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4 month old's sleep has totally regressed - Advice?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi,

My four month old daughter co-sleeps with us (and always has.) From about 1 month, she would have a 4-hour stretch of sleep, then 3 hours, then another 3, then 2. She's in bed from approximately 7:00 p.m. - 7:00 a.m. and is exclusively breastfed. Her 4 hour stretch had been getting longer and longer and was often 5 or 6 hours.

About a month ago she started only sleeping 2 hours for the first stretch and wakes up every 1-2 hours after that. Some nights she's up every 50 minutes or less. I'm REALLY tired. I nurse on demand.

I've tried sidecarring the crib to see if she didn't like cosleeping (made no difference), tried swaddling and no swaddling (no difference)....

Any idea what's going on? Is this just a phase? Please tell me it will get better! I'm so, so tired.

Stacy:
post #2 of 22
I've heard/read that 4 mos and 9 mos are very typical times for sleep regression. My DD's sleep sure changed at 4 mos. Now she's 9 mos and things are still crappy. I guess we're still on the 4 mos sleep regression. We have tried a lot of stuff and have not yet found what really works. If you don't already have a pretty regular bedtime routine, I would start w/ that. It at least helps us in the getting her to fall asleep department, well, usually it does. We also had to do some playing around w/ bedtimes to see what helped. You could also try letting your DP deal w/ a few of the night wakings instead of you nursing her. Personally, I think she may be a little too young for that, though. To be honest, most nights for us are still anybody's guess. We really never know what we're going to get from one night to the next. We may have 4 nights w/ hardly any night wakings, followed by 4 nights of waking every 2 hours. I know that's not very encouraging, and probably not what you want to hear. I just find that when I just surrender to it and accept our sleeping situation for what it is (sometimes it's hard to do), then things just don't feel quite so awful.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks earthgirl! We do have a bedtime routine. It's not much but I've been doing it since she was one month old. (Change into jammies, say good night to cats, swaddle and sing a lullaby over and over.) I've tried getting her to go to sleep later but she's just too exhausted. She's often in bed at 6:00 because she's just melting down.

I guess I'll have to just try to accept it and know it won't last forever. I'm just panicked because I'm going back to graduate school and work and won't be able to nap with her during the day when I'm exhausted.
post #4 of 22
i've read a lot about the "4 month wakeful phase." i think there's stuff on kellymom about it, but it basically has to do, in part, with the fact that babies become really distractable at this age and don't nurse as well during the day--so they are making up for missing calories at night. there's also the possibility of teething beginning about now, as well as the fact that babies are starting to meet major developmental milestones like rolling over...

my DD is 3.5 months old and experiencing sleep regression, too. and just like you, i am starting back to school very soon. great timing!! :

basically, she has gone from sleeping at LEAST 5-6 hours (sometimes as much as 9) at the beginning of the night to sometimes only 3-4. worse than that (because i don't really mind a few night feedings--she eats so fast now), she is waking very frequently from 4 until she gets up for the day, seemingly not really hungry, just very wiggly, craning her head around (she tummy sleeps), rocking, and trying to roll over. so i think for her it's a rolling over "practicing" thing. and since she's not really hungry, nursing doesn't always work to get her back to sleep, so like this morning she was awake from 4 to 5:30...

i don't think there's much we can do but just hope it ends soon!! hugs, mama. i know it is rough!
post #5 of 22
Around that time (a month and a half ago!) DS switched his pattern a bit to a short (45 min.) nap around 5 pm, then in bed between 7:30 and 8:30. He had been going to bed around 6 before that.
post #6 of 22
Ditto the 4 month regression. The patterns you described showed up in my DS when he was a little more than 4 months. He is now 5 months and a few days and he's getting his routine back, but every night is a "wonder what'll happen!" guessing game. We just kept up his bedtime routine.

We did sidecar him because he's so much more wriggly now. We all get better sleep like that so I figured it would be a good time for the transition, since he was already transitioning to another phase. It made a smooth bed-to-sidecar shift with no issues on his part, never once cried.
post #7 of 22


Perfectly normal.

-Angela
post #8 of 22
I have always found that teething can disrupt my babies' sleep patterns. My babies slept through the night until about four to six months. I too, wandered what happened to my perfect sleeper. But shortly after, teeth appeared. If that is the case for your baby, chamomile does wonders. But after reading other comments, the wakefulness may be caused by a growth spurt or change in awareness.
post #9 of 22
Yes, the same thing happened w/ my dd, too. She was a great sleeper until 4 months, then started waking up often & randomly. That was also coincidentally the time I went back to work, so that may have contributed. 9-10 months old was the worst, she was waking EVERY.HOUR. : I didn't know if I was coming or going!! We just stuck to her bedtime routine, moved her bedtime up (to 7-7:30), and persevered. I did start letting her "whine it out" (not crying) - that's when she was just making a little grumbly noise, kind of like she was half asleep, but a bit unsettled. If I went in, she woke up and would then *really* start screaming. However, if I listened and waited, she often would put herself back to sleep (which was a big milestone for us). If she did start crying, however, I still went in and got her to comfort her. Good luck - lack of sleep is TOUGH!
post #10 of 22
Yesterday was my babe's 4 month bday and we have noticed in the past couple weeks a major shift in her sleeping. She is still getting a 5 hour stretch...at least i think...i don't keep a clock near me at night. But, she doesn't go to sleep at night until 9ish ( oh, we have tried earlier, and it's just a battle). But, she wakes up so early 4:30- 5ish and just eats on and off until she's making so much noise that we finally get out of bed at 6-6:30. She is definitely teething and I have noticed it's much harder to get her to focus while she is eating during the day. I'm not complaining about what my baby needs, it just really annoys me that so many mothers lie about their babies sleeping through the night in their cribs by themselves...i just don't buy it.
post #11 of 22
I have a nine month old going through the same thing. She also was just starting to sleep well aroung the 4 month mark and had even slept an entire night without waking! Those days seem to be long gone though. She has 4 teeth now so has basically been teething since then. Her sleep is extremely unpredictable but i do find that she sleeps poorly when she has not had a BM that day. She gave us a good night last night with 2-3 hours of sleep at a time. My husband and I have decided to keep taking it a night at a time and to remember that this too shall pass! Sometimes, i am even saddened by that fact, knowing that she is changing so quickly.
post #12 of 22
PAK

DD was never a great sleeper (8.5 mos now) but up until 4 months, we'd have usually at least one 3-4 hr stretch a night, occasionally 5 hrs. At four months, her sleep WENT TO SH*T--she was up every 90 minutes overnight for essentially 6 weeks. I work FT outside the home so this SUCKED so badly! Wish I could say "and then, magically things got better!" but... :

What happened is the worst-of-the-worst stopped. Went back to about every 2 hrs, occasionally 3 hrs. I can tell you that 3 hrs is logarithmically better than every 2 hrs! And now she bounces in and out of crappy sleep and super crappy sleep. We're in a crap sleep phase right now--every 60-80 minutes overnight. Ugh. I suppose this is the 9 month sleep regression!

We co-sleep in a sidecarred crib too!
post #13 of 22
So glad to know I'm not alone in this one! My 4 1/2 month old had been sleeping 4-6 hours at a stretch and I used to comment on what a good sleeper he was. For the past few weeks he has been up every 1-2 hours, and I have been trying so hard to figure out what changed! I had never heard of a four month sleep regression. I'm glad to know that this might just be normal for him (although it doesn't make me any less tired!) I have just learned to master the art of sleeping while nursing in an effort to cope with it.
post #14 of 22
Totally normal.

I find teething at that age is what does it.

My now 5 year old was our most restless sleeper. I didn't get more than 2 hours of sleep in a row at night. He slept right next to me, but when he'd get restless or latch on, I'd wake up. Now he goes to sleep on his own, wants his own bed and sleeps 12 hours a night. Some mornings I have to wake him! It pains me to wake him......since it seems like it was only yesterday I was begging him to sleep.

So, this too shall pass. I promise.
post #15 of 22
OMG I thought it was just us!
post #16 of 22
post #17 of 22
I just want to chime in that my 5 month old twins are doing the same thing. About a month ago, their sleep pattern went to hell in a handbasket. We have coslept from the start with wakings every 2 - 2.5 hrs. That was fine, since they literally slept on me and I would just put them back on the breast. We swaddled as well. Then there came a time when they would not allow us to swaddle and also began teething. I also couldn't handle sleeping propped in bed anymore with everyone on me and being unable to move. So...moving them beside me in the bed became a struggle every night with one or both babes waking up right away or within an hour or so. Now, I am ashamed to say that my girls sleep most of the night in a swing, though that doesn't always work, and wake every 2-3 hours in there. We used to have a 2 - 3hr nap during the day, but that has also disappeared. These girls just won't sleep....I am still trying to figure out why these girls will stay awake for up to 7 hours in a row during the day.....agh.
post #18 of 22
Both my son (now3 years) and my daughter (6 months) have done the 4 month wakefullnes. It's hard but it does pass. I believe it's a mixture of hightened awareness (especially if not vaccinated) and excitement about their ability to move! My daughter was 5 months when she began to crawl!! Now, a month later, she's all over the place and has begun to talk (mama and baba) . She can be awake for 2 hours at night just talking and crawling all over her crib (we side car aswell). It's frustrating, but remember that when they are 2 or so, you'll look back and miss those moments at night. I know I did with my son anyway. I love co-sleeping but really think that in situations like this, a side car system is better for all. Now I'm planning to nove her into her brother's room whenever she sleeps better. Any thoughts on that?
Good luck and sleep tight babies!
post #19 of 22
All sorts of things can occur that cause a baby/child to sleep less than usual: illness, teething, emotions, growth, changes, etc. This too shall pass! A highly recommended book is "The No Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley (spelling?). She's written another book as well geared more towards toddlers, although I can't remember what that one is called.
post #20 of 22
I'm sure this has been said, but I'll just add that it is very normal.
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Baby › Co-sleeping and the Family Bed › 4 month old's sleep has totally regressed - Advice?