4 MONTH SLEEP REGRESSION
What a lot of parents are not aware of is there are some steps you can take to avoid it all together (yes it’s possible!). First let’s talk about what the regression really is, and then some tips to avoid it, and some tips to work through it if you’re already there.
Newborn sleep (first 3 months) and infant sleep are completely different in that when newborns fall asleep, they immediately enter into the deepest stage of sleep. This is why a newborn can sleep anywhere and through any noises or movement disruptions. A newborn can fall asleep in your arms and when you place them in the crib/bassinet, they will continue sleeping.
Think about all the changes that are happening around this 4 month mark. They’re coming out of the newborn stage and into infancy - and this is huge! It means your baby is no longer a non-responsive blob, but instead is becoming more “human” as they are actually smiling back at you, cooing at you, following you around the room with their eyes, and giving you that all mighty belly laugh.
Often times when things are going wrong, if you can take a look back at how they’ve been sleeping and when they’ve been eating, it can really give you a lot of insight into what changes need to be made. If you’re starting to see this happen, now will also be a good time to start practicing some independent sleep habits. ALWAYS start at bedtime and frame it in your mind as “practice” and giving your baby a chance to fall asleep on their own. What do I mean by this? Do your bedtime routine and then place your baby down awake in their crib. Step back and just see what they are going to do.
Don’t expect your baby to go back to what they were doing before, because they won’t. Sometimes as parents we need to take charge and do the hardest most important work of teaching our babies independence skills. Consider getting extra help during the day so you can get some extra rest (e.g. hire a babysitter, doula, even a night nurse for a few nights), even if it’s only a few days a week/month, at least you won’t be in it alone. We were NOT meant to raise babies alone and there is no shame in asking for help.
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