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How to Survive the Four-Month Sleep Regression

Does this sound familiar? Baby is well on her way to sleeping through the night until, boom… she turns four months old, and all hell breaks loose. All of the sudden, she takes shorter naps and wakes up more frequently at night. She grows more and more irritable, and settling her to sleep has been a lot more difficult. These, mama, are all signs that your little one is going through the four-month sleep regression.

Though all babies experience multiple sleep setbacks in their first two years, your four-month-old's wakefulness can feel especially cruel and can give you the impression that something is wrong. But changes in baby’s sleep patterns are actually very normal. Around 16 weeks, your baby’s sleep cycles mature. She starts cycling through light and deep sleep like an adult and goes through a huge developmental and physical growth spurt. She gets hungrier and starts to practice rolling. Simultaneously, she's more aware of her surroundings and wants to engage with the world around her, which can result in a serious case of FOMO at nap time.

Unfortunately, there’s no way around it: this regression is hard, and baby's new sleep patterns are here to stay. But not to worry, there are things you can do to adapt to the new reality and get your baby (and you) back on track. Here are 6 tried-and-tested hacks to get you through the four-month sleep regression.

1. Transition your baby to an age-appropriate nap schedule. Newborns take loads of naps, often varying in quantity and quality. Around 16 weeks, however, you want to help your baby organize her sleep around a three-nap schedule: morning, mid-day and a late afternoon catnap that ends by 5pm. Depending on whether you like to plan ahead or live more spontaneously, a more organized nap schedule can be a godsend or a bummer -- but it’s key to your baby’s sleep success moving forward.

2. Prioritize naps at home. Quality daytime sleep equals to more nighttime sleep. Newborns can nap anywhere, but babies need a dark, quiet and consistent sleep environment in order to get the restorative reboot they need. If your baby has been doing most of her naps in the stroller or baby carrier, it’s time to decrease the frequency of your nap-time outings. If you start to feel stir crazy, head out for fresh air during the late afternoon catnap.

3. Make bedtime responsive to daytime sleep. An overtired baby at bedtime almost guarantees lots of overnight wakings. If yours hasn’t napped well during the day and you’re debating a fourth 4:30-5pm catnap, consider instead putting her to bed early instead.

4. Create a solid sleep routine. Babies thrive on consistency, so create a sleep time routine to provide cues that it’s time to wind down. At this age, aim for a short (5-10 minute) routine before each nap and bedtime that involves a diaper change, putting into his swaddle/sleep sack, and a few books or songs. You can incorporate a feed into the routine, just do it at the beginning so she doesn’t associate eating with sleeping.

5. Provide lots of extra cuddles during the day. She may be more clingy during this regression -- there’s a lot going on in her brain! Don’t hesitate to be more attentive during her awake hours. Shower her with kisses and reassure her that you’re there for her, even if you’re so tired you can’t see straight.

6. Play the long game. Many babies come out of the 4-month regression completely dependent on rocking/nursing to sleep or being held for naps. (I’m not judging--sometimes you’ll do anything for some ZZZs). If your sleep-adled brain can handle it, try to get through this period without adding to the list of sleep associations your baby already has. Instead, focus on adjusting her schedule and creating positive sleep associations like the sleep routine.

Bonus tip to mamas whose babes haven’t yet hit the 4-month regression: now is a great time to practice good sleep habits with your newborn. For example, give her the opportunity to try falling asleep on her own in a crib, or move her feeding a bit earlier in the bedtime routine. Don’t aim for the stars; even if you take some baby steps towards independent sleep, you’re setting yourself up for an easier time when you hit 16 weeks.

Hadley Seward is a certified sleep consultant and founder of Bonne Nuit Baby. Based in France and New York City, she works with exhausted parents around the world to get their kids’ sleep back on track. Meet her here + follow her adventures at @hadleyinfrance.

Photography by Lauren Crew for Well Rounded.

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.

Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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