The 4 month sleep regression is a doozie for most new parents – it seems to come out of nowhere! Just when you think your baby’s sleep is improving, and that you might be “out of the woods”, sleep-wise, BOOM – sleep falls apart completely.
It’s easy to see, then, why the 4 month sleep regression is such an incredibly popular topic with our readers! We hear from numerous parents each month who want to know how they can prepare for the 4 month sleep regression, what to do during the regression, and then how to recover from the 4 month sleep regression and get sleep back on track.
Well, wonder no more – we’re sharing all this information (and more!) in our 4 month sleep regression checklist.
What To Do Before The 4 Month Sleep Regression Hits
- As a newborn, her sleep patterns are very different than the more “grown up” sleep patterns she’ll have after the 4 month sleep regression is done, so we do have to keep realistic expectations. There are some gentle sleep coaching tips for newborns, but don’t get your hopes TOO high for stellar sleep around this time.
- Don’t assume anything about your newborn’s sleep is permanent. If your baby sleeps through the night a few times, you may assume the worst is over, and that your sleep worries are done. While that might be true (it is for a few lucky families), most parents report that sleep patterns are very inconsistent in the first 3-4 months of life – and the 4 month sleep regression tends to disrupt even the most champ sleeper’s sleeping habits!
- Rest up! While it’s a great idea to gently build a foundation of healthy sleep habits for your newborn, you don’t want to exhaust yourself striving for perfect sleep, since much of the progress you do make may be impacted by the 4 month sleep regression.
What To Do During The 4 Month Sleep Regression (a.k.a. How To Survive Without Losing Your Mind!)
- To begin, remember that this is a temporary phase – your baby won’t always be waking this often at night, or napping so poorly! These are just the effects of a burst of growth and development on your baby’s part.
- If your baby is in daycare, alert your daycare provider that the regression is underway, and give your provider details as to how they should handle the extra fussiness, and the missed or shortened naps.
- Don’t expend much energy on trying to improve your baby’s sleep during the 4 month sleep regression – its usually best not to sleep coach during a sleep regression, if you can help it, as your baby’s brain is just too preoccupied with the tremendous growth and development that’s happening at this time to really learn new sleep habits.
- If you’ve already worked on self soothing, and putting your baby to bed awake, before the 4 month regression strikes, you can either continue in your usual sleep routines (if your baby’s sleep disturbances are manageable), or you can suspend your efforts and go back to putting your baby to sleep any way you can (if your baby’s sleep is falling apart completely due to the regression).
- Be prepared for naps and feedings to change during the 4 month sleep regression – increased nighttime waking and missed naps can lead to overtiredness, so don’t hesitate to offer longer, or extra, naps, or an earlier bedtime.
- Get extra sleep yourself, if you can manage it! Your baby isn’t the only one whose sleep suffers during this regression; the extra night waking can take a real toll on you, too.
What To Do After The 4 Month Sleep Regression: Establishing New, Permanent Sleep Habits
- It can be tough to know exactly when the 4 month sleep regression is over – for some families, it seems to last less than a week, while for others, it lasts more like 6 weeks! As a general rule, however, you can expect the regression to last 2-3 weeks.
- Once the regression ends, you may notice that your baby’s sleep calms down, and returns to a semi-normal state. This is a great time to start sleep coaching. However, some families tell us that it feels like the 4 month sleep regression never ends – their babies are still just as fussy months later! In those cases, you can consider the actual regression over after about 6 weeks, and then start sleep coaching at that point.
- You don’t have to sleep coach the moment the 4 month sleep regression ends; some families prefer to wait until their babies are 6 months old. 6 months of age is when sleep tends to consolidate and your baby’s naps tend to become longer and more predictable; this is also the point at which it’s easier for most families to achieve a fairly consistent daily schedule.
- Contact The Baby Sleep Site® for help! I couldn’t end without throwing this point in. 🙂 Getting sleep back on track after the 4 month sleep regression can be tough, but a Personalized Sleep Plan® from The Baby Sleep Site® can make a huge difference. Our team of expert, caring sleep consultants is standing by, ready to craft a Personalized Sleep Plan® just for your baby – one that accounts for your baby’s unique temperament, and your own parenting style and goals. Even better – your consultant can walk you through every step of implementing the plan at home, and answer all your questions!
Need More Resources?
For even more 4 month sleep regression help, check out these resources, available in our VIP Members Area:
- The 3-Step System To Help Your Baby Sleep e-Book (members enjoy unlimited access to this ebook ad no additional cost)
- Sleep Regressions audio course with Nicole Johnson (features tips for 6 week, 4 month, 8 month, 11 month, 18 month, and 24 month regressions)
- 4 Month Sleep Regression Case Study
22 thoughts on “4 Month Sleep Regression Checklist: What To Do Before, During, and After the 4 Month Sleep Regression”
Can the sleep regression start as late as 22 weeks? My baby about three days ago just started fighting sleeping at night and every time I lay him down he wakes up. He also wants to nurse more and seems more restless. This has to be a regression right?
Thanks for your comment! What you’re describing sounds exactly like the 4 month sleep regression – despite it’s name, you can see symptoms begin anywhere between 3-5 months-old. See this post for more information on getting through: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-sleep-patterns/4-month-sleep-regression/
Hello, I have 5month old twins (born 36+6) however my girl has always been an amazing sleeper. 12 hours a night for the last 2months at least. However the last few night she has been awake every 45mins screaming. She will fall back asleep instantly with her pacifier or when she’s more upset, a quick two min cuddle. We place her down to sleep awake and she happily drifts off by herself, but always has her pacifier.
I start a new job in a few days and cannot run off 1.5hrs sleep!
How do I help her through this to ensure she still feels comforted but I manage to get some sleep? I’m unsure if I should try sleeping her without pacifiers or if that will make it worse for her. Thanks!
Hi @Kelsie, thank you for writing to us. I’m so sorry to hear your daughter has been waking so frequently. The 4 month sleep regression can be tough! How you proceed with the paci is totally up to you and what you can handle. It has likely become a sleep association as it becomes for many babies, so you have to decide if you want to continue to replace it for her for several more months until she’s big enough to keep it in her mouth/find it on her own. Here is a link to a free guide with tips to help your babies sleep better through the night: https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-through-night-free-ebook/
If you need more help, let us know! We have a ton of resources that can help, hang in there!
Hi there my wee girl was born 3rd Jan this year I started getting her to put herself to sleep when she was 8 weeks. so far things are great morning nap 45 mins, lunch nap 2 hours and afternoon nap 30mins and 2hr wake windows. she goes to bed approx 6.45-7pm and wakes about 3am-4am for a feed then back asleep until about 7. I’ve worked so hard to achieve all this so I’m anxious that when the regression hits I’ll ruin all my efforts, what do you suggest?
@Eilidh – Thank you for reading and for sharing with us. Please don’t feel too anxious – it sounds like you and your little girl are doing a great job focusing on her sleep! It’s so very important – and what a great idea to plan head for the inevitable change in the way she sleeps! The best thing you can do is have a plan in place – know what you’re going to do and how you’ll handle the regression before it hits. Think of how you’ll handle those night wakings or nap refusals or increase in appetite and plot out what you’re going to do to stay consistent in all your efforts, then just do your best in keeping it all together when it comes. We’re here if you need our support in staying on track. Hang in there, Eilidh!
My daughter is 3.5 months old and I’m preparing myself for the regression. She’s not a great napper and her nap time varies. I give her naps about 2 hours after being up and she’ll nap anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours.
However, she sleeps through the night, 8 hours or more with NO night feedings. When the regression starts and she’s waking every few hours, would I need to start feeding her? I don’t want her to get in the habit of needing feedings at night.
Hi @Stephanie – Thanks for writing! It sounds like you are doing your homework and well on your way to great sleep! Your baby is already sleeping so well that this common 4 month sleep regression may not bother her too much (hopefully!). Her naps should smooth out even more as she gets a bit older too. If the regression does happen to hit your home, you will not likely want to start any long term habits that you will have to work on later. So feeding her at appropriate times for her needs – per her pediatrician’s advice – should be the best. I hope that this helps, and that the 4 month sleep regression does not pay you a noticeable visit! : )
What is the definition of a 4 month old? How many weeks? My little one is 13 weeks does it count 3 or 4?
Hi @Anna, thanks for writing to us! We consider a month based on the birth day, not by weeks. So for example, if your baby was born on July 29th, they would be 1 month on August 29th, 2 on September 29th, etc. Since some months have 4 weeks and some have 5 things can vary, but so can sleeping patterns from baby to baby! So if you are seeing some signs of the 4 month regression or something, that isn’t surprising either as things can begin to change in the 3-4 month range that your baby is currently in.
I hope that helps!
Thanks! Another question, do all the babies go through the sleep regression?
Thank you for your helpful article. I have a 4.5-month-old baby, and he was sleeping wonderfully up until about a week ago. He self-settles for all of his naps and at bedtime, assuming that I get the timing right. Recently, however, he has been waking up screaming hysterically 45 minutes after we put him down for bed. He refuses to settle back down, so I often have to take him out of the crib and put him down 1.5 – 2 hours later.
I haven’t changed his bedtime, and his last nap usually ends between 2 and 2.5 hours before his bedtime. He’s been going to sleep between 7 and 7:30, sleeping until 4 am, eating, and then playing in his crib for 45 min. to an hour until he falls back asleep for another 1.5 hours. I don’t want to move bedtime earlier because he seems to be wide awake after 9 hours of bedtime sleep, and he’s a terrible napper during the day. Is this just a phase and should I stick with the current bedtime or should I try to move it up? I did move it up once last week and he refused to fall asleep until 3 hours had elapsed from his last nap.
I would greatly appreciate any advice or thoughts!
Hi @Heather, thanks for writing to us. I am sorry you’ve been struggling with your son’s sleep! If it is the 4 month regression, hopefully things will smooth out for your soon. Here is a link to a 4 month old schedule so you can check it out and see if you think you should make any changes: https://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/4-month-old-schedule/
You may also be interested in downloading our free guide with tips to help your baby sleep through the night: https://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-sleep-through-night-free-ebook/ and we also have one for naps since you mentioned struggling there as well: https://www.babysleepsite.com/free-baby-nap-guide/
Hang in there! This can be a challenging age with their sleep as thing are just starting to get a little bit more normal for them, so I do hope things get better soon. If they don’t, let us know and we can help! If you have any additional questions or are interested in working with a sleep consultant, email us at [email protected] and we would love to help point you in the direction of other resources. I hope this helps!
Our 4.5 month old has never been a great sleep but has gotten especially terrible the past couple of weeks. He is up every 45min/hour. I give him the paci or my hand to hold and usually he goes back to sleep fairly quickly. But it’s constant! During the day, he is on every 3 hour schedule and never naps longer than 2 hours. I’ve stopped feeding him in the middle of the night for a month. What am I doing wrong?!
My baby is 3 months old and previously never really slept during the day, always fought it crying herself to sleep in my arms or in a carrier. During the night she was amazing going to bed at 8.30 waking about 2am and then sleeping until 6 or 7am.
For the last 2 days she is now on and off having 2 large sleeps a day in her bassinet and I have been putting her down drowsy but awake where as since she was born we always rocked her to sleep (she still does need to be rocked to sleep sometimes when she’s crying). Should she be having a set sleep times in the day? now her nighttime is ruined. Between 5pm and bedtime she is really cranky and I have to try get her to have a nap in my arms before I feed her at 7.30 and get her to sleep before 8.30, previously she would have her last feed for the night and fall asleep put her in the bassinet and walk away now she is restless when I put her down or restless in my arms before hand and she is waking up 3-4 times a night.
I have been reading on here about sleep regression which I understand it could be?
What do I do? Do I put her to bed earlier?
I’m going back to work in 4 weeks and need to try and sort it out as much as possible.
Thanks so much
Hi there! My almost 6 month old has been in the 4 m sleep regeression for 10 weeks now. Sleep deprived and hopeless, going through many changes over the month, we finally realized we had to get serious about crib training. My little one started waking in the night every hour to eat, and hasn’t stopped really since. We have occassional nights he goes 2 hrs between but it’s not all the time. While I thought for a while growth spurt, I knew quickly it was the regression. We had a bunch of travel and we moved over the next two months so a lot has changed, and my little guy has stayed happy through it all. He has been sleeping with us but since there’s been no improvement we started going back to the crib. He’s still pretty independent, can be alone and doesn’t seem to have issues napping or going down alone and sleeps really anywhere (we traveled a lot with him) yet in the middle of the night all he wants to do is eat. I try doing everything but and he will just be awake till I feed him. I cut out feedings before naps, and try only to feed him after a nap or 30 minutes before. He goes down for naps after about 2 hrs of being away. He’s not a fussy baby, so I haven’t made any crazy changes cause a happy baby is what I want, but just cannot stay asleep at night. He’s in the crib now and I’m trying my best to wake up every hour to deal but nights are longer now that he isn’t next to me. Is there anything you would suggest?
@Briana, thank you for commenting. I am sorry that your baby has been having such a tough time with sleep. At this age, he shouldn’t need to eat as frequently, only 1-3 feedings total per night. From what you’ve described it sounds as though your little guy may have developed a sleep association with night feedings. Here is an article where we address sleep associations at length: https://www.babysleepsite.com/sleep-training/sleep-association/ And if you need any help breaking these associations, our team of sleep consultants are always happy to help! Best of luck and hang in there!
My baby is will be 4 months in a couple of days. 1 week ago, she would start the bedtime routine within 90 min of when she last woke as she normally would and would either fall asleep and sleep for 15-30 min (or not at all) and stay awake for a couple of hours until 3 hours since she last ate approaches, where at that time I feel like I should feed her again in case she’s hungry (which she usually is by that time). She tries to go back to sleep but is not able to without the additional feeding. When we go to get her, she’s super chatty and playful so we wait until she shows early signs of tiredness to put her back down. She’ll sleep for for 6-7hrs after that before waking to eat so we’re not complaining about that. I’d love to get advice on her late bedtime. Do you think this is a 4 month regression or is she needing additional calories to prepare her for the night? FYI baby is close to 10lbs. She was a little over 5lbs at birth. She takes 4 naps during the day and the last one is usually late afternoon (1.5-2 hours)/early evening (short 30 min).
@Diana, Thanks for commenting! It is tough to say exactly what is going on without seeing her full schedule, but it may be a scheduling issue that is contributing to her late bedtime. It is likely it will smooth out soon as she is still young and there is a big transition in there sleep at 4 months. Here is a link to a sample 4 month old schedule: https://www.babysleepsite.com/schedules/4-month-old-schedule/
You can take a look and see if you need to make any adjustments based on her currently naptimes and wake times (every baby will be a little different, so please remember it may not be exactly the same as ours). It does sound like she needs to fill up before that first long stretch. If you find you need additional help, let us know! But hopefully you will find her schedule begins to level out in the next month or so and her bedtime works itself down to a more appropriate time. Thanks again!
Comments are closed.