Over the last year, some of my sweet clients and friends have added me to various mom support Facebook groups. I know, you are now wondering how I didn’t already know about these… don’t ask me! It has been very cool to see all these mothers offering advice and support, and encouraging each other to give themselves graces when the inevitable mom guilt sets in. There is one topic, however, that stresses me out, and it keeps popping up over and over – the 4-Month Sleep Regression. A lot of mothers post about their baby’s sleep becoming a complete disaster as their babe approaches 4 months, or shortly after, and then loads of well-meaning mothers comment that they should not worry because it is just the 4-Month Sleep Regression and it will pass. While it is possible that periods of disrupted sleep can “pass,” it is more likely that the baby’s sleep needs have changed and their sleep is disrupted because they are not on a schedule that works for them.
What is really happening at 4 months is sleep maturity. This is good news, not bad news, which is why I cringe when I see the word regression. Right around 4 months your baby has developed circadian rhythms and has natural sleep waves. He or she is ready for and needs longer stretches of consolidated sleep and needs it at the rights times, on a consistent schedule. Again, this is good news! As you likely know, I strongly believe that putting your child on a schedule creates freedom in your life. For the first 4 months, you had to do the very best you could to keep your baby well rested at all hours and without a consistent schedule. It is even possible your baby was having long stretches of sleep during these early months, but now he or she is not.
At 4-months, most babies need a schedule that works around their natural sleep waves and if that is not happening, all of their sleep can be thrown off. This is the ideal time to get a schedule in place. Doing that will allow you to teach your baby how to sleep for nice long stretches during the night and for three naps a day. Woohoo! Smile, your baby is maturing, not regressing. Let’s stop calling it the 4-Month Sleep Regression and start calling it the 4-Month Sleep Progression.