Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board
One step forward, two steps back. That’s the way with so many things in life, and baby sleep is no exception. This month your baby may experience the infamous four-month sleep regression. But before you freak out that EVERYTHING WAS GOING SO WELL BEFORE AND NOW LOOK WHAT’S HAPPENING OMG, know that this is a real thing, it happens to most babies, and you will — yes you will! — emerge on the other side of it.
What is a sleep regression? You’ll know you’re in the thick of it when all of a sudden those glorious chunks of nighttime sleep disappear and you’re back to frequent wakings – like newborn phase amount of wakings. And just like in those newborn days, you have to nurse, rock, bounce and otherwise cajole baby back to sleep each time. Naps? Gone. Baby’s reliable slices of daytime sleep have now dwindled to fitful 45-minute blips from which she wakes fussy and unrested. It’s not pretty.
What’s happening is that baby’s sleep patterns are changing and she’s now alternating between REM and deep sleep, just as adults do. Trouble is, when babies wake between cycles, they don’t yet know how to get back to sleep on their own. (If only they could scroll Facebook.) Plus, this is a peak time for baby’s brain development. Her brain is “on” all the time to help her absorb all manner of new skills. There are endless new connections being made, all of which are more interesting than sleep.
Hang in there. This is a temporary dip in the road, and rest assured, not all baby’s sleep learning to date will be lost. Do what you need to help baby (and yourself) get through these few weeks. And in the meantime, consider this a chance for some quality late night TV watching. Glass half full, right?