Channel Mum Chat

4 month- sleep

Hi. My son is 4 months and currently has a bedtime routine of bath, bottle, bed. When I put him down for bedtime he only sleeps for 30 mins (pretty much exactly every night) and wakes. So I have to re-settle him. He naps during the day for 30 mins a time as well. Any tips how to extend his naps and how to stop the wake up at bedtime.

What is his existing routine? Do you put him down at a set time, and what time do you get him up in the morning?

We go for a bath at 6:30 and by 7 he’s asleep in bed. Then 7:30 he wakes and settled about 20/30 mins later. And wakes about 6:30/7. He does wake during the night for feeds

Hi @anonymous421

He sounds like on the whole he is doing pretty well sleep wise. My name is Maggie and I am the Channelmm HV and sleep and parenting specalist.

I wonder if he may be waking due to a bit of wind? How would you feel about giving him a bottle before his bath and then settling him to sleep in his cot? From a self settling point of view and protecting his teeth once they start to come though it is a good idea to get him used to self settling without a milk feed beforehand. Have a look at the link below on self settling and see what you think.

Let us know how you get on

Maggie xx

I could move the bottle before bath, but unsure if I’d be able to get him to settle. With my daughter I used advice from yourself for cry it out method and she’s now an amazing sleeper. I have tried this with his first nap of the day for a few days but taking a very long time and he gets very upset. He is a VERY clingy baby and would love for him to be able to settle on his own as this may help his nap duration as well as he only naps for 30 mins max.
Can I have some advice around sleep training using cry it out again please x

HI @anonymous421

Glad to hear your daughter is an amazing sleeper now.

At 4 months he is too young for controlled crying - I don’t every suggest cry it out as this is different to controlled checking. Controlled checking can be used from 6 months onwards.

What you can use with him at 4 months is Pick Up Put Down - below is a step by step guide to it. It may take hundreds of pick ups but does work if you can stick with it.

In the self settling link I posted the following steps can work well to encourage a baby to self settle

Steps to help babies to settle

The following tips are ways parents can help their babies to settle and sleep on their own:

  • Step away for 10 seconds and watch them
  • Let them see your face
  • Let them hear your voice
  • Gently put a hand on their tummy
  • Hold their arms their arms across their chest

The following steps are based on the work of Brazelton and Nugent, 1995 and are gentle steps you can try to settle your baby awake in their cot or Moses basket.

  • Look at baby
  • Look at them and talk to baby
  • Look at them, talk to them and put hand on their tummy
  • Look at them, talk to them and hold their arms across their chest
  • Look at them, talk to them, pick them up and hold them calmly
  • Look at them, talk to them, hold and rock them calmly
  • Look at them, talk to them, swaddle them safely with hands to their mouth and rock them calmly
  • Look at them, talk to them, swaddle them safely, rock them calmly, give them a clean finger to suck on or a pacifier.

Have a look at some of the sleep aids you can use to help his self settle too.

Maggie x

Hi, yes it was the controlled checking.
Do you think if he self settled the wake up 30 mins into bedtime and naps would be longer?
The bedroom is kept dark and I always play shhing. He’s a very unsettled baby and I believe if I get the sleeping sorted that it will help him

Hi @anonymous421

Good to hear it was the controlled checking. You ask

Honestly I am not sure but self settling is a helpful skill for them to have. I did wonder and said in my first post I wondered if was wind so giving the milk feed earlier before the bedtime routine and bed could help if that is what the issue is.

Have you been trailing this and have you noticed any difference?

It sounds like you are doing all the right things, Is he unsettled all day or is just at bedtimes and nap times?

Maggie xx

I don’t think it’s wind as it’s every night exactly 30 mins into sleep. He also only naps 30 mins during the day unless in the buggy or car… where he’ll sleep longer most times. He is waking at 11,1:30,3/4,6 at the moment, is this normal or is he being a very bad sleeper?

He’s a very clingy baby and I do struggle during the day as he cries if I put him down or as soon as I’m not giving him attention. He had colic until about 13 weeks old so I’m guessing it might be from being soothed a lot in the evenings to try help him.

Hi, my baby went through a stage like this for about 6 weeks. It was absolutely horrendous as most night’s she was waking literally every hour & not settling herself. She was very unsettled as a little 1 too but she’s now 5 months (in 3 days) & has started sleeping better (although it’s only been a week or 2 so I don’t want to jynx it!! :crossed_fingers::pray::joy:) I think it was the 4 month sleep regression. I tried absolutely everything & nothing helped. I even seeked advice from Maggie & she was very helpful with tips but I think I just had to wait for it to pass. I continued with the same bedtime routine & moved babys bedtime earlier as she was always overtired but it was literally like she just didn’t want to sleep until she knew I was there to comfort her. She’s not a napper either. I struggle to get her to sleep during the day! She’s still going to bed at 7pm. She is waking at midnight & 5am for a bottle which I can handle. I’m having issues myself again at the moment though as she’s started staying awake around 5am unless moved into my bed! She used to wake around 7.45am, sometimes later. Hopefully your baby will grow out of this stage too soon as I know how awful it is. I am on my own & was in tears most nights as I was exhausted! I do feel for you hun.

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HI @anonymous421

I used to find mine slept much better once they got older and were more active and independent. Good to hear the experience of @anonymous421 sometimes we just have to grit our teeth and get through it as best we can.

The sleep pattern does improve as they get older and mature. Between 16-20 weeks there is usually a big shift in their sleeping pattern as they start to secrete the sleep hormone melatonin and sleep for longer periods at night. You are nearly through the worst. If he had colic as well - you have both had a lot to contend with and he has needed you to settle him. Now as he gets a little older it is about encouraging self settling skills. It takes a while but with practice and patience they get there.

I don’t think it is helpful to label him as a “bad sleeper” all babies are different and some take longer than others to consolidate their sleep patterns - it is a maturity issue which is linked to many different factors.

Have you tried wearing a sling in the day to see if this can help him settle and sleep for longer. Like you I used to find my children napped for longer if out in a pram or in a moving car.

You say

I think you are right so keep working on the self sooting as much as you can and the gentle pick up put down.

You say

How long is he awake for at these time and how do you settle him? Does he have a feed? Yes it is normal for them to wake at regular intervals during the night, we all do this in the light sleep phase. The difference is some babies can go back to sleep without crying or needing their parent to settle them. That is why persevering with the self settling is so helpful. Does he have a dummy?

Keep posting

Maggie xx

Hi @anonymous2636

I can see you have posted elsewhere about the 5am waking so I will answer your post on your thread.

Thank you :two_hearts: for sharing your experience with @anonymous421 it is always so helpful to hear other mums experience

Maggie x