Parents of newborns or small children everywhere will probably deal with the 4-month sleep regression at some point in time. It’s almost inevitable. If you’re wondering whether or not sleep regression is something you’re currently dealing with, ask yourself if baby is extra fussy, not napping, waking a lot during the night, and has a change in appetite. If your answer is yes to some or all of these then you’re probably dealing with the dreaded 4-month sleep regression.
What is Sleep Regression Anyway?
So, in general, it’s when someone is experiencing a disruption in their sleep for longer than a few days. It’s when your nice, normal sleeping schedule gets turned upside down and your life becomes frustrating because all you want to do is sleep but you can’t.
It’s more common in children, but in adults it’s more commonly referred to as insomnia. That’s a whole other monster. So, let’s keep the focus on kids, especially since that’s probably why you’re reading this article.
It’s a horrible sleep disruption that starts at about 3 or 4 months of age and then reoccurs around 8 months, 12 months, and then again at 18 months. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Parents of 4-month-old kids are probably reading this and shedding a tear. Sorry, it’s not over, not even close.
What is the 4 Month Sleep Regression?
So, what is the 4-month sleep regression definition? Let’s focus on that one since that’s most likely the one you’re dealing with. Most parents think the sudden change in their baby’s sleep routine is due to an illness or teething or growing pains. Those can all be small factors, but the nitty gritty is that they’re just simply growing.
Before the age of 3 or 4 months, babies sleep almost all day. And it’s a nice, deep sleep, too. Hardly anything can wake them. But this is because it’s not exactly a rejuvenating sleep, it’s more of a restorative one where they are recovering from the trauma of being born.
Once this is over, babies begin to sleep a little lighter. They become more aware of their surroundings and even realize that they can manipulate their environments. This creates an active, curious brain and one that has vivid dreams. These factors can disrupt sleep because baby is eager to get up and experience the world.
Clear Signs of 4 Month Sleep Regression
There are so many causes and signals to look for, and they’ve probably been there for a while, you just didn’t put the pieces together.
Babies are fussier anyway. That’s just something that comes with the territory. They don’t have any other way of expressing themselves at this point and there are tons of simple ways to calm a fussy baby. But when that level of fussiness increases for no apparent reason, and it’s affecting their bedtime, then you’re mostly likely entering regression.
There must be balance. If baby isn’t sleeping at night, then they’re going to be tired during the day. They’ll either start taking more frequent naps or just one, big long one. Increased napping could mean simple growth spurts, but if that’s’ the case, then they should still be sleeping at night.
Frequent Nighttime Waking
This sign is sort of a no brainer. Sleep regression is frequent nighttime waking and the inability to easily go back to sleep. At this stage in life, they wake during the night anyway, for feeding or a diaper change, but if you find it’s too often (more than twice) then it’s probably regression.
Change in Appetite
At 4 months, it’s hard to really have a significant change in appetite because babies are usually on a strict diet of breastmilk or formula. But signs to look for are refusing to drink, difficulty latching, spitting out the formula, or a major increase in eating.
Inconsolable for No Reason
Like I said before, crying and fussing are a 4-month old’s only real way of communicating or expressing themselves. So, it’s expected. But when it gets to the point where Mom’s snuggles and soothing remedies don’t console the baby, then it’s most likely some level of regression. So, don’t let it get you down. Mommy’s snuggles are still needed and very much appreciated.
Restless When They’re Finally Sleeping
Finally! It’s 4am and baby has decided that enough is enough, they’re going to sleep for a bit. But you notice that even now, they’re restless. They don’t rest in the same position or fall into that deep sleep that you wish you could at that very moment. That’s because the rest they are getting is very light and their bodies are restless.
What to Expect? Does Every Baby Experience It? How Is It Different Than Other Regressions? Read the complete article here: www.thesleepjudge.com/4-month-sleep-regression