The dreaded 4 month sleep regression. You have heard about it, researched it, and counted down the days till it arrives. Your baby is sleeping great and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere your precious little angel becomes something nightmares are made of. We are currently in the throws of it so I can’t claim I’m an expert but even if you can’t take some helpful tips away from this at least you know your not alone (solidarity sister!).
So what is the 4 month sleep regression and why the hell does it happen? I asked Avery’s pediatrician this exact same question when I dragged my mombie ass in for our 4 month appointment and practically begged her for a baby sized sedative. She explained it as babies beginning to have sleep cycles like adults do. Do you remember all those times you wake up in the middle of the night when your body goes into light sleep? No, neither do I. That’s because adults can put themselves back to sleep while tiny humans are unable to do this. This wakes them up and they seek out ways to help them fall back asleep.
Avery had been doing so well. Sleeping from 8 pm to about 3 am. She would wake, I would feed her and she would go back down until i would have to wake her up on workdays or till about 7 am on non workdays. The first night of the regression I thought “this isn’t so bad. We can do this” and fed her as needed. The next night we went through the same thing. By the third night my boobs were sore and I was pleading to some celestial being for the baby to sleep longer then 2 hours. So what have I learned from this regression?
How to Survive the 4 Month Sleep Regression
We continually strive to maintain Avery’s bedtime. If she is in bed near the same time every night, bed time goes much smoother. If we miss that window Avery becomes absolutely unglued and getting her to sleep is a struggle. Same goes for if she falls asleep away from the house while we are out at her bedtime and then we have to transition her to her crib. I’m not saying don’t go out and have fun. Just remember that bedtime may be a struggle afterwards.
The pediatrician told me not to feed the baby in the middle of the night. She really does not need to eat every 2 hours all night long especially if she is eating well during the day. Feeding her will only encourage her needing to nurse in order to go back to sleep. Obviously if nothing else works and you feel the baby is starving go ahead and feed them. You know your baby better than I do.
Shush/Pat is a thing
Another tip from the pediatrician is to try and calm the baby without picking her up. So this works about 50% of the time for us. I can calm her with a pacifier and a pat on the butt while aggressively shushing. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t but it’s worth a try before you pick the baby up to comfort them. Now I’m not a fan of full on CIO methods (it’s just not for me) but a little crying and whining while they settle themselves back down won’t cause lifelong detrimental effects on your child.
Hang in there
The sleep regression does not last forever and it will get better. Some nights it feels like it won’t end and you’re only hanging on by a very thin thread but I assure you it will. We are starting to move past it and Avery is waking up much less than when this all started. We are still working on nap times and getting good naps in again but at least the night time sleep is getting better. Remember your wonderful birth story if all else fails to remind you that this will not always happen Read Avery’s birth story HERE.
Caffeine is your friend
If all else fails, there is always coffee! That and wine. I’ve been surviving the mornings on coffee and the evenings with a glass of wine or a beer, I’m not too picky. And there are some nights where I just crash right out when the baby finally does. It’s survival mode and coffee has helped me greatly get through the day when Avery was up every 2 hours the night before.
What has helped you get through the 4 month sleep regression? Even better what tips do you have for the next one?