The 4 month sleep regression isn’t a milestone that any parent looks forward to. With each of our 5 kids, it was one of the hardest times during their newborn stage.
As a matter of fact, I’m holding said sleepy, but fighting it baby right now.
The fluctuation in the sleep schedule is actually a good thing—it just means that your baby is growing, changing, developing, + finding new ways to interact with the world around them.
Yay for growing and developing, right?
Here are a few tips that I’ve gathered over the last 14 years plus a few of my favorite products to help navigate this tough time!
NO PROPS, JUST BABY AND BED
This is the perfect time to start teaching your baby how to sleep. One way to do this is to place your baby down when she/he is drowsy, but not yet fully asleep. It may be tempting to put your baby down with music playing, a pacifier, swaddle/sleep sack; however, it’s time to let those go. It can be rough to try and do it without your regular tools, but it’s important in order to establish a sound routine.
Is your routine a good one?
No matter the age of your child, this is an important question to ask yourself. I even question and go over my own sleep routine from time to time. If you realize that you don’t have a routine then it’s time to establish one.
In order to set yourself up for success, your child needs a bedtime routine. One of the things my pediatrician and I went over with baby number one (circa 2004) was that I needed to stop nursing her to sleep. This is because then they will want to feed whenever they wake up in the night to fall back asleep (makes sense, right?).
I started by nursing with the light on, when the baby is awake and alert, after bath time before she was dressed. This has really helped us!
I know that it’s tempting, but don’t run into your baby’s room as soon as you hear a cry. I am in no way, shape or form suggesting cry it out, I am actually 100% against it. What I am suggesting is holding for a few moments before rushing to them to see if they will fall back asleep. As parents, we can tell when our babies are in distress. It doesn’t sound like that, then holding until you hear a pause, is not the end of the world.
If you are looking for products to help establish a routine, here are my favs!
White noise is a sound that calms and comforts most babies. It not only mimics the sound of blood flow in utero—a noise that your baby had become very accustomed to over nine months—but it also helps to block out any household or outdoor noises that may be a distracting baby from sleep.
Room Darkening Shades/Blinds
Like most people I love waking up to gentle sunlight streaming through my windows every morning, however, my baby (nor any of my kids) do. One thing that I learned is that if you want your baby asleep before the sun goes down and awake after it comes up, blackout shades are here to save the day. With my third and fourth children, even the smallest bit of light would throw off their sleep and nap schedules.
To ensure the longest, most consistent stretches of sleep, we swear by blackout shades. If you’re not yet sold on the idea and want to give it a test run before committing, these temporary room darkening shades are the perfect option. There are also darkening curtains available as well if you would prefer those.