Okay, what in the world is the four month sleep regression and why isn’t my baby sleeping through the night anymore? When Rylee turned four months old this is exactly what happened to me and exactly what I was asking. No one told me to watch out for this sleep regression junk and no one told me she would need sleep training. Before Rylee reached four months she was sleeping amazingly. Brandon and I couldn’t believe it and we thought this was how it was going to be going forward. HA HA HA! Joke was on us. Rylee set her own schedule at about a month and a half old. She was napping every two to three hours during the day for about a hour and a half each nap. She went down for the night at 10:30pm. She would wake at 5:30 am for a feeding and go back to sleep until around 8 am. Lucky right? That’s what I said.
Literally the day after she turned four months old, she woke up at 1:30am, then again at 3:30 and again at 5:30. I passed it off as her having a bad night or she was overly tired from the previous day. Well on day four of this sleeping pattern, I was not only concerned but extremely tired. I started googling “why won’t my baby sleep anymore?”. I kept seeing the same thing. Something called a 4 month sleep regression. What the heck is that? Well from what I gathered, the 4 month sleep regression happens as early as three months and as late as five month. Not only are our babies going through a growth spurt, with learning to roll over and learning how to control their muscles but their sleeping habits are changing as well. At around 4 months old, our sweet little ones enter REM sleep which is a lighter sleep and much easier to wake from. Because they are sleeping lighter they now are waking more frequently. They have also learned mommy and daddy will come get me if I start crying, and that is exactly what Rylee did. Not only was she going through this sleep regression, she had just learned to roll over so it was time to transition from bassinet next to mommy and daddy, to her own room and into her crib.
Now what do I do? I started reading about sleep training and couldn’t bare the thought of letting her scream and cry herself to sleep. I hated even thinking about it. So we transitioned her to her crib but still getting up every two hours to soothe her. Brandon one night said “let’s give it a try, it may help”. So I fed her and put her in her crib awake. We said our good nights and walked out of the room from a screaming baby. After 15 minutes Brandon got up and said “I can’t do this to her” and broke her out of the crib and said his sorry’s and I love yous to Rylee. So we were back to square one.
Rylee had her check up the next day and the first question her doctor asked us was “How’s she sleeping?”. I told her exactly what was happening and she smiled and said that it time to help her soothe herself. She said “she’s old enough that it isn’t necessary for a middle of the night feeding so she’s getting up because she knows you’ll come get her. She’s going to be mad at you for a couple of days but that’s all it takes”. I told her how we tried and failed because we couldn’t bare her crying and she said “every five minutes go into her room and touch her but don’t pick her up. Tell her it is okay so she knows you are there and then go back to your room.” She told me to be strong and consistent and to remember that’ll it WILL benefit Rylee. So that night it was our second attempt.
This is was the hardest night for me but the most rewarding. Rylee seemed to be tired earlier that night. At around 9 she ate. After her feeding we put her in her crib awake again. We said our good nights and walked out. I literally sat in my living room (the furthest room from her bedroom) with pillows over my ears so I wouldn’t hear her cry and I wouldn’t break. Like the doctor said every five minutes we went into her room, I stroked her cheek said it was okay and we loved her and walked out. After a half hour, there was silence. We crept into our room and she was asleep! We did it!! The following night she seemed tired early, so again we started our routine at 9. She ate and went into her crib and after only ten minutes of crying, she was out. The next night she was asleep after four minutes of crying. Everyday after is took her about three minutes to put herself to sleep. She was going to sleep at 9:30pm and waking at 5;30am when I would feed her again and she would go back to sleep until 8! Ahhhhh…. we did it, or so we thought.
Right before she turned six months she started waking every three hours again, which I read would be around the time our baby’s are having another growth spurt. She got her first two teeth on May 7th (an early mother’s day gift for me) and I knew that was another thing bothering her. So, we had to start over again. Her first night, just like the last one took her a half hour to fall asleep. Since that night, she is falling asleep within 2- 3 minutes and sleeping until 5;30am. We didn’t hesitate to start sleep training again, because we knew she could do it and so could we.
Mommies, if you decide to sleep train, know you are not alone. Know that it takes time and consistency, but is oh so rewarding in the end for you and baby. How great to watch our little ones conquer these amazing milestones and what a big one this is! Sleeping nights are a coming mommies, I hope to hear how they go! Until then….