Sleep for our baby settled into a pattern at about 4 weeks, she slept from 8pm until 3am or 4am, have a quick feed and then would go back down until about 8am. We could pretty much guarantee that she would always settle and wake at those times. Then the 4-month sleep regression hit at 15 weeks and has lasted though to now, 24 weeks.
I have read so many books, forums, and searched Google endlessly about the 4-month sleep regression and found that it is caused by their sleep changing from baby sleep to adult sleep. Sleep runs in cycles, and at end of each sleep cycle she was waking and being unable to get back to sleep, without settling back with a feed. Some nights this was as much as every hour or so, often somewhere between 6 -8 times a night…..tired me!
This week as she nears six months things need to change! I have been looking closely at her routine and putting some changes in place to hopefully achieve two things 1) Stop me feeding her to sleep and 2) Settle herself at the end of the each sleep cycle.
-Bath at about 7pm/7.30pm
-Put on PJs and place in gro-bag
-Feed to fall asleep
-Place in cot
This week I have made some small changes that mean she is put in her cot awake:
-Bath at about 7pm/7.30pm
-Massage in dimly lit room
-Put on PJs
-Place in gro-bag
-Place in cot awake
-Followed by patting and shushing until she falls asleep
This seems like a major change from placing in her cot asleep to placing in her cot awake. But what I have learnt from the books and forums is that they need to learn how to settle themselves when they wake at the end of the sleep cycle which will hopefully mean less frequent wakings in the night. It also means that I am no longer feeding her to sleep, which is a major step for us.
Once she’s in the cot I have to stay in the room patting and shushing her until she falls asleep. Sometimes this has been met with crying or calming. My plan is to gradually back away from doing this, so that I can eventually leave the room with the knowledge that she will fall asleep by herself.
After 3 nights of doing this we are starting to see some progress with her sleeping for about 3 hours until the first wake up. This may only seem like a short time but she was only managing an hour before. Also I am no longer feeding her to sleep. Happy Days!
She is still waking fairly frequently in the early hours, requiring a feed to get her back to sleep. I plan to do the new routine for a couple of weeks, before tackling the frequent night wakings.
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday