep and missing the sleep regression:
The way your little one settles off to sleep is essential to their ability to sleep well. If you are involved in any way in getting your babe off to sleep (even replacing the dummy or pacifier in between sleep cycles), then this involvement can be exacerbated at the 4 month mark. Creating healthy sleep habits that include your little one self-settling will allow you to breeze through the four month mark, and for the most part of the rest of their sleep journey.
At four months your babe should really only have awake periods of around 1.5 hours in length. This may vary from child to child, however regular opportunities to sleep are still essential for successful settles and great sleep.
3. To swaddle or not to swaddle?
Around the four month mark your little one will be ready to start transitioning out of a swaddle. I recommend the Zipadee-Zip swaddle for those who are finding that their little one is no longer staying in a swaddle. This is perfect transition for babes above three months of age that will take them from a swaddle to a full range of movement, whilst still providing a cozy enclosed feel.
Sleep is a pillar of health and is too often overlooked, pairing positive sleep practice with the Zipadee-Zip is a recipe for success.
Also read: How Zipadee-Zip works
Tara Mitchell is a pediatric nurse, mother and qualified infant and toddler sleep consultant. She works with families to create healthy sleep habits in a program that provides all of the support and
guidance needed to see the end of sleep issues.