Columbus, OH -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/21/2014 -- Sleep regressions remain one of the biggest sleep challenges that parents of babies and toddlers face. And of all the sleep regressions that babies and toddlers experience, the 4 month sleep regression is among the toughest to handle.
Why? As Nicole Johnson, president of The Baby Sleep Site®, explains, it’s because the 4 month sleep regression marks a permanent change in a baby’s sleeping patterns. In the first few months after birth, says Johnson, babies have relatively short sleep cycles - they tend to fall asleep quickly, and sink very quickly into deep sleep. This is the main reason why newborns and very young babies tend to sleep anywhere, and sleep through anything.
However, these sleep patterns are short-lived, says Johnson - around 4 months of age, as a baby’s brain matures, she begins to develop more ‘grown up’ sleep patterns, and her sleep cycles tend to look more like an adult’s. Starting at about 4 months, a baby will take longer to fall asleep - and when she does fall asleep, she will cycle in and out of light sleep and deep sleep. During those period of light sleep, she is more likely to wake up and cry. This is a permanent change to sleeping patterns, emphasizes Johnson; once a baby’s brain has developed to the point where her sleep cycles have matured, there is no going back!
But the 4 month sleep regression doesn’t have to translate into permanent exhaustion for the whole family, says Johnson - there are ways mom and dad can cope, and can encourage longer stretches of sleep for baby. Those include:
-Allowing baby to sleep for short (supervised) stretches in an infant swing.
-Swaddling baby for sleep.
-Encouraging baby to use a pacifier for comfort.
-Offering baby a “dream feed”, in which parents feed baby right before going to sleep themselves, which can help baby sleep longer and can provide more sleep for mom and dad.
These are all good, short-term coping solutions for the 4 month sleep regression. However, Johnson cautions that none of these will actually solve the problem of night wakings and short naps that the 4 month sleep regression causes. “To do that,” explains Johnson, “you need to focus on helping your baby learn to fall asleep more independently, so that the way she associates falling asleep does not always need to involve you.” This is key, says Johnson. Once your baby can fall asleep on her own, she will be well on her way to sleeping through the night, and to developing a more predictable daytime nap schedule.
How can parents teach their babies to fall asleep without help? That process (called sleep coaching, or sleep training) can be daunting, and many parents find that they don’t even know where to begin, let alone how to proceed! That’s where The Baby Sleep Site® comes in. As Johnson explains, “The Baby Sleep Site was founded with the express intention of helping parents around the world solve their babies sleep challenges. We work alongside parents to help them teach their babies and toddlers how to fall asleep without help, and we tailor our recommendations and strategies so that they fit each family’s unique situation.”
For more information about the 4 month sleep regression, see the following Baby Sleep Site® resources:
The 4 Month Sleep Regression Explained
The 4 Month Sleep Regression: What It Is and How To Fix It
For more information about how to help babies and toddlers sleep well, visit:
Read The Baby Sleep Site®’s special Family Features, and learn how Gerry was able to help her daughter Yvette transition from waking every two hours to sleeping through the night and taking long naps.
About Nicole Johnson
Nicole Johnson is the President of The Baby Sleep Site®, which was founded in 2008. She began her journey to help moms cope with their babies’ sleep schedule by leading an internet-based message board. Her goal was for new parents to overcome their own sleeping challenges much quicker than she had. Following that, she created The Baby Sleep Site® (www.babysleepsite.com) and expanded her offerings to include e-books, articles, a blog, and customized sleep consulting. The feedback from around the world has been incredible. The Baby Sleep Site® enjoys almost 500,000 visitors per month and has personally helped almost 13,000 families overcome their babies’ sleep challenges. Nicole and her team offer professional, sound support that works.
Nicole Johnson is available for interviews by phone, email and in-person. She can also offer supplementary content on various parenting topics.