Surviving the 4 month sleep regression

written by Bella Drew 6 February 2018
4 month sleep regression

So the dreaded 4 month sleep regression where most babies will go through a “phase” of waking up every hour or two during the regression.


What is the 4 month sleep regression?

From everything I’ve read about it, around 4 months babies go through a change in sleep pattern. They change from going straight into a non-REM sleep (a deep sleep) to a REM sleep (a light sleep where their brain is more active). This means that they’re more aware when you put them down, leave the room or even drop a pin a mile away from home. Im kidding but they’re seriously such a light sleeper during this time, the slightest noise or movement and they’re awake.  

Also, babies go through a huge developmental leap at 4 months. Whilst asleep, their brain will be busy going over and learning all the things they’ve learnt or experienced that day. This is why they’ll wake up more during the night and fight going to sleep because their brain is far too active for them to sleep. Just remember it’s not them fighting the sleep, they might be so tired, it’s their brian wanted to stay awake and absorb as much as it can. When I read this, it really made me sad. I hate it when I feel so exhausted but yet my brain doesn’t switch off. 

They’re also in the process of dropping a naptime. Newborns usually nap around 4 to 5 times a day (Primrose didn’t) but now they’re dropping to 3 to 4 naps a day. Which completely messes up their sleep cycle and they often get overtired whilst trying to adjust. 


Primrose is now 4 months old but has very clearly been in the sleep regression since the middle of January.  

Now Primrose is a good sleeper. Usually sleeping from 11 pm until 9 am every night. But now that were in the sleep regression she first started to wake at 2 am for a feed, then again at 4 am then be up ready for the day at 6 am.  Now I know that may seem lovely to some mums, and if so, they deserve an award but to us, it was the worst.


How we’ve been surviving

We started off badly, I was overtired and ratty. So Conor stepped in every morning from when she woke up after her last feed and asked how the night went. So if I was up feeding from 2 am until 4 am, then he would let me sleep another 2 hours. This helped massively.

It sounds silly but I made sure I did some sort of exercise during the day. I simply cleaned the house. I feel like this really helped me keep awake, stopped me feeling tired and kept me busy so I couldn’t feel tired.

Start establishing a routine. Primrose had no routine up until now, we did everything by her cues, but during the regression, I thought it was the right time to start a routine. Mainly to try and stop her being overtired as I was missing her cues and to try and create something solid for her.  We’re going to try Wee Bee Dreamings sleep schedule but move it an hour forward (as I don’t fancy waking up at 6:30 am, because Im lazy)

Getting out. A bit of fresh air is definitely what you need to wake you up. Just a quick 5 minute walk to the park, around the block or just sit in the garden will be fresh enough to keep you awake a few hours longer.

Just remember that wise old parenting saying that I’ve heard time and time again…

This too, shall pass.


Here’s what some other mums have been doing to survive the 4 month sleep regression

“The only way I coped was to also sleep as much as I can when the baby is sleeping. When my kids were into sleep regression, I had the energy to keep up them. It also helps to differentiate the environment for feeding time at day and night. Making the day feeding a little lively can work for their natural body clock.” – Veronica, MyparentingJourney

“Co-sleeping can really help because they tend to settle when near you and then everyone can get some sleep. Also works a treat if you’re breastfeeding.” – Emma, Emmareed

“I second co-sleeping, keeping activities up during the day and minimising other stresses in your life. Don’t take on too much or expect too much of yourself.” – Jenny, Midwifeandlife

“If you can try to call on family and friends. Even if someone can take the pressure off household chores or even better is willing to watch your bambino overnight. Just a two-hour kip will make you feel like a new woman!” – Becky, Mommyandrory

“Taking them to or organising activities where you don’t have to be too active yourself. I found just meeting up with other mummies perfect at this time as there were other eyes to also watch the kids and I could take my mind off my lack of sleep” – Victoria, Thegrowingmum

“Never heard of it but as in all parenting and life challenges would advise that you say out loud and when that is too challenging write down exactly what you need from the people in your life”. – Kate, Kateonthinice


Were still currently battling with the regression. It’s definitely not one of those moments in parenthood that we’ll look back on and say we enjoyed it. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, she will get used to her new routine and all will be well.

Do you have any tips for surviving the 4-month sleep regression?

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