At 4 months old, you might feel like you’ve got this sleeping thing nailed… or it might be a hot mess. And mama, we’re here to tell you it’s all normal.
While establishing a 4-month-old sleep schedule might be the goal, it’s still likely that every day might be a little (or a lot) different.
So what’s the best way to navigate a sleep schedule for 4-month-old babies? And what’s the deal with the 4-month sleep regression? Don’t worry, we’ve got the answers to your questions.
Keep reading for our top tips to establish a 4-month sleep schedule.
In this article 📝
- How to get a 4-month-old on a sleep schedule
- 4-month-old wake window
- How much sleep does a 4-month-old need?
- 4-month-old nap schedule
- What time should a 4-month-old go to bed?
- How long can a 4-month-old sleep at night?
- What are the signs of 4-month sleep regression?
How to get a 4-month-old on a sleep schedule
At 4 months old, your little peanut is still very young, so it’s up to you whether you want to start some kind of sleep training to help your little one nod off.
One way some moms might start introducing a more structured sleep schedule is to wake their baby at the same time every day, so you start your day with predictability.
This can help establish a morning routine, which may come in especially handy if you have older children to get to school or are heading back to work.
4-month-old wake window
Whether you decide on a strict wake-up time or not, 4-month-old sleep schedules tend to work off wake windows rather than specific times for bedtime or naps.
For most 4-month-old babies, the wake window is about 1.5-2 hours.
Noticing your baby’s early tired signs and keeping an eye on how long they’ve been awake can help you get them ready and into their crib for their next nap before they become overtired.
Tired signs will vary from baby to baby, but common ones will be getting fussier, staring into the distance and not maintaining eye contact, and rubbing their ears or eyes.
How much sleep does a 4-month-old need?
The average 4-month-old will need around 14 hours of sleep per 24 hours.
Commonly, this will be divided into 10-11 hours overnight, with three to four hours of naps during the day.
But remember, this is an average only, and it’s normal for babies to vary from these guidelines!
4-month-old nap schedule
The three to four hours of day sleep a 4-month-old requires is usually broken down into three or four naps per day.
It’s normal for your baby to need three naps one day but four the next, so remaining flexible will help you until they’re a bit older and their sleep is more predictable.
Naps at this age can vary anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. It might be a good idea to wake your baby if they have been napping for over two hours, so it doesn’t interfere with their night sleep.
What time should a 4-month-old go to bed?
Bedtimes will vary from day to day and from baby to baby, but you might expect a bedtime for a 4-month-old to be between six pm and eight pm.
Be aware of the awake time from the last nap of the day, and don’t be afraid to use an earlier bedtime to avoid overtiredness.
Although you may think that a longer awake window before bed might encourage your baby to sleep for a longer period overnight, it can have the opposite effect.
Overtired babies will often wake after the first cycle of their night sleep – around 45 minutes after you put them down – and it can be difficult to settle to sleep again at this time.
How long can a 4-month-old sleep at night?
Overnight sleep for a 4-month-old is usually about 10-11 hours, which will commonly be interrupted by one or two feeds (breast or bottle).
If your baby is gaining weight and feeding well throughout the day, there is no need to be concerned if your baby is sleeping through the night.
Just don’t brag about it too much!
What are the signs of 4-month sleep regression?
Uh oh. The two words no mama wants to hear are “sleep regression.” So what do we know about the one that commonly crops up around 4 months?
This one is all to do with your baby’s sleep patterns maturing, so rather than a regression, it’s actually a progression into their permanent sleeping ability.
It’s all to do with their circadian rhythms changing, and the fact that they are producing their own melatonin (sleep hormones) rather than relying on the hormone stores they inherited from you in utero.
While it all sounds great in theory, it can create some pretty difficult-to-deal-with short-term effects on their sleep patterns.
Babies going through the 4-month sleep regression (that can happen anytime between three to five months) will often:
- Have shorter naps throughout the day (30-45 mins).
- Wake frequently overnight.
- Be fussier or cry more upon waking from naps.
- Be more difficult to settle to sleep.
At this age, babies are more aware of the world around them, so if they rely on something to fall asleep initially at the start of a nap or bedtime, they will look for this same sleep association at every wake-up.
This may be a pacifier, being fed to sleep, or being rocked or held to sleep.
While it can be a difficult habit to break, if you want your little one to start being able to settle themselves back to sleep between sleep cycles to have longer naps and fewer overnight wakings, settling your baby to sleep in their crib or cot can help.
As always, there’s no right or wrong, so try not to judge yourself, or your baby, against others. And remember, if today has gone off the rails before lunchtime, it’s cool. Tomorrow is another day. You got this!
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