When your baby reaches four months, if you’re like so many other parents, you might experience their sleep regression. You could have just been getting into a good groove as far as your baby’s sleep habits. Perhaps your baby was even nearly sleeping through the night.
You may find at the four-month mark that your baby’s nighttime sleep time is shortening, but naptime in their swing or car seat might be increasing. Sometimes, a baby is sleeping less in general, including at night and during naps.
Now it seems like all your progress is lost, along with your hope for a full night’s sleep.
The good news is, it’s normal. There are also some things you can do to help you manage this time.
Keep the Room As Dark As Possible
When you put your baby down for a nap or for the night, ensure the room is as dark as possible. We recommend using blackout curtains, if possible. Because if a baby wakes up sooner than they should and there’s light in the room, it will encourage them to stay awake longer. A dark room will help them fall back asleep.
Create a Bedtime Routine
Establish a bedtime routine as early as you can in your baby’s life. Starting a bedtime routine and sticking with it will always be helpful even as your baby grows.
A baby needs around 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night when they’re four months old, plus a few naps throughout the day. Your routine for bedtime might include having a bath, reading a story and putting on white noise. Consistency is important.
Keep An Eye on Sleep Cues
If your baby is showing certain signs of being sleepy, pay attention to them. For example, sleep cues can include rubbing their eyes or yawning. As soon as you notice these cues, try to put your baby down to rest.
While you should pay attention to sleep cues and respond to them quickly, you should also put your baby in their crib drowsy but awake. Doing so helps your baby learn how to fall asleep on their own. It’s better than putting your baby down only once they’re all the way asleep.
Feed as Needed
Many babies around four months will start to have an increased appetite. This may play a role in the sleep regression they experience. Babies will also likely experience a growth spurt at this time.
When your baby is hungry, feed them. If your baby wants a long feed or a dream feed, that’s okay too. A full tummy may help your baby sleep longer.
If your baby is taking shorter naps during the day, you might want to make their bedtime earlier. Think about what your baby’s current daytime sleep schedule is, and consider adjusting their bedtime by around an hour or so.
Consider Weighted Sleepwear
The more comfortable your baby is, the better their sleep quality is likely to be.
You might try a weighted swaddler if your baby is struggling with sleep. Swaddlers and particularly ones that are lightly weighted, help babies better self-soothe in the night.
Be Quick When Responding to Your Baby
Finally, while you want your baby to be fully fed before heading to bed, if you hear crying in the night, make your responses fast. Don’t spend too much time or stimulate your baby too much in the night. For example, don’t play and talk, and keep the lights as low as you can. That will help your baby figure out that nighttime is when they sleep.