Four Month Sleep Regression

blog16Words that strike fear in a mom’s heart are “4 month sleep regression”!

There are misconceptions with that phrase. The word “regression” according to the dictionary means moving backward, return. That is not what is happening with your baby.

You brought your little bundle home from the hospital and maybe you were blessed with a good sleeper who only woke up to eat, look around and then easily fell back to sleep. You thought this parenting thing wasn’t that hard and could not understand why other parents could not get their baby to sleep.

Maybe your baby cried a lot and you have worked hard to find ways to get your baby to sleep. You have found that nursing, rocking, or bouncing work to get your baby to sleep.

Suddenly you are wondering what happened to your easy baby or why all your calming and soothing methods don’t seem to be working. Why is your baby waking up many times every night? Why does your baby suddenly only nap for 20 minutes? Why does your baby who used to sleep any where, suddenly fight sleep and seem to want to stay awake for hours?

Yes, it does feel like a regression to the parent, but actually your baby is progressing toward adult-type sleep. It is the result of brain development so the change is permanent, not something that is going to go away in a few weeks. Your baby’s brain is developing sleep cycles of light sleep and deep sleep. His/her body is moving toward a 24-hour rhythm of when it wants to be awake and when it wants to sleep.

You used to be able to nurse, rock or bounce your baby to sleep and then lay your sleeping baby in the crib. Now when you lay your baby in the crib, because the first part of their sleep is light sleep, your child will wake up and cry when you lay him/her down. You have to start all over!

So, how do we cope with this little sleepless baby?

1. Timing of sleep becomes very important.
As an adult you go through sleepy times when you want to fall asleep (maybe mid-afternoon). You have experienced other times when you can not force your body to sleep.Your baby has started experiencing times when their body craves sleep and times when they cannot sleep. So, it becomes very important for us to catch them at their sleepy times. The timing of naps and bedtime is important. Bedtime will move earlier. Naps will become more consistent times.

2. How your child fell asleep becomes important.
Your child makes associations with sleep such as location, sucking movements, bouncing and rocking. If these are missing, your baby will awaken and call for you to recreate the way he/she went to sleep.

3. Place of sleep becomes important.
At this developmental stage motion sleep, like in the stroller, car seat or swing, is no longer a restorative type of sleep. Now your little one is not as transportable during nap times. The quality of the sleep becomes more important.

Learning to adjust to your child’s developmental stage to keep a well rested baby can be tricky.
Let me help you.

Arlene Fryling

Arlene is a registered nurse and certified sleep consultant for children 0-5 years. She has cared for premature, sick, and many healthy babies. For over 15 years she has taught expectant parents how to care for their newborns through classes teaching basic baby care, infant massage classes, and moderating support groups for new moms as they deal with parenting issues.

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Alix Kron
Alix Kron
4 months ago
We cannot say enough positive things about our experience working with Arlene!! We were desperate for sleep, going almost 5.5 months with frequent wake ups, nursing back to sleep, nonstop crying during the day, screaming in the car and becoming more and more hopeless as time went on without having success … Arlene changed all of that within no time. She listened to exactly what was going on for us, developed a sleep plan specific to our daughter’s needs/our goals and was so supportive and answered all of our questions along the way. It was very easy to follow the plan that she developed and it included naps and weaning off of night feedings. We saw a difference in our daughter almost immediately! Arlene has absolutely transformed our lives and given us the ability to enjoy each other and feel so much better getting the sleep we all want and NEED! Our daughter is now sleeping 11-12 hours per night, eating only once overnight as opposed to every 1-2 hours, is on a great nap schedule and is so much happier!!! It’s the best money we’ve spent.
Adrienne G.
Adrienne G.
2 years ago
We worked with Arlene to sleep train our 22 month old son who had been bed sharing and nursing to sleep. She helped us develop a sleep plan that was specific to our son's needs. It addressed both his nighttime sleep and his naps. It really took the guess work out of the endeavor, because as a parent, even if you read all the sleep books, there are many different opinions and it is hard to know what is right. Arlene was attentive, flexible and available to answer all of our questions and concerns. I would highly recommend working with her! Our son now sleeps 11-12 hours a night and put himself to sleep on his own. Sleep training him has been a game changer for me (I sleep now too!) and for him. He seems well rested and his development seems to be progressing faster now too. His language skills are flourishing since he is getting better rest.
Amanda C
Amanda C
4 years ago
We just wrapped up our second time working with Arlene, and had another great experience! Arlene helped us sleep train our first baby a few years ago when she was 4 months old at the time. She was a terrible sleeper, waking up once every hour and needing to be rocked to sleep for what felt like hours and hours each day. I was a stressed, exhausted, and worried first time mom, and I was drawn to Arlene’s calm and experienced approach. She gave us an option for a gentler strategy that worked for us at the time, and was detailed and responsive in her sleep plan and attentiveness. Our daughter just turned 2.5 years old and is still a great sleeper. So once our second baby turned 4 months recently, we did not hesitate to work with Arlene again. We now have two rockstar sleepers in our household, thanks to Arlene! It means the world to us that she was there to help guide us, instill confidence, and most importantly, help teach our children such a valuable skill they will undoubtedly benefit from for the rest of their lives.
Begoña Cirera
Begoña Cirera
2 years ago
Arlene helped me first with my first son who was 2.5 year old when I hired her. He slept with me during breastfeeding. He never wanted to sleep in his crib. I was due with my second, and I needed better rest, and had no clue how to get him to sleep away from my bed. I even had to sleep w him during naps, or he wouldn’t sleep. I had to walk him for hours to fall asleep every night. It was awful. Two weeks after Arlene helped us create a program for him, he was done!!! He was sleeping in his own room, all night (12+ hours) and he was SO HAPPY during the day. We learned so much, and all made so much sense. After trying methods and books, nothing worked. My son is almost 6, and he falls asleep at 7:30pm every evening, until 7:00am. As a parent, you know how precious those hours are. With my second one, I didn’t make the mistake of waiting until he was two to train him to sleep. By 3 months, we slowly started, with Arlene’s help. I never had to walk him or be there for him to fall asleep. He’s now 3, and he is a great sleeper, much better than his big brother ever was, still takes 90-min naps, and sleeps 11 hours a night. Every penny I spent to hire Arlene’s expertise is worth it. My only regret was not to look for her sooner. Lifesaver, 100%.
Abbey Stidam
Abbey Stidam
6 years ago
Arlene Fryling at Gentle Touch Sleep Time helped our son sleep, which helped us sleep! We were having trouble transitioning our son (4 months at the time) from his rock-n-play to the crib and our amazing sleeper since birth was all of a sudden not sleeping very much. Arlene talked with us about what was going on with his sleep and why the change in his sleep pattern. She answered all our questions and calmed our worries and frustrations. She came up with a sleep plan that worked for our family. She guided us every step of the way. He is now an amazing sleeper again! He is 18 months old and sleeps 12 hours at night and takes a 1 1/2 - 2 hour nap. He loves to sleep and never fights sleeping. I am so thankful we had Arlene Fryling help us and we were able to teach our son to sleep.