How to Survive the 4 Month Sleep Regression

Isn’t this the story of my life!!


Most newborn babies sleep deeply almost all the time.

From 3-5 months old (sometimes earlier), the baby starts to wake up frequently.

Without your knowing it, your baby has reached a new developmental stage!

Although this is a new normal for your baby, don’t despair! You WILL get past this!

Here are some tips on how to survive the 4 month sleep regression.

Understand what’s going on!

Take comfort in that you’re not alone!

Know that you and your baby are unique!

Whatever sleep plan you choose–make it a teachable time!

Consider a new naptime/bedtime schedule.

Prepare for the 4 month sleep regression stage.

Get the rest you need!

Understand what’s going on!

If your baby is anywhere from 3-5 months old and suddenly wakes frequently in the night, your baby is quite likely experiencing a sleep regression. It feels like you’ve stepped backward, but you’ve actually hit a milestone!

It might be relieving for you to know there’s nothing wrong with your baby. This is a normal part of their growth process where they develop the adult-like sleep cycles. In this inevitable stage, your baby is learning to adjust to a new sleeping pattern

Take comfort in that you’re not alone!

If you’ve hit this stage with your baby, you’re likely exhausted and frustrated. You’re up so many times in the night. You have worries that your baby will never sleep well again. Each night is a repeat of the last, and your emotional and mental state is spiralling downward very fast. 

You are definitely not alone in this!

Step off the spinning wheel for just a moment–and breathe!

Allow yourself to approach this new stage from the bird’s-eye view. Your baby is developing and needs your help to learn new things. In this case, it’s how to fall asleep after waking up in the night.

When we see the bigger picture, our minds and emotions tend to cope better. 

For the time being, do what you need to do for your baby to fall asleep at night. Disregard the plethora of today’s baby sleep training advice–just until you can refocus and make a plan that works for you and your baby. 

I encourage you to get help from sites like that will coach you through your unanswered questions about your new sleep journey.

Know that you and your baby are unique!

You have probably already tried a hundred and one different ways to get your baby to sleep. There is so much information out there and the conflicting opinions are enough to drive a new or struggling parent mad.

What works for Jane down the street doesn’t mean it will work for you. Each home environment, different personalities and genetics form unique sleeping habits.

The one thing you can be sure about is that YOU are the parent and your child seeks the security of your boundaries and your presence.

Remember, your baby is adapting to a new stage and desperately needs your help to learn how to manage the new normal.

He needs you to be in control and show him the way.

You can implement different methods that have widely worked for many desperate parents. Whatever method you choose–know that you are indeed in charge of your own baby.

The key is confidence and consistency. 

Whatever sleep plan you choose–make it a teachable time!

One of the first things your baby wants to learn is the difference between daytime and nighttime. Putting your baby to sleep in a completely dark room with blackout curtains will keep the baby from waking up and thinking it’s morning. (It’s amazing how much light you actually see at night!) Once it’s morning, draw back the curtains. Eventually, your child’s inner clock will adjust to day and night

Give your baby the independence of sleeping in his own room and even allow him to fuss for a few minutes before picking him up. This can teach him that although you will attend to him, it’s not always on his terms. With time, he will learn to put himself back to sleep without your help.

Be mindful of your baby’s eating schedule and whether he gets enough when he’s feeding. He’s going through a growth spurt and may be more hungry than usual. If you feel the need to feed him before or after his regular eating schedule, one thing you want to be wary of is teaching him to pick up a habit of unnecessary nighttime feedings if he isn’t truly hungry–especially if you’re desperately needing sleep for your own sanity.

Consider a new naptime/bedtime schedule.

Up to now, your baby has had naps anywhere from 2-4 times per day and sleeps 9-10 hours in the night.

In this new developmental stage, your baby’s body and brain are working hard and need more sleep. Every baby is different, but you’re looking at quite possibly 8-12 hours every night. This may mean that your baby will be ready for bedtime as early as 7-7:30pm. 

Patiently adjust your nap times until they don’t jut into your new bedtime.

Be cautious of not letting your baby get overtired. This can result in the baby waking up more often in the night.

Prepare for the 4 month sleep regression.

We have a way of being able to handle stressors much better if we’ve been forewarned and properly informed.

If you’ve reached this stage without warning, it’s OK! These preparation tips can be applied with desired results, nonetheless.

Tip #1:

Babies need a routine. Structure is one of the best tools you can provide for your child to develop his skills and give him a sense of security. Babies thrive on routine; they like to know what to expect. If you can implement a working routine prior to this stage, it will likely be easier on you and your baby to go through this milestone. 

Tip #2:

The sleep habits you build in your baby’s first 3 months are important for your health and your baby’s. Be aware, however, that the 4 month sleep regression may set you back to figuring out new sleeping habits.

Tip #3:

Be mindful of which sleep associations your baby needs to fall asleep. Sleep associations can be rocking, white noise, a pacifier, or even your hair. Identify those that could be problematic for your own sleep and slowly wean your child from needing them to fall asleep. Eventually, during the sleep regression, your baby will then be able to fall asleep on his own without needing these associations. 

Get the rest you need.

Find ways that help you fall asleep better once you have a chance to sleep. 

If you’ve had a long week or month, get help!

If it’s at all possible, contact a friend or family member to come watch your baby while you take time to rest and recoup.

If you don’t have anyone close by, seek counsel on a trusted site or a doctor.

You might feel like this is your baby and your responsibility, but you aren’t supposed to carry this burden alone–especially if you’re TIRED and EXHAUSTED! You need to get rest in order to function and provide for your little one.

A stressed-out parent will stress out the baby.

Being able to get those few hours or even minutes to yourself to detach and just rest will do you wonders! 

No matter how you feel, you are an incredible parent!

Your baby adores you!

He may not sleep at night–yet! But he will!!

As you figure out what works for you and your baby, be consistent and present.

Have you gained some insight on how to survive the 4 month sleep regression?

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