Don’t let this smiley babe fool you! The four month sleep regression hit us early and hard this third time around. I guess that’s the price we pay for having escaped it altogether last time with our middle little!
I’m not going to complain because we’ve been blessed with “unicorn” babies. All three of our boys slept through the night pretty early on at around 11/12 weeks! I always joke around with our husband that the sleeps gods must know just how much we both love (and need) our sleep to be functional, happy humans. This third time around has been easy for me especially. Aside from my own self-induced lack of sleep, B is super flexible and laid-back. He only cries if he’s hungry and pretty much smiles most of the day. I think the four month sleep regression hit me harder because the last few weeks of good sleep got me into a bad habit of staying up late to work after B’s bedtime.
While he was sleeping 8pm-7pm for a few weeks, the last two weeks have been a complete guessing game. Some nights he’ll sleep soundly and other nights he’ll be up three to four times. Sometimes he’ll wake up and not be able to settle until an hour or two later. I’m pretty much surviving these days on lots of coffee!
One of my favorite baby products is the Ergobaby™ Swaddler. None of our babies were fans of being swaddled. But, both my oldest and youngest sons needed it through the four month sleep regression. The Ergobaby™ Swaddler’s innovative design makes it easy to swaddle correctly for a great fit every time. This is the magic answer for moms like me who never learned how to swaddle babies correctly! Between three kids, I’ve tried every type of swaddle trick to no avail. I can never get it tight it enough to last all night. Some things can’t be taught or learned, even after three babes! I love that the Ergobaby™ Swaddler is ergonomic and “escape proof,” but leaves B comfortable to sleep through the night. The swaddle secures with premium velcro and is easily adjustable. I love the light-weight fabric that is an areated cotton-poly blend to keep him cool during these hot summer to fall days.
So I’m not going to sit here and tell you that there’s a magic solution to fight the 4 month sleep regression. It’s a developmental stage that most babies go through. Obviously as with most things parenting you just need to wait it out. But, as a third time mom in the thick of it right now, here are a few of my tips for surviving this treacherous sleep deprivation stage:
Go to bed early: This is my number one fail. Even though the sleep regression is real, the one thing that has stayed consistent is his bedtime. B hasn’t changed falling asleep for the night at 8pm. (There are some nights that it ends up being 9pm before he falls into a deep sleep.) But, my mistake has been not putting myself to bed right after he goes down for the night. While I’m a firm believer in enjoying night time solo or with my husband, it’s a sacrifice that’s worth making for the sake of rest during this phase. Seriously, go to bed when the baby does, fuel up on the early night sleep! It’s usually their longest stretch even through the four month sleep regression.
Don’t go to the baby right away: I remember when I was a first time mom getting up any time I heard the baby make a noise. I didn’t even give him a chance to settle down before I added to his wakefulness in the middle of the night. More times than not, B can get himself settled back to sleep. And I’m not talking about crying it out or any other formal sleep training method. When you hear the baby, just give it a minute or two. The baby just might surprise you and fall back asleep.
Tag team with your partner: We try our best to switch off night duty now, just like we did during the newborn weeks. I simply just cannot get up sometimes and vice versa. The weight of sleep depravity on our bodies is real. Listen to your body. And take a night off if you can. Even if you get in one good, full sleep cycle in, I guarantee you’ll feel more rested.
Try different products: I think I’ve tried every single swaddle blanket out there with my oldest. This time I went straight for the easiest to use swaddler because I simply cannot figure out how to swaddle a regular blanket. The other velcro swaddles I used with A just didn’t keep him wrapped up. But, the Ergobaby™ Swaddler has arm pockets that help keep baby B swaddled while keeping him snug, but comfortable.
Don’t overthink it: This sounds so simple and basic. But, seriously, relax and don’t overthink it. There were many sleepless nights when I couldn’t fall asleep just because I would try to play the guessing game of “will he sleep or won’t he”. I know it’s hard not to think this way when you’re in the thick of sleep depravity. But, if you’re anything like me, the worry and anxiety only adds to the lack of sleep and creates added stress to the seemingly never-ending cycles of short sleep.
Stick to your routine: Through this phase and all of the other regressions to come, the one thing that’s worked for us is to keep up the consistency of our bedtime routine. It’s not only good for our babies, but it’s good for us as parents, too. Bath time, stories with big brothers, prayers, nursing session, sound machine, and lights out! These are all of the steps in our routine that has “worked” for all three unicorn babes.
Drink lots of coffee: You know my love for coffee runs deep. Whatever is your fuel of choice, drink it, drink lots of it and don’t feel guilty. We are in pure survival mode! Do you and be proud. No one else is waking up with your baby. So don’t mind their comments or advice. (Myself included!)
And last, but not least, remind yourself that this is hopefully just another phase. Do what I do and chant in your mind, “THIS TOO SHALL PASS.” Because as long as these nights seem, the years are so, so very short.
4 Month Sleep Regression: Tips From A Third Time Mom