A sleep regression is a situation when your baby wakes frequently at night and refuses to go back to sleep. If it’s becoming a regular pattern, you may have to learn more about sleep regression. It is a more common occurrence at around 4 months, 9 months and 12 months when your baby goes through a biological shift. Since your baby’s brain is learning to organize sleep, you should take this as an opportunity to help guide him into healthy sleep.
Characters of 4 Month Sleep Regression
At 4 months, you’re quite likely to notice big changes in your baby’s sleep pattern. Here’s what you need to know about characters of 4 month sleep regression.
1. More Stages Before Deep Sleep
Newborns will go into deep sleep almost immediately, but that’s not the case at 4 months. Your baby is more likely to go through different stages before going into deep sleep, which means that it takes more time for your baby to fall asleep.
2. Transferring Between Sleep Cycles
You will notice your baby practice going in and out of sleep cycles. These cycles usually last up to 45 minutes and may be a bit shorter if your baby is overtired. During these cycles, he will enter REM sleep for the first time. It is possible for your baby to get REM sleep and wake himself up again before entering the deep sleep phase.
3. Erratic Sleep Patterns
During 4 month sleep regression, babies have erratic sleep patterns and they are more likely to enjoy short naps after short naps. You have to master the art of soothing your baby to sleep and ensure that he is well rested.
4. Being Aware of You
Your baby now can sense your presence and know when you’re around. You may need to always be around when your baby wakes up or goes to sleep. Your baby is experiencing a change in his wakeup time or bedtime during this phase and you may need to adjust your bedtime, too.
How to Overcome 4 Month Sleep Regression
It is never easy to deal with 4 month sleep regression but you can learn. Here are some effective ways to handle the phase better.
1. Try Different Options
Be ready to try different options because your baby isgoing through different changes and you have to find what works for him better. On one day, your baby may sleep in the stroller or in the car, but on the next, he would be different and may fall asleep in a swing. Try whatever you can to help your baby fall asleep.
2. Respond to Sleep Cues Quickly
You need to learn about your baby’s sleep cues. It could be as simple as disinterest, yawning, increased fussiness and rubbing eyes. Be sure to act quickly whenever you see these signs. Any delay would make your baby feel tired and it’s even more difficult to make an overtired baby go to sleep.
3. Avoid Being Drowsy but Awake
Don’t leave your baby when he’s drowsy but still awake. Offer verbal and physical reassurance. Pick him up and rock for a few minutes if he starts to cry. Try again next night and help your baby learn how to put himself to sleep.
4. Create a New Sleep Crutch
You have to make some conscious effort to create your baby’s sleep crutches. If you’re rocking him to sleep, don’t add feeding to it. Similarly, you should not add rocking to the routine if you’re already feeding and patting him to sleep.
5. Offer Snuggles and Reassurance
Both you and your baby will feel exhausted during the 4 month sleep regression.You can at least make it easy for your baby through extra cuddles, snuggles and soothing words. Hold him, speak slowly to him and snuggle with him.
6. Follow a Flexible Schedule
It will all become easier for your baby if you maintain consistency and routine. Calm, soothing bedtime routine may contain 3-4 items, such as a song, book, bath and bed. You can experiment and change these routines so that they work for your baby, but just make sure whatever you select you stick to it.
7. Sleep in the Crib
Your baby now becomes more aware of his surroundings and understands when it is time to go to sleep. By the time your baby becomes 4 month old, put him in his crib. He should sleep there because motionless sleep is better in this age and sleeping in the crib encourages the deepest, healthiest and restorative sleep.
8. Encourage Full Feeds
Babies become more curious about the world around them when they are 4 month old, so it is common for them to feed for no more than a couple of minutes and soon shift their attention to something else. The best thing is to fully feed your baby in an un-stimulating environment so that your baby doesn’t get hungry easily when he is asleep.
9. Take Advantage of Darkness
When your baby takes short naps, it is best to keep his room dark. Darkness helps him go back to sleep on his own. You may also want to use a white noise machine to create a ‘womb-like’ noise.
10. Go for an Earlier Bedtime
It is important to keep your baby well rested, especially when he’s dealing with 4 month sleep regression.The best thing is to put him to sleep early, usually between 6 to 8 pm to provide him with enough rest.
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