How to Handle Sleep Regression

[name_m]Hi[/name_m] momberries! My lovely little [name_f]Louisa[/name_f] is 4.5 months old now and has been going through her 4 month sleep regression - yuck! She went from sleeping about 6-8 hours straight to waking up crying every 2 hours or so and it’s a struggle to get her back down.

Background info: Right now she’s in a side-by-side sleeper next to our bed. She’s actually pretty good about going down for the night (we put her to bed drowsy) but can’t seem to stay asleep. She does take a pacifier during the day for naps but has no interest in it when she wakes up at night. I’m trying not to feed her in the middle of the night too often (only once, ideally) because I feel like I fed my oldest too much and he developed a huge dependence on being nursed to sleep in the middle of the night that I had to break - which was terrible.

So, any advice? [name_m]How[/name_m] did/do you handle it? Is it too early for Cry It Out? (we did CIO with [name_m]Konrad[/name_m], so I am not opposed to it, but no heated debates on the topic, please.) [name_f]Do[/name_f] you pat them? [name_m]Rock[/name_m] them? [name_f]Hope[/name_f] they self soothe? I want to help her get to sleep but don’t want her to develop sleep associations I’m just going to have to break later on.

Thanks in advance, friends!

In my opinion it’s not too early for CIO as long as she’s healthy, gaining weight well, etc.

At 4.5 months I wouldn’t go hardcore CIO where you don’t respond to her all night long or anything like that. But you can definitely start doing the gradual thing where it takes longer and longer to respond. Usually that happens sort of naturally as a consequence of the exhaustion of having a baby. That’s what I tell myself to avoid guilt, anyway.

Also I know you’re not supposed to move them out of your room for the first 6 months but it definitely helps if you’ve got at least a little separation between your bed and her crib, so she doesn’t scream forever just because she can hear you breathing 12" away.

Hang in there and good luck :slight_smile:

Thanks @mill! I appreciate the advice! You’re totally right about being so close, too. Plus it makes CIO harder when she’s basically screaming in my ear hahaha.

Oh god, I just want to say I commiserate.

I don’t have any great tips as sleep with us and Freyja has been a long and winding journey of mostly improvisation (we do have various ‘systems’ in place by now but it doesn’t take much stubbornness on her part to break our resolve, so we tend to go backwards a lot :() that started exactly around 4 months also. Before that and after the crazy first month we had a period of wonderful 10-hour stretches. It was a most unpleasant surprise when it all started going to hell. I think I would definitely consider moving the next baby to his/her own room at that stage the next time round and sending my partner instead of me so the baby wasn’t expecting milk, but I don’t really know if that would have worked with Freyja. As it was we didn’t have the option with our accommodation back then. Let me know if you find a good solution because I suck at this part of parenting.

Mostly wanted to say: I feel you and stay strong!

Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

In all seriousness, you just have to wait it out. [name_m]Don[/name_m]'t start anything new that you’re not willing to continue. Stick to the bedtime routine. When they wake up, do as little as possible. im not opposed to a little CIO. If baby is not hungry, wet, sick, and is gaining weight healthily then go reassure baby and let them learn to self soothe. I started taking longer to respond to each wake up, and then I’d go in.

If you have t yet, download the wonder weeks app. Babies go through a developmental leap at that age. I found with [name_f]Zoe[/name_f] that her sleep went south around every leap and lasted a week or so and usually she’d come out the other side having learned a new skill… Rolling over, sitting up, standing up, walking, babbling, etc. Also, did she recently have shots? That sometimes messed sleep up for a few days. Teeth? It could be all those things put together. Babies are a puzzle.

You have my greatest sympathies! It doesn’t get much worse than the 4 month sleep regression :frowning:

I agree with a pp that you should try to stick to your current routine as much as you can. All you can do is wait it out, maddening though that is. In saying that though, it’s worth bearing in mind that this is a phase so just do what works for now and your daughter will settle back into the old routine when this phase is over. I found that white noise worked very well and had a fan going in the room for my daughter and downloaded an app called Lullabies (I think) and had the sound of rain going all night for my son. He also found music playing softly very soothing. I also found a website called Troublesome Tots which I found invaluable for advice on sleep issues.

Thanks everyone! It’s getting better but I wish I had my good sleeper completely back! I think teeth are starting to come in, too, so I’m sure that will bring more rough nights! Well wishes to all of you for a better nights sleep!

I hope this isn’t too old to resurrect, but my guy is just a little over 4 months and I feel we’ve hit the sleep regression. He was waking more at night, but he has improved at night over the past few days and is back to 1-2 wakes to feed over 11 hours. However, daytime naps are garbage and he either has extremely short naps (30-40 minutes where he was doing 2+ hours) or fights them hard even if overtired. He was self-soothing well just weeks ago, but now wants to be held or nursed to sleep and will otherwise scream. I have made his environment dark, have routines, give him time to try to self-soothe, but most advice I have found for their topic pertains to bedtime rather than naps. Teething is also in play (why does everything happen at once?), but I possibly need some ideas on how to get through this at naptime when he is clearly overtired and fighting it like [name_m]Mohammed[/name_m] [name_u]Ali[/name_u].

I hope you find some good answers! I honestly just do contact naps and it works for us. And when she’s fighting too hard I distract her with a musical and she drifts off. But I know those aren’t things the parenting books would reccomend!

[name_f]My[/name_f] children were usually very good sleepers, but like all kids they did have their moments. [name_f]My[/name_f] second daughter went through a very similar stage around 12 months. For many nights se would wake up crying 3-4 times. I tended to her, changed her etc, put her back. One night after three times of this, she woke woke/cried for the 4th time. I was just too tired to get up and rolled over and went back to sleep. She must have gone back to sleep herselfof as I heard no more from her. That was the end of it. She did try it a few more times, but I waited/ignored her for about 10 minutes. When she realised that Iwas ot coming. she stopped. Of course, as a mother you are attuned to the differnt cries of your baby, so you know the meaning of the cries.

I’m not into CIO personally, so you might not like this advice… it’s def a different way of doing things, but I just feed to sleep and contact nap with my baby, or pop them in my front pack (I have a lillebaby) and walk around til they’re asleep in there. Walks in the neighbourhood in the stroller can also be great, and then once baby’s asleep in the stroller I walk back home and park them outside under a tree. Honestly, I tried with my first to do proper nap times etc but it’s been such a relief just to watch the naby instead of the clock and RESIGN to life with a baby being hard a lot of the time. If I just give in to knowing that, sometimes my baby’s gonna need me a hell of a lot more due to teething or diff development stages, and that babies are hard work and the house will get messy… then because my expectations are low, I’m happier to go with the flow instead of getting stressed about things, and my kids are happier.


Thanks for all the replies. [name_f]May[/name_f] have to accept this is a developmental phase for the most part, but maybe I just needed the assurance to steer the course because it is a phase. I’m not a fan of CIO, though I do allow him some time to self-soothe if he’s not uncontrollably crying for a need. He’s been a good self-soother when drifting from quiet alert to light sleep by sucking his hand or just staring at the wall, but lately even if I put him down drowsy he wakes himself.