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4 month progression

The 4 month regression is the first of many progressive developmental “leaps” that your child will go through.

Some people call it the 4 month regression but there is nothing regressive about your little love progressing in their developmental skills, all of which can affect their sleep!

Why does this regression happen?

Even those who were fantastic sleepers are now catnapping and waking more frequently during the night. But why? Around 16 weeks old your babys circadian rhythm (their body clock) has become matured and they are now stirring between each sleep cycle. If they have been using any sort of association to get to sleep (e.g. feeding, rocking, dummy, patting) they will be looking for that association to fall back to sleep between cycles. All babies go through this developmental change and for most it can have quite a significant impact on their sleep.

What does the 4 month regression look like?

This regression is usually fairly obvious. Your baby (aged between 12 weeks and 5 months old) may have started showing some of the following signs:

  • They suddenly start to wake after 45 minutes during their day naps

  • They wake two hourly overnight

  • They wake within the first two hours of going to bed in the evening

"Some people call it the 4 month regression but there is nothing regressive about your little love progressing in their developmental skills".

So how can you help your little love through this stage?

As a parent you want to help, support and understand your child’s needs. The 4 month regression will likely be your first opportunity to “educate” your child.

  • Teach and support your baby to self soothe and re-settle between sleep cycles. If you are currently assisting them to sleep by feeding, rocking, patting, driving etc they will look for this sleep association to fall to sleep because that’s all they know!

  • Be consistent in calm when teaching your baby how to self soothe using a settling method. You are teaching your baby a new skill; it can be frustrating and challenging but keeping calm and consistent will teach your little love a skill they will have for life.

  • Spend time resettling your baby if they wake early from a sleep and they aren’t due a feed. Getting them up and out of bed will only reinforce a shorter nap. Focus on one nap at home, in their bassinet, and use your assisted naps for the other sleeps so you can both get some fresh air, take a walk and get some zzzz onboard for your little one.

  • If your baby is waking numerous times overnight and is not due a feed check that they haven’t woken due to illness, pain, a wet or soiled nappy or a change in their sleep environment (room temp too hot, or the white noise machine turned off!). If you can rule these all out then I recommend attempting to resettle your baby rather than feeding them at each wake.

Hang in there!

Each regression will feel like it lasts an eternity. It will pass! Keep consistent in supporting your baby to self settle and re-settle. It takes 3-4 weeks to make a change and create a new “normal” but with consistency you should see some positive sleep changes quick smart and this regression will pass with a new skill learned. Be kind to yourself – you’re doing the best you can do!

If you need any additional information or support please feel free to contact me at to book in a FREE 15 minute phone consultation to talk about what is happening for your baby and how we help.

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