Sleep Regression

Sleep Regressions: Everything You Need To Know
“A sleep regression describes a period of time (anywhere from 1 – 4 weeks) when a baby or toddler who has been sleeping well suddenly starts waking at night, and/or skipping naps (or waking early from naps) for no apparent reason. Parents often describe being caught totally off guard: you think your have conquered all your little one’s sleep challenges, when suddenly, out of nowhere, you’re back to constant night wakings and nonexistent naps.”
The Dreaded 4 Month Sleep Regression
“What is a sleep regression?
A sleep regression is thought to occur when a baby who is normally sleeping well begins to wake frequently at night and/or fights/refuses naps. These regressions seem to come out of nowhere and can last indefinitely. There is thought to be a regression around 3/4 months, 9 months, and 18 months. Not at all coincidentally, we can see that all of these ‘regressions’ occur around the same time as nap transitions (the 4-3 nap transition around 4 months, the 3-2 nap transition around 9 months, and the 2-1 nap transition around 18 months). In my opinion, these regressions are really just our babies’ sleep needs changing and parents are not prepared to handle these changes properly, thus leading to baby becoming overtired. You know by now that an overtired baby will wake frequently at night and/or fight/refuse naps so – voila!- a ‘sleep regression’ is born.

So what causes the ‘4 month sleep regression’?
Four months is a very busy time for babies. There is a lot that happens with our children’s sleep at this age. Four months is the time where a baby’s sleep becomes more like an adult’s. I won’t bore you with the details about how this happens, but it’s important to know a little bit about why some of the things that you were previously doing (i.e. rocking/nursing to sleep) seem to quit working at four months of age.
Previous to 4 months, when a baby would fall asleep, they would immediately enter into a deeper non-REM sleep. This is why you would have been able to rock/nurse your baby to sleep and then put them down without them waking up. As well, they were likely able to sleep just about anywhere; in the car seat while grocery shopping, in the stroller while you took a walk, or in the carrier while you did your household errands. Around 4 months, as sleep becomes more ‘adult-like’, your baby will not enter immediately into that non-REM deep sleep stage as soon as they fall asleep. Instead, they will first enter into a lighter sleep stage of non-REM. If we are nursing/rocking baby to sleep, and then try to put her down….POP! She is up, wide awake, and ready to go. Then the process of helping her to fall asleep is repeated again and again, only causing baby to become overtired.”
Surviving The Four-Month Sleep Regression

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