Channel Mum Chat

HELP! 4 month sleep regression!

Hi everyone,

First time Mum to a baby girl, who is almost 4 months old.

I’m pretty certain she’s going through the first sleep regression - light sleeper, waking in the night frequently, extra fussy, easily over stimulated and tired. She’s going through some big development changes too - trying to sit up, rolling over, practicing speach (a-goo and squealing) and she’s also a lot more aware or her surroundings.

At the moment she is having 4 or 5 naps a day. I’m not strict with the timing of these, I usually try and catch her before she shows signs of being over tired! From waking up (around 7am-8am) to the time I wrestle her to sleep, on a good day, it’s 1 hr 30 - 1 hr 45.
When she wakes up, I open the curtains and talk to her for a few minutes, change her nappy. Then we go downstairs for a kick about on her play mat, give her the choice of around 3 toys and a teether! Sometimes I put high contrast sensory stuff on the TV (maybe once or twice a day for 5-10 mins).

After around half an hour/45 mins of play, I take her upstairs, close the curtains and put a lullaby on to indicate sleep is near.
We usually have a feed (breast) on our bed and then burp her. Sometimes she feeds for 20 minutes, sometimes 2.

Then comes the hard part… On a bad day she screams and cries at the top of her lungs, choking on her own tears, red in the face. The only thing that seems to soothe her is me rocking her and singing or shushing with white noise in the background.
Sometimes this can go on for half an hour and has been as bad as 2 hours.
It’s especially worse at bed time.
At the moment she is napping on average for half an hour (25-45 mins). Then we start the routine all over again.

Bed time… Around 6pm/7pm (try to get her to sleep. For 8/8.30) - depending on how she’s slept during the day, we will take her upstairs a bit sooner than we would with nap time so that she’s not overly tired for her bath.
Husband does bath time every night.
Nice warm bath, tilted blinds for a low light, gentle voices. Once we get her out, she’s usually kicking like mad and really wound up. Vest time makes her cry 9/10 times.
Once husband has gotten her dressed, it’s my time to feed her and try and get her to sleep.
We go through the usual routine… On a bad night, it can take 2 hours of me trying to get her to sleep.
I’ve tried just laying her down and being reassuring - kisses, strokes, soft voice, singing, shushing. But it doesn’t work. Only rocking seems to snap her out of it (sometimes).
When it’s been a while of me trying to get her to sleep - I’m sore, sweaty, tired… We give in and take her for a drive to calm her down. Sometimes this sends her to sleep for the night or just half an hour and she hits the roof again.

Because baby has been such a light sleeper, I’ve encouraged my husband to sleep in the spare room. She has been sleeping next to me in our (very large) bed. Just because it seems easier to lay her down to sleep then putting her in the crib, is this wrong and should I stop immediately if I want to see signs of improvement?
Should I be picking her up, placing her down and walking away? What if I pick her up and she just continues to cry?
When she does stir, I wait and see if she soothes herself to sleep (usually by suckling on her hands). Is this adequate for helping her learn to self soothe?
I only pick her up when I don’t want her to reach the point of crying, try and keep her semi-sleepy!

Husband wants to help and feels guilty he can’t. Mummy only seems to be the one who can soothe at the moment and baby hates dummies and bottles!

I just don’t know if I’m doing anything right?

Thank you!

From a very tired Mummy.

I’m not an expert, but there’s a video about sleep regression which might help.

How are things now @anonymous3629?

You mention that she gets mad after her bath? Sometimes evening baths don’t work for babies, for my eldest daughter we used to do daytime baths because we found she was over stimulated by the water so wasn’t ready for sleep. It’s worth considering moving the bath time to early in the evening and allowing her time to settle afterwards if possible - you can still have a bedtime routine without a bath.

If you’re taking her for a drive, whilst it will get her to sleep, this is something that in the long run will be a hard habit to break so whilst it is so difficult and I totally get why you’re doing it, I would stop the drives.

You’re not doing anything wrong at all and with this kind of thing it’s usually a case of trial and error, my youngest was a light sleeper so I appreciate why your husband is sleeping in the other room.

I would try to work on routines if possible, maybe start with daytime naps and look out for her sleep cues, if she’s overtired at bedtime because of poor daytime sleep (or too many naps but not enough sleep the previous night) then she will struggle to settle. I would work on waking her up at a set time each morning, have naps at set times, food at set times, then bed at a set time and go from there. Move the bath earlier if you can so you’re avoiding that conflict before bed, focus on winding down before bed with low lighting and some stories, no TV or blue light before bed as this can disrupt the production of melatonin.

Is she feeding overnight? At her age I would still be expecting her to wake for feeds, you could also try to put this on more of a schedule if you know she usually stirs at a certain time.

It’s hard but please hang in there, you sound like you’re doing a great job xx