You might be feeling happy that your child’s sleep is about to get more consolidate as they grow and finally you could guide your child to sleep on his own and there comes four-month sleep regression! Your child who was a good sleep might be getting up more frequently, not able to resettle or self soothe him, wants to be held and cuddled more. This is called mental Leap 4, which starts anywhere between 14.5-19.5 weeks.
Any child’s first 2 years are full of milestone from rolling over, sitting, crawling, standing, holding things, teething, Gross Motor skills and surely this is too much for a small child.
What we call it regression actually it is achieving some new skill at that age
- • 4 months to 6 months – Rolling, sitting, trying to hold things, grab something and giving the queues to start eating, can laugh or make sounds
- • 8 months to 9 months – separation anxiety, more visualisation, teething, belly crawling,
- • 11 months to 12 months – neurological (perception, memory, understanding, logic, and reason), standing and walking along furniture
- • 14 months to 15 months- anxiety, crawling downstairs, crawling upstairs
- • 18 months – walking backwards, teething, Running or walking, kicking a ball
- 2 years- Jumping, using and copying words, making sentences, remembering things and trying to relate, can answer and understand you better
Isn’t it all above is too much to achieve for a small child and these are milestones and their brain develop a lot during this and they practice all this on regular basis to gain that skill.
During this time, your baby is learning so many new things and around four months is when our little one become much more aware of the world around him. He begins to communicate through babbling, can recognize familiar faces, start to roll, and everything goes in their mouth (which is the way they explore their environment).The real reason our babies’ sleep appears to ‘regress’ during such developmental milestone is because like us, babies process information during their sleep. Their little brains are so busy practicing new skills, perceiving, exploring and experiencing in their waking hours, that they can have difficulty ‘switching off’ when it is time to sleep.
WHAT’S GOING ON?
- • Crying, fussiness and irritability during the day
- • Catnaps during the day
- • Fussy on the breast or bottle, and increasingly distracted at feed times during the day, Change in appetite; either more or less hungry
- • Increased difficulty with falling asleep during bedtime and constant night wakings – despite a parent’s best efforts to rock, feed, hold , shushing or stick to a routine
- • Lots of drooling
- • More clinginess, and obvious signs of distress when a parent leaves the room and often more clingy to mom
- • Increased need to feed – commonly to compensate for less feeding during the day
At four months of age, our baby’s sleep gets more consolidated and patterns change from ‘newborn’ to ‘baby’ and it becomes more predictable (i.e. more distinct cycles of REM/active sleep and Non-REM/deep sleep – similar to adults). This change can be unsettling for your babies as he learn to adjust to his new sleep cycle. At this age, babies are increasingly alert and become more aware of their environment. There is a transition toward more defined motor skills, improved vision, independence, teething and overall growth.
It is when we develop level of insecurity around our parenting ability especially it happens more if your child was sleeping well before this 4 month regression has hit. A breastfeeding mother can become more insure that she is not able to meet the need of her growing kid demand as they might take more feeds during this stage. Though it is worth checking with a lactation consultant but it’ worth to pump before this time or any during missed feeds when you child was sleeping through and use that as additional feeds during this time. And as you are using some pumped milk from earlier sessions, you can try pumping and see if supply is ok to meets the needs of your baby. But do not panic, as breasts gets more regulate after 4 months. Just do your BEST and be consistent with what you were doing earlier.
MY 7 TIPS TO HANDLE 4 MONTHS SLEEP REGRESSION:
- • Keep to a consistent routine – Children thrive on knowing what to expect, and consistency makes them feel secure. Do not alter anything or try anything new. Rather keep your sleep associations the same, and be sure attentive to your child’s sleep cues so they are not becoming overtired at these times (this will make it even more difficult for them to get to sleep during bedtime and stay asleep). Remaining consistent will give them the best chance at getting back on track as soon as that sun begins to shine again. An earlier bedtime (6:30 pm – 7:00 pm) may help prevent them becoming overtired, and to avoid the night waking you can try for a dream feed 3-4 hours after bedtime and it may grant you some extra mileage overnight between feeds.
- • Allow for flexibility. Know that consistency doesn’t mean rigidity – flexibility is important. The 80/20 rule is a good one to. This maintains that what we do 80 percent of the time establishes our habits and patterns – whether we are conscious of this or not. The remaining 20 percent affords families with some flexibility to accommodate for life’s unexpected turn of events such as illness, teething, developmental leaps and life transitions. If you think taking your child out for walk in pram or carrier might help him to sleep more, just DO IT.
- • Have some wind-down time before naps and bedtime to give your child the best chance of relaxing before sleep. Sleep associations such as a dark room, white noise, swaddle or sleep bag, story time and a goodnight cuddle will cue your baby that it is time for bed.
- • Keep your baby swaddled for bedtimes. Many babies still have an active reflex at this age, and a swaddle can encourage sounder, longer sleep.
- • One on One Time Be prepared to spend a little more time sitting beside your baby they may need the extra security. Assuring you are there for your baby will make him a bit more relaxed and secure. No matter the age of your child, introducing some distraction-free, child-led “special” time each day with both parents can work wonders for connection and diffusing fear and insecurity. Although a four-month-old is unable to verbally communicate their chosen activity, remain attentive to their non-verbal cues, use plenty of eye contact, have some laugh time, talk to them and you will notice they respond to you making sounds, laughing back or giggling.
- •Communicate to your baby if you are going to leave the room, put them down, change their diaper, pick them up, or leave them with someone else. Communicating your intentions in advance is not only respectful, but will encourage their cooperation – which can mean increased security, and fewer tears!
- •Support your child’s need to cry. Often it’s very hard for a parent to listen to their child’s cries. But provided that you have met your child’s primary needs, crying serves as an innate healing mechanism which allows children to obtain emotional equilibrium. Crying promotes healing of past or present hurts, fears and trauma, and is an is an effective release for everyday stresses and tensions – especially beneficial in the early years when our children are evolving so rapidly.
TIP: Be sure to rule out any medical reasons (reflux, constipation or anything if child has experienced in past too) for frequent waking, fussiness, or change in sleep patterns first and foremost before following the recommendations mentioned above, or starting on a new sleep routine/program.
Normally it’s very good to start with a routine from day 1 when your child is born and 4 months is the time when they consolidate sleep cycles, That week or two week time can be stressful but have routine either before that 4 months sleep regression time hits or once it has passed.
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