Baby Central

The 4 Month Sleep Regression – How Does it Happen?

Picture it with me: your baby is a mere 12 weeks and you are just amazed at well she is suddenly sleeping. You think to yourself, “Thank goodness, we are in the clear. I think I can deal with just one night feed a night. I feel so blessed and lucky”! Then, before you know it: BAM! Your baby is now waking 5-6 times a night with no warning that anything could be amiss! You have tried everything and cannot understand where your baby’s sleep took a wrong turn. Things were going so great.

Photo Apr 10, 9 00 06 PM

Ah, the 4-month sleep regression paints this same picture throughout many households. Just about the time you’ve acclimated to less sleep with a new baby, your little one throws quite the curveball and decides she can go the entire night without much sleep at all! While it may seem that way, it’s likely the result of your little one’s system attempting to make some major changes. Spun in a positive light: your baby is growing, and doing so appropriately. Before, baby’s sleep was just that – baby sleep. Now, your 4-month-old is more alert, with newfound hormones at play, plus is experiencing sleep cycling for the very first time. This means that your baby is waking approximately every 35-50 minutes, transitioning from deep sleep to light sleep, and back again all through the night.

Perhaps you have already noticed this if you find yourself reading this with heavy eyes. It’s true, at this stage most babies need a little more help to fall asleep initially and get back to snoozing than ever before. This can feel completely discouraging as a parent due to your tedious efforts in this department. After all, I’m sure you have been implementing much of the advice you’ve gathered from seasoned parents and have scoured one website after another searching for clues. Please know, the changes within your baby are a natural occurrence and this is all par for the course; this is not necessarily the result of anything you have or haven’t done. Sure, some babies make it out of the 4-month zone with sleep unscathed, but more often than not, this is a typical experience.

So, where do you go from here? First off, try to remain consistent with what’s worked in the past. Just because it didn’t work last night, doesn’t mean it won’t tomorrow. Additionally, attempt to place your baby down drowsy, yet not quite asleep. This is an excellent skill that is never too late to learn and aids your baby during the middle of the night wake-ups. If you try this and your child is having a particularly tough time, try it again another night. Comfort your baby how you see fit and know this regression shall pass in a few weeks.

A baby waking at night is common. But a baby waking all through the night may just need a little help from you to get back on track. If your baby continues to have challenges with sleep and is well into her fifth month, you may find yourself feeling stuck (not to mention exhausted). I recommend at this point to touch base with your baby’s provider to rule out anything medically that could be lurking (don’t panic – this could be anything from minor allergies to an ear infection). Once you have you cleared that checkpoint, 5-6 months is a wonderful age to begin working with a Certified Sleep Consultant to work on some lasting sleep foundations for your baby. And that mean’s more sleep for you too.

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Top 5 Travel Tips – Minimize the Sleep Impact for Your Baby or Toddler

Ahh – baby’s first vacation. These special trips are truly exciting as they’re loaded with “first times”. If planning ahead, there are a few handy things you can do to help your child adjust to their temporary stay! Believe it or not – returning back from travel is the number one reason that drives parents my way (recovering from illness and sleep regressions are tied for a close second).

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Once back home, sleep often falls apart, as baby (or toddler/child) are happy to be home, but not so happy to sleep alone! Little ones become quickly accustomed to the overnight cuddles, room sharing, and carefree schedule experienced on vacation. Who would want to give that up? I know I wouldn’t – it’s even tough for us adults to go back to the daily grind when our own vacay comes to a halt!

Whether you have an upcoming trip scheduled, or you’re seeking a plan for your sound return, check out these 5 sleep tips (great for all young children)!

1) Try to Duplicate the Room SETUP at Home

This seems simple at first glance, but things are rarely what they seem when it comes to sleep! First, let’s simplify: If you room share at home, try to room share on vacation. And, if you and your little one have separate bedrooms at home, try to have that same divide while away. Many times, we don’t have the extra funds or the capability to pull this off, but this is so often the driving force of major sleep disruption upon returning back home. Besides being away from home, it is a big teaser and a large adjustment to dangle this preference and then rip it away once vacation is complete. Children don’t think as logically as we do, and therefore won’t understand your intentions of only rooming together for a few nights. For this tip, keep in mind that 1 or 2 nights, isn’t as big of a deal as a 3+ night stay in terms of disrupting sleep patterns back home.

2) Mimic CONDITIONS from Child’s Sleep Space

Besides the room setup, it’s an excellent idea to bring along some familiarity to your getaway. Some examples include your child’s lovey or blanket (it applicable/old enough), and a sound machine. If they usually sleep with a white noise machine it can help add some consistency with their sleep, as well as drown out any foreign sounds the new place may hold! If you aren’t flying, throw in a dark blanket and some push pins that way you are prepared to tackle any window that needs a rapid treatment. The darker the better for naps and night sleep in a new setting. Too much light, in a new, exciting environment can lead to tons of stimulation during what should be, sleep sessions. Are you worried your tot may feel scared in this unfamiliar place? Then keep reading!

3) Try to Keep Your Little One’s Consistent SCHEDULE

Have FUN, yes! But, don’t have high expectations of your child to sleep well if naps are being skipped, shortened, or at irregular times. I think it is natural for your vacation schedule to deviate a bit from the norm – after all, that is what vacation is all about! But, if you aiming to curb sleep disruption, I would try to adhere to as much of your child’s schedule as you can. Maybe a nap won’t happen at the exact same time, in the crib or pack ‘n play…but it should still happen. Other things you can do to help promote sleep include instilling some wind-down time and implementing the same bedtime routine.

4) Let Your Child PLAY in Their Temporary Sleep Space

During the daytime hours, do your best to find a few minutes here and there for your little one to really play in their temporary bedroom. This will help your child feel comfortable and familiar with this unknown place. Sure, I know you want to get out there and sight-see! Therefore, find your opportune times and moments to help your child feel safe and secure in this space. Go for major laughs. Create a positive association quickly by pulling out everything from your bag of fun tricks! Ideas include: singing silly songs, interactive stories, or light tickles!

5) Get Right Back ON TRACK Once Returning Home

Whoops. So, things didn’t go as planned? You perhaps had no intention of room sharing, co-sleeping, or throwing your toddler’s schedule to the wind, but it happened. No worries – that is what parenting it all about! Lots of whoops, sighs, and picking up the pieces for next time (oh yeah, plus tons of joy, laughter, and high moments woven in between). Dust your shoulders off, because this tip is just for you. Whether your travels are a dream or a bust, upon returning home, get right back to your standard schedule. I am talking about NIGHT ONE.

What often occurs is that our response night one falls short; parents are plain tired and are trying to decide if they’re still in vacation-mode or not. I’ll help you here – you’re NOT. You’re home and you can help your baby or child understand that “this is how, when, and where we sleep at home”, by displaying the utmost consistency. Try to adhere to your ‘ole faithful schedule and implement all standard routines the first night back. If you don’t get back on the saddle, your child’s sleep can majorly regress on a new level. It may be a rough night for you to hush and pat your child when upset, but you can minimize that to just one night with some effort. Otherwise, one night can snowball into the next. And the next.

If you love to read, but also enjoy the occasion video blog, check out some more information on baby travel tips at Baby Sleep Central.

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Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Amy, Infant & Child Sleep Consultant

 

A day in the life of a [busy] Sleep Consultant. 🙂

Write Up by Finding Delight’s talented Beth Berger.

Finding delight.

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Amy’s story. Her clients are the teeniest of tiniest and she helps parents regain the sanity that comes with a good night of sleep. She has a strong background in maternal and child wellness and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Clinical Therapy. Let’s check out her hustle!

“An Infant & Child Sleep Consultant, what in the heck is that?” Well, for starters, that’s me, Amy Douglas of Baby Sleep Central. I get that question a lot when I excitedly announce my career of choice. In a nutshell, I help sleep deprived parents of…

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Do Night Lights Seriously Help Children Sleep Better?

As a Pediatric Sleep Consultant, this question makes its appearance every other day. I have real riveting conversations some would say. But, in my realm, it can make or break sleep and it’s a valid concern that I am always happy to weigh in on. I’m a parent myself, and I always admire the incessant attempts that parents take to figure out each sliver of parenting. By the time we have it all figured out, things have changed once again and our children are grown.

Night Light Final Cover

Night lights – who would’ve ever thought there needs to be much to say on the subject? Oh, but there is! Can some night lights actually hinder a child’s sleep? Most definitely; in fact, most of the fun, exciting products on the market do just that. You see, there are certain lights that stimulate us and others that make us drowsy. That means the way we view these lights play a role in our hormone production. Yesssss, it is that serious! When we, as adults, stare at our phones at night our bodies often become confused. Is it time to sleep? Is it time to party? What’s happening? And once we do fall asleep, it can often disrupt sleep. Why? Because our internal systems are desperately trying to recover and regulate, but the stimulating light battles our internal clock. It’s not life or death, but it does throw a wrench into our sleep patterns.

Now, put yourself in your baby’s shoes (err, socks). If you are trying to convey to your baby that it is time to sleep, and then you introduce a light, that can be truly confusing for your little one. Your child has little communication skills and is hanging on to every action, emotion, and environmental cue provided. Introducing light, when we are suggesting they sleep is doing baby no favors. On the other hand, you as a parent may want to see what you’re doing at 3am! Therefore, the nightlight is for YOU, not for the baby. You must safely navigate and that is a good practice. With that being said, you must choose your night light carefully.

Refrain from LED or white/blue light bulbs (this is also the light that our Smart TVs and tablets emit). You want to stick to the traditional nightlight that we all grew up with – an orangish bulb that does the trick. On a brightness scale of 1 (the Sun) to 10 (total darkness), you will want the room at least at an 8.5. Remember, night lights cast shadows on the wall, and the last thing you want is to intrigue and stimulate your baby traffic flows by or a tree blows in the wind. Give your baby every opportunity to fall back to sleep on her own, hence my point.

Does a toddler need a night light? They may want one and request a light; this is very typical and I encourage your support here. However, the same rules apply; nothing too stimulating, and nothing too bright. This means that the star projector should be reserved for daytime play, and grab a bore of a nightlight for wind-down time and bedtime.

The Magic Light Smart Bulb is a dream for the 2.5-years & up crowd. It syncs with your phone to automatically change to any color you’d like, at any time you please! Set it to a dim red for night sleep, and coordinate the Magic Light to change to green (“green means go”) at an appropriate time for your toddler or child to start their day. This light is super motivating and helps children understand the concept of time (time to sleep versus time to play). Check out the Magic Light Smart Bulb here (via my afflilate link: http://amzn.to/2t4D7yN).

For more about the Magic Light and how to use it, check out this 8-minute video!

 

Amy Douglas is a Certified Sleep Consultant at Baby Sleep Central. Recently named as one of the Best Sleep Consultants in the United States, Douglas works with parents of children from Birth – Age 6. Help your baby, toddler, or child sleep more independently, starting tonight.