As your baby grows, their sleep needs decrease a little and sleep and wake times begin to organize into more of a pattern. For a 3 to 4 month old baby, night time sleep increases and daytime sleep will begin to consolidate into naps that you can start to regulate. Hopefully, having to get up every two to three hours is done. Most babies will be sleeping approximately 15 hours a day, with up to 10 hours at night. The other 5 hours are divided between 3 – 4 daytime naps.
Bedtime For Your 4 Month Old Baby
At this age, bedtime should be moved earlier and night time feeding can be decreased to one or two. By 4 months, night feeds can be based on need for food rather than comfort, if both mom and baby are ready and healthy. You can now begin setting a specific bedtime, as your baby has been increasing their nighttime sleep. By the time baby is 4.5 to 6 months old, they are physiologically able to sleep through the night. Whether they do or not, often depends on whether or not they have been given the chance to develop positive sleep habits and patterns that encourage independent sleep and the ability to put themselves to sleep if they wake in the night.
What To Expect For Naps At 3 to 4 Months Of Age
The time between naps will increase. You will notice your baby’s sleepy cues coming every 60 – 90 minutes after waking. Continue with your soothing techniques (for tips, view our earlier post on baby sleep for 2 to 3 months). At 4 months, baby’s daytime rhythm is also developing. Overall, your baby’s sleep is beginning to shift to more adult stages and cycles. You can now begin to set consistent nap times that will help to regulate baby’s sleep pattern.
Now that your baby has reached 4 months and is no longer considered a newborn, there is a lot you can do to establish positive sleep habits. As mentioned above, establish a set bedtime and be consistent. Continue with a sleep routine – do them in the same order, at the same time to ready your baby for sleep. Put your baby down to bed sleepy and awake giving them the opportunity to fall asleep on their own. Don’t rush to pick them up from a nap if they haven’t slept for 60 minutes or more. This allows them the chance to fall back to sleep on their own.
At 12 to 16 weeks, your baby’s brain is developing rapidly and adult-like sleep cycles are emerging signalling the ability to influence both daytime naps and night time sleep with sleep habits and patterns that parents and caregivers can establish. All these hormonal and brain changes may result in disrupted sleep for a short period of time. This period is known erroneously as a regression. In fact your baby’s sleep is developing and evolving into a more mature state. Soon they will be able to lengthen night sleep even more, sleep through the night consistently and daytime sleep will be taken as three naps occurring at set times.
Healthy Sleep Habits = Happy Baby!
Knowing your baby’s sleepy cues is very important. Learn to recognize them and act by getting your baby to bed. An overtired and/or upset baby is more difficult to get to sleep. Sleep begets more sleep and overtired begets less sleep! Good sleep habits and patterns will be key to whether your child is a good sleeper through their toddler years and beyond. Stick with it, and don’t forget to congratulate yourself on working hard to teach your child to sleep so that both of you are able to enjoy more activities, better moods and better health.
Written by a Good Night Sleep Site Consultant.
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