Your baby slept well enough for 3 or 4 months and suddenly everything became complicated? Sleep Regression is a sudden deterioration of sleep without apparent medical and external reason. Even If a baby is healthy and the mother is calm, comfortable sleeping conditions and safety are organized, the baby still does not sleep or sleeps badly, it seems like he/she is experiencing a SLEEP REGRESSION This regression (sleep disturbance) often happens when the baby is about 4 months old and sleepless nights are back again for most of the moms.
So let’s go deep in this process and try to understand what are the signs and why this happens.
Signs of 4 MONTH SLEEP REGRESSION are…
🔺Baby’s sleep suddenly goes bad and a restless, baby wakes up at night often and does not sleep much even during the day.
🔺It gets harder and harder to put the baby to sleep and the baby often protests by crying or howling
🔺Baby is often irritated, overexcited and/or inclined to hysterics
🔺Baby shows an increased needs for attention and affection and does not get off your hands.
🔺The Baby constantly wants to breastfeed and appetite increases during the day and night.
Scared? Usually, Sleep regression lasts from 2 to 6 weeks.
So what causes this sleep regression?
.Children aged 3-4 months experience hormonal changes in the body, which is important for the subsequent development of the child and an important growth spurt occurs.
.Maturation of the nervous system is underway, the work of nervous connections for mastering new skills at this stage of development are taking place in the brain.
.There is a subsequent increase in the mobility of the baby as he/she begins to move more actively, develops new motor skills (learns to turn over or just start to do it after regression)
.Increased stress on the nervous system – new skills are practiced during the day, before bed and even during sleep
.The structure of sleep changes, the child’s sleep becomes similar to an adult, sleep from the chaotic becomes cyclical and there are awakenings through each cycle.
.At the age of 3 months the child begins to develop his/her own sleep hormone – melatonin, that’s why he becomes more sensitive to sleep conditions
.There is a change in perception: gradually there is an understanding that mom is a separate individual.
So here are my recommendations to make this transition smoother both for the parents and baby:
✅The positive attitude and patience of both parents is important. Your child does not sleep enough, he becomes more sensitive and irritable, and doesn’t understand what is happening to him. You dont need to fight with the baby’s sleep, but it is important to help him cope with these difficulties. Remember that this is a temporary phenomenon, and sleep will be adjusted as unexpectedly as it deteriorated.
✅Try to avoid your baby getting exhausted and make sure he falls asleep in time. Here you can use any methods to calm baby down and help him fall asleep. With regression, you can use all the ‘Forbidden Tricks’: let him fall asleep while breastfeeding, swing him on your hands or let him sleep in the stroller. Just try to alternate the ways so that the baby does not get used to one single way in this difficult period. When the regress of sleep passes, you can return to forming useful habits for sleep.
✅Focus on your baby signs of tiredness and put him to bed in right time: when child yawns, rubs his eyes, Is looking at one thing, eyes look droopy and red. Keep a track of the comfortable time of wakefulness (baby’s active time), for this age, preferably, do not exceed more than 2-2.5 hours. By the way, daytime sleeps during regression can be short and their number can increase up to 5 times per day.
✅ Think about sleeping conditions and rituals for falling asleep. It is important to provide a comfortable place for sleep. You must have a preferable room(Same room every time) make the room dark, It should have a comfortable temperature (Neither too hot or too cold) airing. Smooth transition is equally important from active time to calm time, pleasant preparation for sleep, repetitive relaxing activities – these are about rituals for falling asleep.
✅Help the baby calm down, relax and fall asleep. At this age, the baby still needs help from mother when falling asleep. Watch during the day what calms your child the best, try to transfer this experience and to fall asleep.
✅They need for skin-to-skin contact and care. Hug your baby, kiss ,hold his/her hand. Mumbling sweet nothings are a great way to show the baby that you love him/her
✅Increase in an appetite. The child during this period needs more inflow of calories and more frequent feeding. If you are a breastfeeding mom you may need to increase the food intake in your day and maybe its time to introduce an external food item in your kid’s life.
✅With increased mobility during the regression increase your babies physical activity during the day. In order to helpp your kid develop a new motor skill during the day, encourage crawling, use play gym/ mat and a some good massage for your little one twice in a day before bathtime.
The Author of this article is a certified Sleep Consultant, Angelina Gupta who can be reached on her Instagram at any time of the day. For more details feel free to reach her on firstname.lastname@example.org