4 month old babies sometimes suddenly stop sleeping at night and napping during the day. This can be concerning and most parents want to understand why. In today’s article, I share the 4 most common reasons your 4 month old is not sleeping at night or napping during the day. This is based on my 15+ years as a baby sleep consultant.
1. Schedule Issue
One of the most critical pieces of the puzzle to getting your baby to sleep through the night and take long naps is to have the proper schedule. I can’t tell you how many clients I have worked with over the years who need a more personalized schedule.
At 4 months old, your baby needs 11-12 hours of sleep at night and 3-4 hours during the day. Their wake windows are likely just 1-2 hours long and keeping them awake too long will often backfire. Ensure you have an appropriate 4 month old baby schedule with sleep and feedings and appropriate wake windows to set up your baby for success.
2. Developmental Milestones and the 4 Month Sleep Regression
4 month old babies are often learning new skills such as rolling over, how to move their bodies better, and other wonderful things. You may have learned about the “Wonder Weeks” which are predictable time periods when babies go through developmental leaps. These can often cause sleep disruptions.
Consequently, at 4 months old, babies change how they sleep permanently which has earned the term 4 month sleep regression. If your baby is going through this regression, they are likely waking up every 1 to 3 hours at night and taking short 30-minute naps. This marks a permanent change to how they sleep so you will likely need to be proactive in solving your child’s sleep problems. If your baby developed early, they might have gone through the 3 month sleep regression.
It’s a common fear among parents that their baby is hungry. So, if this worries you, you’re not alone! One thing to keep in mind is that 4 month olds are becoming more mobile while still growing at a rapid pace, so their feeding needs may increase around this time. Maybe your baby used to drink 5 oz in one bottle and now they need 6-7 oz. If we haven’t yet picked up on that, a baby who was sleeping through the night may begin to wake up at night. Since babies don’t start solids until 6 months old, on average, it’s possible you’ll need to increase milk intake during the day. Be sure to learn more about how many night feedings by age so you can have realistic expectations.
4. Need to Be Unswaddled
The final reason your baby might be waking at night or taking short naps is that it’s time to unswaddle them. Many babies this age are starting to fight the swaddle and need a way to learn to self-soothe using their hands. Most babies sleep better when they are swaddled but at 4 months old, most babies are approaching the age when it’s time to stop swaddling.
Once you stop swaddling your 4 month old, it’s time to transition to a great sleep sack!
I hope this post has helped you learn more about your 4 month old baby and establish healthy sleep patterns and habits. If you need any help, you know where to turn!