The four month sleep regression might sound like a scary part of parenting, but the truth is that it’s very normal and not all babies go through it.
In a recent Facebook Live with TMB TV, qualified baby and child sleep consultant Steph Gouin says she gets lots of questions about the four-month sleep regression.
“I love talking about the four months sleep regression, and I don’t actually call it a sleep regression like most people do,” says Steph.
She adds: “It seems as though there’s a regression coming up every month. It’s really making it hard for parents because every month they’re being told it’s this regression and that regression.”
Watch the full interview below.
The truth is your baby’s sleep is probably going to experience some bumps in the road at some point, and that’s normal.
“Around the four month mark, babies do go through a period of change, and that’s with their internal sleep systems,” says Steph.
“So a newborn’s sleep cycles are fairly basic. They’ll move through light sleep and deep sleep fairly easily.”
At around three or four months of age, your baby’s sleep cycles start to change.
“The sleep cycles become more complex. More like adult sleep cycles,” says Steph.
Unfortunately, for some babies (and parents), this transition isn’t always smooth.
“There starts to be stages within each cycle and because around this age baby’s are becoming more aware and alert, there’s a lot more opportunity for these babies to wake,” says Steph.
The good news is that this period of change doesn’t happen to all babies.
“A baby who can self settle, who’s sleeping well, getting plenty of sleep, who’s warm, and well fed – these babies will move through these changing cycles with ease and you may not even know that they’re waking more,” says Steph. “They do it, but they’ll just go straight back to sleep because that’s what they always do.”
Whereas if you have a baby who needs help falling asleep or back to sleep, that’s where things become prickly.
“So, yes, it’s a period of change, and there will always be periods of change. There will always be little disruptions to sleep,” says Steph.
That’s not the problem.
“It’s when things aren’t going well before [the sleep changes], that’s where you’ll get families who just completely fall off the wagon,” says Steph.
“Having a baby who’s not sleeping and settling well in the first place; it flows from there. It’s just a disaster. It’s not just the period of change. It’s all the things that come with it.”
So what should parents do?
“If you can keep your routine going and keep things as normal as possible, these phases will come and go pretty quickly,” says Steph.
“I like to encourage parents not to get swept up in the regressions and all the hoo-ha. You just have to understand what’s happening and try and move through it as best you can with your normal natural routine.”
If you are at all concerned about your baby, make an appointment with your GP or another health care professional.
To find out more about Steph, her ebooks and sleep support packages, visit her website Sleep By Steph.
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