Understanding the 3-4 month ‘sleep regression’

Chris Minogue

Chris Minogue

Chris is Australia's leading Mothercraft Nurse, with over 35 years experience working in both public and private hospitals. Chris has worked with thousands of families globally, to support them through all aspects of parenting – from newborn through to toddler years. Chris also specialises in twins, surrogacy and travel, and has worked with some of the biggest...
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 2 mins read
Understanding the 3-4 month ‘sleep regression’

A lot of people talk about the dreaded ‘sleep regression’ around the 3-4 month mark, however, you should think of this more as a change in your baby’s awareness and development. This is when you may notice that they start waking easily after a 45-minute sleep cycle and will have difficulty going back to sleep. During this time of change, your baby will need your support to help them resettle and extend their sleep. With a little time, patience and consistency, you will be able to help your baby resettle – and eventually learn to self-settle – on their own.

How to help your baby through this phase

Try to resist the urge to automatically go in and pick them up, as this will make resettling much harder and can lead to more frequent waking at night in the long term.

During the day, your baby will typically have a longer morning and afternoon nap with a catnap in between. Try to extend the morning and afternoon naps by gently resettling them in their bed. You can do this by softly patting and ‘shushing’ where you find them.

If they become too unsettled, pick them up and cuddle them until calm and then place them back down in their bed again.

Remember that the sleep environment is equally important as your baby has now moved past that initial newborn phase where they can sleep anywhere and everywhere; ensure that they are put to sleep in a dark and quiet environment.

Why we shouldn’t call it a regression

I recommend resisting the term ‘sleep regression’ because the change your baby is undergoing is all in the way of progression – it’s about moving forwards not backwards. They’re going through a new stage, learning a new skill, their physiology is changing – at 4-months-old a baby is going through a complete transformation in the way that their brain processes sleep.

This is a fundamental change that will help their ability to sleep progress not only now but as they grow and eventually become adults.

No doubt it messes with the current status quo – but it’s for a reason. And remember, this too shall pass.

Your baby’s Daily Rhythm

It’s not always easy to remain calm and patient if you have been up all night or have siblings running around. By being aware of your baby’s Daily Rhythm in the app, you will have a sense of control in knowing what to expect with things such as awake windows, which sleeps are best for resettling and timings for feeds and sleep.

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