Ah, the 4 month sleep regression...unlike, say, your baby’s first solid food or her first steps, the 4 month sleep regression isn’t a milestone that many parents typically look forward to. Whether you’re currently in the midst of the madness or just anticipating what might be ahead, odds are you have some questions—and some worries—about this much talked-about sleep (or lack thereof) phase.
But guess what, mama? The news is good! According to experts, sleep regressions aren’t really a thing; they’re more like transitions. And they’re actually a good thing—they mean your baby is growing, changing, developing, + finding new ways to interact with the world around them.
But I know what you’re thinking—ok but I’m reaaaally exhausted so please stop telling me about how the 4 month sleep regression isn’t a thing and please tell me what I can DO about it. Got it, mama; we hear you loud and clear ?.
We’ve got a plan and the products you need to battle the beast that is the 4 month sleep regression. Let’s dive right in.
Create an ideal sleeping environment
One of the most important things you can do for your little one during this time of transition is to create an environment that encourages sleep. Here’s how:
1. Use a sound machine
White noise is a sound that calms and comforts most babies. It not only mimics the sound of blood flow in utero—a noise that your baby had become very accustomed to over nine months—but it also helps to block out any household or outdoor noises that may be distracting baby from sleep.
The Dohm is far and away our favorite white noise machine for a few key reasons. Unlike lots of sound machines that use a digital recording, the Dohm has a built-in fan that creates the sound of rushing air, essentially creating “all natural” white noise without the hassle of a fan.
It features two speeds, and easily twists to completely customize the tone and volume of the white noise you’re creating. Just be sure to keep it a safe distance from baby’s developing ears and keep the volume at a sensible level.
2+ 3. Keep it dark
You may love waking up to gentle sunlight streaming through your windows every morning, but if you want your baby asleep before the sun goes down and awake after it comes up, blackout shades are here to save the day. Sometimes even the smallest sliver of light will throw off baby’s sleeping and waking patterns.
To ensure the longest, most consistent stretches of sleep, we swear by blackout shades. If you’re not yet sold on the idea and want to give it a test run before committing, these temporary room darkening shades are the perfect option.
Simply cut to size and use the built-in adhesive to install. They may not look the prettiest, but they’ll get the job done!
And when you’re ready to commit, we ?these on trend buffalo check curtains. They come in three great colors to add just the right amount of personality to any nursery, and do a great job of blocking the light.
Establish a bedtime routine
Children love routines—and they thrive on them. Bedtime is one of the most important routines of all. Creating a consistent, predictable bedtime routine can help your little develop healthy sleep habits and sleep better + longer. (Um, yes please.) Here’s what you need to make it happen:
4. Make bath time=calm time
A bath is a great way to kick off a bedtime routine for your little one, and making it as relaxing as possible is the perfect precursor to ease baby into sleep. California Baby is one of our favorite safe + natural baby brands.
This calming shampoo is infused with an essential oil blend to soothe with the scent of lavender. It’s sulfate-free, phthalate-free, paraben-free, dye-free and has no fragrance added, so it’s perfect for sensitive new skin.
5. Try a massage
Infant massage has been proven to help baby relax and sleep, according to studies. Fight the 4-month sleep regression one baby back rub at a time by adding a little massage time to your bedtime routine.
This hypoallergenic, non-greasy lotion is great for all skin types and is made of lavender essential oil, chamomile, calendula and aloe, as well as organic olive and shea oil. It’s perfect for a post-bath massage and will leave baby’s skin soft and moisturized.
6. Keep baby comfy
Even as an adult, you know it can be tough to get a good night’s sleep if you’re too hot, too cold, or wearing something uncomfortable. To make sure your baby stays comfy throughout the night, we love this footie from one of our favorite baby basic brands, Primary.
The 100% cotton is super soft, the fit is snug-but-not-tight, the zipper means easy on and off for diaper changes, and the color selection is spot on. What’s not to love?
7. Keep baby snug
If your baby is not yet rolling, then a safe, snug swaddle in your 4-month sleep regression arsenal is a must. Swaddles make baby feel safe + secure, and stop the startle reflex, which is a big cause of night wakings in infants.
We’ve tested a lot of swaddles in our day, and recently landed on the SleePea as our absolute fave. It has so many features to love, but first and most importantly—it’s super easy to use while still being snug and secure.
It also features quiet velcro so baby won’t wake during diaper changes, a dual zipper, breathable material, and is hip safe to give plenty of room for baby’s joints.
8. Make some magic
If swaddling isn’t doing the trick but baby still needs a little help with her startle reflex, the Magic Sleepsuit may be worth a try. It’s a swaddle transition product that provides your little one with a cozy, secure feeling and also helps to lessen the startle reflex. (We’ll add that it also makes your little one look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, another fun bonus.)
It’s important to note that it’s designed for BACK SLEEPING ONLY, so once your little one becomes a proficient roller, it’s time to ditch it. It’s also fairly heavy + warm, so we recommend dressing your little one in short sleeve, lightweight clothing underneath.
9. Try a wearable blanket
Once baby is rolling independently and it’s no longer safe to swaddle, incorporating a sleep sack into your little one’s bedtime routine is one more way to signal that it’s time for sleep, not play. There are so many sleep sacks on the market, but one of our favorites is this basic option from Halo.
Available in a huge range of sizes and colors, these sleep sacks are affordable, wash and wear well, come in fleece and cotton options, and offer the perfect combo of warmth + freedom of motion. They’re the perfect solution for keeping baby warm throughout the night until it’s safe to use loose blankets.
Stimulate—but don’t over stimulate
Although you’re probably already seeing patterns start to emerge, four months is the perfect time to start thinking about a schedule for your little one. Stimulating—but not over stimulating—baby during the day and managing awake time by encouraging frequent naps can all contribute to night sleep.
We love simple, sensory-stimulating toys and products during this time.
10. Encourage play time
The simple, beautiful play gym will catch baby’s eye—and yours—and is the perfect way to stimulate your little one’s senses without too many bells and whistles. This play gym is stylish + modern, crafted from natural wood, and height adjustable so it grows along with baby.
The hanging toys detach and make perfect on-the-go companions, and the hardwood teethers are made from untreated wood and finished with vegetable seed wax so they’re completely safe for chomping.
11. Build skills
This classic baby favorite is just as much fun to play with as it is to say! The Skwish is a rattle + teether all in one. Babies will love to practice clutching and grasping, all important in developing gross motor skills, with this easy-to-grab wooden toy. And the elastic ties means it always returns to its original shape, even after hours of play.
Give yourself a break
We won’t lie, mama—the 4 month sleep regression can be tough. Sometimes you just need a safe place to put baby so you sit down, collect yourself, and take a quick break!
12. Take a break
Give your arms a (much-needed) rest while baby bounces away. We ? this bouncer for its minimalist design, amazing portability—it folds completely flat and weighs only 5 lbs—and four adjustable positions. And as your kiddo ages, it turns into a seat!
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