Once you get passed the “I’m so tired I feel like a zombie stage” some babies start to give you longer stretches at night. You might see these stretches take shape around 10-14 weeks of age. This may look different for everyone but typically you will get a 4-10 hour stretch. One night you roll over and look at the clock and it is 3 am! You freak out because babe has slept through that 12 am feeding and you run to their room to check on them. They are sleeping soundly and you wonder what to do with yourself. Should I pump? Should I wake them to feed? You feel lost and happy at the same time. Like you have just leaped through this great hurdle of sleep and MAYBE you will get a few hours more a night yourself.
This stretch goes on for a few more weeks. You think babe is done with waking all night long and you are content with the one or two feeds a night. Then, babe turns four months. All of a sudden, your sleeping little baby is now waking every 45 minutes and can no longer sleep those longer stretches. You go to mom groups and search for solidarity and answers of when sleep will return. I’ve been there mama!
The four-month sleep regression is actually a PROgression. It is when infants learn to sleep like adults. Before this progression babies slept like well, babies. They could fall into a deep sleep anywhere and through any amount of noise. Once their sleep needs change around this age they can no longer do that. They then need a quiet dark place to sleep. This progression actually never ends and is a permanent change to how your little one will sleep forever! Some babies will go back to sleeping as they did before while other times they do not.
How to help your baby (and you) get through the PROregression.
- Don’t worry about taking away sleep props. If you were rocking baby to sleep before continue rocking. You can worry about weaning yourself from these associations later.
- If your baby wasn’t eating 6 times a night before do not automatically assume they are hungry. Try soothing in another way first (rocking, pacifier, etc.). Not every time a baby wakes does it mean they are hungry.
- Start some kind of a schedule. Naps and bedtime are so important! At this age, your baby should be on about 3-4 naps a day. You want to not only watch for sleepy cues but use the clock also. Some babies can go from zero to one-hundred and then they are overtired and will not nap. An appropriate bedtime is also needed. Newborns tend to go to bed late. Most between 9-11 pm. As sleep needs change at four months babies should be going to bed between 6-8 pm (this time will also carry with them into toddlerhood).
- Have your baby’s room in a way that’s conducive to sleep. Invest in a sound machine with blackout curtains. Baby’s room should look like a cave. We all sleep better when rooms are dark and babies are not any different.
Every baby goes through this at four months of age. Not all of them show it and breeze right through as if they have never even gone through this huge milestone in development. While others show signs for months. Help yourself get through it by taking baby for walks. Explore the fabulous parks that Westmoreland County has to offer. Look into Ohio Pyle in Fayette County. Strap baby on to you and hike to Cucumber falls. Get that nap in the car if you have to. Try to remain sane and enjoy the wild and crazy ride of babyhood.