When an infant hits 4 months old, that’s when taking care of them starts to get really challenging. You’re trying to get the hang of being a parent of a newborn child, but you haven’t really gotten used to the flow just yet. This is especially true with their sleep schedule.
There’s a thing called the 4-month sleep regression, which is when an infant’s sleep schedule suddenly shifts. This is usually the time when the baby starts to experience a growth spurt and the brain starts to really grow in order to adapt to the environment.
This guide will help you understand how you can best manage your 4-month-old child’s sleep schedule during this crucial time.
Let Your Baby Explore During the Day
When children hit 4 months old, they start exploring their environment and learn what they can. They’re mastering newfound skills like sitting up and rolling over, and it’s crucial that they’re allowed to do this exploration. However, it’s also important to not let that practice hinder their sleeping schedule.
Let your baby do this exploration during the day while still letting them take their naps, and then tuck them into bed once it’s nighttime. By letting them practice during the day, you can have them not do it so much at night and have them sleep uninterrupted.
Fully Feed Your Baby During the Day
Feeding them in full during the day will ensure that they won’t go hungry in the middle of the night, thus making sure their sleep goes as uninterrupted as possible.
This may not be that easy as the baby may be growing more and more curious as they grow, which may keep them from feeding until they’re completely full. Do your best to remove distractions during feeding time so the baby can totally focus on feeding.
If they do wake up and cry through the night, yet you’ve fed them during the day, you can look into other causes for whatever they’re crying about. If you do feed them because they’re crying, they may end up expecting to be fed every time they wake up, which may not be good in the long run as it results in overfeeding.
Being Drowsy But Awake
If you notice your baby being drowsy but still somehow stay awake, they may be having a hard time at letting themselves fall asleep for various reasons.
Help your baby learn how to soothe themselves to sleep by being beside them for reassurance and let them gradually fall asleep. Do this enough times and they learn to fall asleep on their own.
But if you find it that your attempts at soothing them is not helping, and perhaps they even start to cry, then you may have to hold them and rock them to sleep. It’s alright if it takes time for them to learn how to fall asleep on their own.
Keep the Room Dark
Once the baby is asleep, keep the room as dark as possible to help them stay asleep.
When you put your baby down for a nap, keep the room as dark as possible to encourage better sleep. If your baby wakes up too soon, the darkness will help encourage them to fall back asleep.
When it’s time to wake up in the morning, open up the curtains and fill the room with natural sunlight. Keeping the room dark during sleep and making it bright in the morning helps the baby’s brain get used to the body’s circadian rhythm.
To make the environment even better for sleep, you can use the Letsfit White Noise Machine to create a more conducive environment. The white noise has been scientifically proven to induce sleep and block off noise from outside the room. The night light also makes a dim ambient light that makes the room more soothing for your baby.
Be Sure to Establish the Bedtime Routine
A 4-month-old needs around 15 hours of sleep each day. It can be split at 10-11 hours at night and 3-4 hours split between 3-4 naps during the day—the splits are for feeding. it can go over or under, depending on the day, but there has to be a rhythm for ample production of melatonin.
Perhaps this has been mentioned to an extent in previous tips, but it must be said explicitly as its own tip. Establishing the baby’s bedtime routine early on is crucial as it creates the habit for them to get ready to sleep at a specific time at night.