A sleep regression is considered a noticeable deterioration in the daily regimen. Sleep and wakefulness can be confused and this leads to frequent awakenings at night and naps during the day. The most noticeable regression occurs exactly at 4 months. During this period, there is a significant physiological and psycho-emotional development of the child.
Other reasons can also affect regression at 4 months: moving, a protracted illness, the appearance of new people in the house, and so on. A feature of sleep regression at 4 months is the approximation of the biological rhythms of the child to the rhythms of an adult. This restructuring is directly proportional to the deterioration of sleep. Regression is a significant signal of the baby’s readiness to fall asleep on its own.
Symptoms of Sleep Regression
Sleep regression at 4 months is most noticeable and its symptoms are more pronounced. The specificity of the ongoing changes in the child’s life determines a clear gradation of the signs of this condition. Symptoms are most noticeable during the acute period of sleep regression.
Among them are the following:
Sudden short sleeps: The child used to sleep for 1-2 hours and suddenly starts sleeping for 30 minutes.
Frequent awakenings: Sometimes children can wake up during daytime sleep and fail to fall asleep again.
Nothing helps to calm: Previously working feeding, pacifier, etc. stop working.
Night awakenings and wakefulness: The child suddenly begins to stay awake at night. Waking up and not sleeping for a long time at night.
Increasing need for attention: The baby calls his mother all the time, often cries, and does not let her leave the crib for a minute.
Sleep restlessly: The child tosses and turns twitches his arms and legs, turns his head even when he sleeps. Sleep is interrupted and unstable.
The growth and development of each child is a completely individual process. The maturation of the nervous system and the improvement of physiology are different for everyone. All parents should understand that they need to start only from the state of their child and not compare it with others.
The symptoms of regression in one child may not be the same as yours. Many children do not have them at all. There are options when a child copes with a growth spurt on their own.
Does Every Child Have Regression?
Sleep disorders in children are very common. Sometimes it’s short-term, sometimes it’s long-term. Your child doesn’t need to suffer from sleep regression. Sleep regression at 4 months is common in all children. The course of this period is very ambiguous. Some children can change their behavior very much, others almost not noticeably.
How regression proceeds in a child are largely related to the maturity of his nervous system. An important role is played by: inherited temperament, pain threshold, sensitivity, and the external environment. Remember that you are the main assistant to the child on this path. All children go through a sleep regression phase. How painful this will depend on your attitude to this issue.
Night and Nap Changes During 4 Month Sleep Regression
The sleep of a 4-month-old baby is subject to a powerful attack of various factors. The changes that occur to the baby directly affect the quality and quantity of sleep.
A child should sleep up to 15 hours per day for 4 months of his life. 9-12 hours of this sleep falls at night. Daytime naps in total should take about 4.5-6 hours. These data are significantly confused due to regression. Sometimes children do not reach the daily norm and sleep only 10 hours a day.
The wakefulness of a child at 4 months increases to 2 hours due to active development. The baby can remain active for a much longer period due to regression without reaching the norm of daytime sleep. The sleep structure of a 4-month-old baby changes and becomes cyclical. The transition between sleep phases still leads to awakenings after which it is difficult for the baby to fall asleep again.
Development Changes That Cause Sleep Regression at 4 Month
The age of 4 months is a great start to a new life. This period is full of discoveries, impressions, achievements. The child experiences many more needs and accumulates new emotional reactions. Children at 4 months of age are very accustomed to their mother, environment, home. Everything that happens in life affects their development and is reflected in the quality of sleep.
Sleep regression at 4 months is due to several changes in the development of the child.
1. Visual perception
The child’s visual perception is enhanced. The muscles of the eyes become stronger and react faster to objects and people. Colors are perceived more colorfully and the child reacts more and more to light.
The diverse picture of the world received by the baby during wakefulness leaves vivid impressions. The child can be overexcited from the information received if he is not calmed down in time. The new perception of the external environment affects the sleep regression of a 4-month-old baby, exacerbating problems with sleep patterns.
2. Motor activity
Right now the child is going through the stage of the strongest progress in development. A significant leap forward is noticeable in the motor activity of the baby. A child at 4 months already knows how to roll over well from side to side. This makes him very tired during the day.
The kid repeats coups at night even while in a dream. Regression during this period may be slightly delayed, as it is difficult to deal with increased physical activity.
3. Mental leap
The regression period of 4 months is complicated by a serious jump in mental development. The child learns to compare events, to associate specific actions with the result. The baby shakes the rattle, knowing that he will hear a certain sound.
Children at this age are prone to a little analysis and conclusions from their actions. He can respond to mom’s emotions and process this information. The work of the brain boils and makes it difficult to sleep peacefully.
4. Abrupt changes in consciousness
A 4-month-old baby can understand that there are many objects and objects in the world. The baby understands that the mother can move away but return when he cries. Sometimes it even turns into childish manipulation.
Children at 4 months are increasingly demanding attention and are nervous if they lack it. The result is increased anxiety, stress, and restless sleep. This situation exacerbates the course of sleep regression. It is more difficult to establish a regimen and calm the child.
How Long Does Sleep Regression Last?
There are many reasons to believe that sleep regression will go unnoticed. Most mothers have difficulty regressing. This is primarily due to the unpredictability of the duration of the process. The most common regression duration is 2 weeks. Such a period is required for the baby to adapt to a new stage in its development.
A less optimistic scenario is a protracted regression. It sometimes lasts for 6 months. Such a period is established either due to the individual characteristics of the organism or from environmental conditions. Parents should help their children at this stage. You can introduce small workouts for self-soothing, regularly massage, take relaxing baths.
How to Deal with 4 Month Sleep Regression
The child needs the help of parents at any age. This help is more than ever needed in the period of a breakthrough in growth and development.
Safely surviving the sleep regression with your baby will help with new tricks and ways to alleviate the situation. Do not be afraid to experiment based on the characteristics of your child. All methods are good and you can survive the regression with minimal effort.
7 Ways to cope with sleep regression at 4 months:
1. A permanent place to sleep
The child must have his bed. Consistency gives children a sense of security and peace of mind. Do not confuse a place to sleep with a place to stay awake and play. Determine the only space where the child will sleep. It must be unchanged. If you sleep together, then it is better not to change this for the period of regression.
2. Correct landmarks
Form associative links with the laying process. They must be extremely positive. A child at 4 months already perfectly remembers faces and objects, his feelings and emotions.
The environment conducive to sleep should be calm and peaceful. Landmarks for wakefulness are exciting attention. Decrease activity in the evening so that the baby understands that it’s time for bed.
3. Daily routine
A child at 4 months has developed a daily routine. He must clearly understand what is happening and when. Try to feed and put your baby to bed at the same time. The intervals between feedings should be as equal as possible. The child can catch the connection of a hearty lunch with the upcoming sleep.
The process of sleep regression will be difficult to experience without an established daily routine. Adapt to new conditions by changing the schedule when daily rhythms are disturbed. The regime of the day during the regression period can be floating.
4. Avoid overwork
Babies as young as 4 months are very prone to overwork. Their physical activity is enhanced, the muscles are well developed, the skeleton is stronger. More and more I want movement and new achievements.
Adults often deviate from the routine without seeing signs of fatigue in their children. This leads to the fact that the child is overexcited and does not want to sleep at all. Don’t overwork! Limit physical and mental activities. Do not overload your child with information.
5. Practice sleep skills
Compliance with all conditions for sleep, good health, and rituals will help the child sleep well. You can start letting your baby fall asleep on their own at 4 months.
After all the evening rituals, put the baby to bed in a calm state. It is important to notice signs of drowsiness in him, he should practically fall asleep. Then he will fall asleep easily. It may not happen right away, but the main thing is consistency. It will work out over time.
6. More attention
A 4-month-old baby needs to feel safe for a good and deep sleep. It is necessary to satisfy all his needs during the day to achieve this. It is not only about physiological needs, hygiene, feeding, etc. The main thing is attention. Children at this age are very much in need of communication.
Take the baby in your arms more often, stroke, hug, kiss. Respond immediately to his crying. Don’t give the child cause for concern. His anxiety will not help to cope with the stage of sleep regression.
7. Emotional background
Provide your child with positive emotions throughout the day. Start with yourself first. The environment of the baby at 4 months should give him an understanding of the well-being of the world, stability, and security. A child always sleeps well if he grows up in a safe environment with a positive emotional background.
FAQ about 4 Month Sleep Regression
Consider some questions that are most often of interest to women during the 4-month sleep regression period:
Q1: Can a 4-month sleep regression be delayed?
A1: Yes. The duration of the regression is determined by the characteristics of the character, temperament, environmental conditions, growth, and development rates. The regression will be delayed if the combination of these conditions is maximally peak.
Q2: The baby does not show any symptoms of sleep regression at 4 months, is this normal?
A2: Yes, it’s quite normal. Many children navigate these developmental milestones on their own. This is their feature. Most often they are minimally sensitive to change.
Q3: How long does the 4 month sleep regression take?
A3: The duration of the regression is usually 2 weeks. This is a period of getting used to a new stage of development. The maximum period is 4-6 weeks.
Q4: Will the child always sleep so badly if the regression is difficult?
A4: No. Biological rhythms stabilize over time and the child will begin to sleep peacefully and throughout the night. All children experience this differently. Sleep generally stabilizes by 3 years of age.
Q5: What works best for a 4 month sleep regression?
A5: It is best to use a set of measures for the flow of this period. This is the creation of conditions for sleep, the introduction of a flexible regimen, constant walks, physical activity, communication, and so on.
Q6: Will sleep regression affect the mental state of the baby?
A6: No. This is a completely natural process that is the norm. Regression is a consequence of the child’s adaptation to his active development. This stage will pass with time and you will not even remember it. Regression does not affect the psyche of the child.
Q7: Why is my baby so bad at 4 months regression?
A7: The child bears it as best he can. You don’t take it well. Need to help the child at this stage. Most likely the baby is too sensitive and vulnerable to external stimuli. A little more attention and care and everything will pass.