At 3-4 Months your baby's sleep has a developmental leapAround the 3-4 month mark, your little one’s sleep has a developmental leap, so instead of sleep being a constant state, it becomes dynamic. This means your baby will begin to have sleep stages, essentially they will cycle between light and deep phases of sleep. Most sleep cycles in the evening last between 60-120 minutes and at the end of these cycles they have a brief wake period. Their day sleep also becomes organised into sleep cycles and these tend to be around 45 minutes in length. Then we pair that with a greater awareness they’re developing and sleep becomes a much more conscious activity. So here’s the deal. Some little ones are able to adjust to this change and settle back into good sleep patterns. Though for many it’s not the case. If your little one is being put to sleep by external measures such as a dummy, rocking or feeding, this reliance may be highlighted now that they are waking more often. So instead of your little one waking and having the ability to self-settle back into the next cycle, they may wake and realise something is missing, something has changed, or they aren’t in the same spot they were when they fell asleep. As a result, you will promptly get a call out to come and fix the situation. I always say to my clients: if your little one doesn’t have the ability to self-settle at the beginning of their sleep cycle how can we possibly expect them to re-settle throughout the night?
Contribute to great sleeping before and after the 4 month age markDo not despair! There are many things that contribute to great sleep during, before and after the 4 month mark, and here they are.
What does your little one believe they need in order to get to sleep?The way your little one settles off to sleep is essential in their ability to sleep well. If you are required in any way to get your babe off to sleep even by replacing the dummy in between cycles or rocking, feeding etc, then this can be exacerbated at the 4 month mark. Have you ever noticed your baby seems to sleep lightly? You wouldn’t dare try and transfer them, stop rocking, or god forbid that dummy falls out. It isn’t just about the quantity of sleep your little one is getting it’s about the quality. Changing what they associate with getting off to sleep and encouraging them to use their own abilities (the ones they are born with) means they will get into better, deeper sleep and have a far easier time drifting between cycles. Creating healthy sleep habits that include your little one self-settling (without the dummy) will allow you to breeze through the four month mark.
TimingAt four months your babe should really only have awake periods of around 1.5 hours. This may vary from child to child however regular opportunities to sleep are still essential for successful settles and great sleep. The more over-tired your little one is, the harder time they will have getting into a good sleep pattern.
"your little one will teeth for up to 2 ½ years, so it’s a long road to go down should you associate it with sleeping poorly"