The newborn stage is over and your little one has reached the age of 4 months old! You will be glad to hear that your baby has developed enough for you to start creating a routine, and help the whole family can get some more sleep at night. An effective bedtime routine is key at this age; luckily there are plenty of ways that parents can form a successful sleep schedule for their little one. At Babogue, our 4-6 Months Sleep Series will show you what to expect from your baby during the 4-6 month developmental stage, and provide practical tips to solve any sleep problems. Our Sleep Series will also help you to form a bedtime routine that works for the whole family while fulfilling the baby's sleep needs. Here is a short guide on what to expect from your 4, 5 or 6 months old when it comes to sleep.
How Long Should My 4 to 6-Month-Old Sleep For?
At 4 months old, babies should have just developed a circadian rhythm, which means they will be able to differentiate night from day, and their body's internal clock will encourage them to sleep more during the night. This is music to any parent's ears and means that the whole family can sleep a lot more at night. Additionally, night feedings can start to regulate, depending on your baby, as they have grown and their tummy can take in more milk to fill them up for longer.
4 to 6-month-old babies require around 14-16 hours of sleep per day, with around 10-12 hours of sleep through the night, and 4-5 hours per day, spread over 3-4 naps a day. As your baby grows from a 4-month-old to a 6-month-old, they will need less daytime sleep and may sleep longer through the night.
What are Common Issues that Impact Sleep for a 4 to 6-Month-Old?
As the baby develops a circadian rhythm and begins to sleep longer when it is dark, there are a few common issues that can affect your little one's sleep schedule. Becoming aware of these issues will help you to establish a routine that will work to eliminate potential issues and give your family the best night possible.
Daytime Naps Become More Difficult
Because your 4-month-old baby has developed a circadian rhythm and can tell night from day, they may struggle to nap during the day when it is light. This is because the sleepy hormone melatonin needs darkness in order to help the body initiate and maintain sleep. Instead, your baby will most likely want to stay up to play, refusing to take enough daytime naps if they are not being offered in a dark, consistent sleep environment. Consequently, a 4-month-old or 6-month old that hasn't had enough naps during the day is highly likely to be overtired at night, and struggle to sleep then too! This can have a huge effect on your child's sleep schedule, so it is important that you ensure your baby is getting at least three to four naps during the day, or at least three naps if they are 6 months old.
At 4 months, your baby will be continuously developing, and with these developments may come some sleep regressions. The 4-month sleep regression is very common and gives parents a few weeks of sleepless nights while their baby becomes incredibly emotional with increased waking. It is a permanent change to your baby's sleep due to the formation of circadian rhythms. Sleep regressions are due to developmental progressions such as increased mobility, new skills & communication developments. With each progression in development, there can be a regression around sleep. However, often a tweak to your baby's sleep schedule will help them overcome these stages and continue to sleep well.
Children at this age can begin to get grumpy at a certain time each evening when they become tired and upset. At this time, it is important to try and work out your baby's bedtime routine so that you can centre sleeping around the time your baby starts to become tired. A sleep log is a great way to find patterns in sleeping, feeding and naps so that you can better understand your baby's sleep schedule. Children that fall asleep before they are overtired will have a better chance at getting a good quality of sleep.
A 6-month-old can begin to experience separation anxiety as they grow attached to primary caregivers. This can have a big effect on your child's sleep schedule and make bedtime a stressful experience. When you put your baby in their crib and walk away, separation anxiety may cause them to become incredibly emotional, and therefore keep them awake for longer. However, there are a few different things that parents can try out to help their baby to fall asleep when experiencing separation anxiety.
How Can I Help My 4 to 6 Month Sleep?
Once you know what to expect from your child from 4 months and the common issues that may arise, it is possible to work to form an appropriate schedule that provides your baby with enough naps, and also works well for the entire family. Try the following to help your baby settle, and decrease the chances of them waking so often.
- Learn when your baby becomes tired by watching their sleepy cues. Put them in their crib when theiy are tired so they have a better chance at falling asleep before they become overtired.
- Create a sleep routine and stick with it, consistency is key!
- Feed your baby enough during the daytime and evening to decrease the number of night feedings they require
- Don't let your baby nap for longer than 2.5 to 3.5 hours in one go during the day, as this can affect the time spent awake during the evenings
- Create a relaxing and soothing environment in the baby's room in the evening, with lights low, voices quiet and potentially some white noise
- Place your baby in their crib for a daytime naps, so they are used to sleeping in the same place & you are creating a consistent place of sleep.
- 4 months onwards is the perfect stage to start working on self settling.
Through the 7 Steps to Better Sleep in our 4-6 month Sleep Series, you can create sleep foundations for your child which can improve the quality of sleep that your baby and family get.
Babogue Sleep Series
Our 4-6 months Sleep Series will provide you with comprehensive information on how to mould healthy sleep habits as early as possible. Erica at Babogue is a Certified Child Sleep Consultant, who has helped provide thousands of families across the world with the Gift of Sleep. Find out more on our website and start your journey to better sleep today!