The term “Four month sleep regression” refers to a period of disrupted sleep that many infants experience around the age of 3 to 4 months. During this time, babies who previously slept relatively well may suddenly start having difficulties with their sleep patterns. It’s important to note that the term “regression” is a bit misleading, as it implies a backward step in sleep progress, but this phase is considered a normal part of a baby’s development.
Several factors contribute to the 4-month sleep regression:
1. Changes in Sleep Cycles: Around 3 to 4 months of age, a baby’s sleep cycles become more adult-like. Instead of transitioning directly from deep sleep to wakefulness, they begin to experience lighter sleep stages. As a result, babies may wake up more frequently during the night.
2. Increased Awareness: As babies grow and develop, they become more aware of their surroundings. This heightened awareness can make it difficult for them to settle into a deep sleep, and they may wake up more easily.
3. Developmental Milestones: At around 4 months, many babies are reaching important developmental milestones, such as improved head control, rolling over, and increased social interactions. These milestones can affect sleep patterns, as babies may practice their new skills even during the night.
4. Changing Sleep Needs: As babies grow, their sleep needs may evolve. Some infants may require more or less sleep, and their sleep patterns may adjust accordingly.
The 4-month sleep regression typically lasts for a few weeks, and many babies eventually adapt to their new sleep patterns. However, there are strategies that parents can use to help their baby navigate this phase:
1. Establish a Consistent Bedtime Routine: A soothing and consistent bedtime routine can help signal to your baby that it’s time for sleep.
2. Create a Sleep-Inducing Environment: Make the sleep environment comfortable, dark, and quiet to promote better sleep.
3. Encourage Self-Soothing: Teach your baby to self-soothe by putting them down to sleep while drowsy but still awake. This can help them learn to fall asleep on their own.
4. Be Patient and Flexible: Understand that this phase is temporary. Be patient and try to adapt to your baby’s changing sleep patterns.
5. Offer Comfort: If your baby wakes up during the night, provide comfort without creating new sleep associations that may be difficult to break later on.
Remember, every baby is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. If you have concerns about your baby’s sleep or if the sleep disruptions persist, it’s advisable to consult with your GP for personalised guidance. You could always come along to Adventure Babies and chat to other parents going through the same thing.