4 Month Old Sleep Schedule
Parents that have reached four months with their baby may notice a distinct change in their child’s behavior and sleeping patterns. While parents often struggle to find consistency for their baby’s bedtime, this sleep schedule can make it a challenge.
At four months, babies experience a significant amount of growth and development that can be difficult to navigate. While every child’s 4 month old sleep schedule will be unique to them, parents can keep the following tips in mind to help their baby sleep better:
1. Understand the Change to 4 month old sleep Schedule
At this point in a baby’s sleep schedule, their internal clock is now working, which allows them to differentiate between night and day. This is an important milestone for babies as it indicates they are well on their way to establishing a stable sleep pattern.
At this time, parents should ensure their babies are averaging 14 hours of sleep a day from the 4 month old sleep schedule. While naps are still necessary, babies should be able to sleep for 8 hours at night without needing a feeding. At 5 months, babies are able to sleep between 10 – 11 hours straight.
Don’t forget nap time as babies still need about 4 – 5 hours of sleep during the day. Typically, this daytime sleep should amount to three naps.
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2. Make the Move
Parents that are using a bassinet for their baby should consider moving to the crib at this time. With your child’s sleep schedule changing, it’s best that they are in their own room where they can experience uninterrupted sleep.
This change is especially necessary for parents that have practiced co-sleeping but aren’t experiencing much sleep themselves. While making the shift from a bedside bassinet to a crib in another room is a big one, this is an important step for your baby’s sleep health.
3. Be Consistent with the Bedtime Routine
Children love having a stable routine, so it’s best to focus on consistency at this time. Experts note that since a baby’s internal clock is now kicking in, they likely already have a preferred time to go to sleep.
To discover your child’s ideal bedtime, pay attention to when they get fussy. Typically, parents may see their four-month-old start to exhibit signs of tiredness around 6 p.m., making 5:30 p.m.the best time to start getting baby ready for bed.
4. Remember to Nap
Just as babies love routine at this time, they need consistency in their napping as well. 30-minute naps aren’t enough for baby at this point.
A 4 month old sleep schedule should include longer naps to ensure that the baby doesn’t become overstimulated or overtired. Experts suggest that babies of 4 months sleep for 90 minutes for two out of their three naps with the third nap being significantly shorter.
5. Recognize Baby’s Sleep Signals
With the four-month sleep regression and other changes in the 4 month old sleep schedule, baby’s sleeping and napping isn’t likely to be unpredictable at this time. In order to help their baby sleep properly, parents must do their best to recognize their child’s sleep signals.
Each child will have their own sleep signals, but there are a few key signs every parent should watch out for. If you see your baby yawning, rubbing their eyes, or losing interest at playtime, it’s likely that your child is ready for a nap or bed.
Parents that experience trouble putting their baby to bed should avoid waiting until the fatigue sets in as the baby may start fussing, crying, or throwing a tantrum. With baby already in bed right when they begin to feel their tiredness, they’ll be able to easily drift off to sleep.
6. Begin Sleep Training
It’s natural for us to wake up during the night. Though adults can go back to sleep, babies often expect that their parents will come back to help them fall asleep again. Babies must learn to self-soothe in order to grow in their sleeping habits.
This is where sleep training comes in. Parents should begin sleep training to help their baby get back to sleep on their own. This training requires parents to let their baby cry for a short period of time, allowing them to fall asleep by themselves.
You may create your own version of this training to help your baby go to sleep without you having to immediately come to their side. While it may take a few sleepless nights and a lot of tears, parents that are able to successfully sleep train their baby will help them reach the next milestone in their sleep schedule.
7. Stop Feeding at Night
Parents that are accustomed to feeding their baby at all hours of the night must start shifting their habits at this time. Babies that are four-months-old need to have their nutritional needs met during the day, which will hold them over until the next morning.
During this point in their sleep schedule, babies should be eating just once at night or spend the entire night sleeping soundly.
Not sure how to break the habit of these nighttime feedings? Experts recommend using cluster feeding. This type of feeding focuses on feeding the baby more frequently during the late afternoon and early evening. This will help calm the baby and will likely encourage them to rest soundly at night. Similarly, these cluster feedings help to reassure parents that the baby has had enough to eat.
4 month old sleep Schedule and Regression
Parents of four months old are often surprised by the sleep regression that comes at this age. This four-month-old sleep regression refers to the sleep problems babies have between 3 – 5 months old. These sleep problems may go away quickly but often last days, weeks, or months.
Parents curious about this aspect of their child’s sleep schedule often wonder what causes their child to sleep worse at this age than before. The following are the most commonly asked questions regarding sleep regression and what parents can do about it:
When does baby’s sleep regression begin?
As sleep regression indicates the period of time when babies experience issues with sleeping, this can occur at any point in the 4 month old sleep schedule. While this regression may occur at just 8 weeks old, other babies may not begin to experience this regression until they reach 5 months.
However, the common age for sleep regression is 3/12 – 4 months old.
When does this sleep regression end?
Parents often are under the impression that their child’s sleep regression will eventually come to an end. However, this period in a baby’s sleep schedule is a permanent change. This change is something that will shift your child’s sleep habits forever.
Thankfully, the sleep issues caused by this change will eventually subside. While some babies will start to sleep well again after 2 – 3 weeks, others will have new sleeping habits that parents need to change to ensure they sleep properly.
Why is this regression a permanent change?
Before a baby reaches four months old, their sleeping patterns are designed to ensure that they get the most amount of sleep. As babies get older, they don’t need to sleep in the same way that they have before.
At this time, a 4 month old sleep schedule will shift as a result of the baby’s growth and development. Even though they are still quite young, their sleep schedule is beginning to shift to become more like an adult.
At four months old, a baby is experiencing both lighter and deeper periods of sleep–just like an adult.
With this in mind, parents can begin to better understand sleep regression and can adjust their child’s sleep schedule accordingly. While it may be uncomfortable to experience at the moment, a 4-month sleep regression is an indication that your baby is growing and developing as they should.
Problems with 4 month old sleep Schedule
While parents are aiming for consistency in their baby’s sleep schedule at this time, sleep regression can make this difficult. Watch out for the following signs of sleep regression in your child’s 4 month old sleep schedule:
- Increased fussiness: Even if your baby tends to be fussy, when sleep regression sets in, they will likely start to act out more, especially at bedtime. If you notice your baby cries more or fights sleep, it’s likely that your child is entering regression.
- Napping longer: Longer naps are another sign of sleep regression. At four months, babies will either take one long nap or more frequent naps. This can lead to the baby not sleeping well at night, which is a clear sign of regression.
- Waking at night: Even if your newborn was prone to nighttime waking, parents often find that sleep regression brings an inability for baby to easily return to sleep. At this time, they may naturally wake during the night for a diaper change or feeding. However, if this happens quite often at four months, it’s likely due to sleep regression.
Amidst the changes in a baby’s 4 month old sleep schedule and the eventual sleep regression, it’s easy for a parent to feel overwhelmed when trying to get their child to sleep. Use this guide to stay on top of your baby’s sleep schedule and navigate through the ups and downs of this stage in their life.