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Is this the dreaded 4 month sleep regression? Advice needed

(7 Posts)
scratchandsniff Fri 22-Feb-13 08:55:28

DS was 17 weeks on Tuesday. He started to sleep through (5/6/7 hour stretches) at about 9 weeks and this lasted for about 5 weeks, was bliss. Then his sleep started to deteriorate with it getting to it's worst in the last week. He's now back to waking every 2.5-3hrs. He goes down between 7-8 awake and most of the time self settles. He was occasionally settling himself if he woke in the night but that has stopped. I'm now feeding him most times (BF). I'm really not sure if it's genuine hunger or needing comfort. I'm worried that he will continue to wake out of habit if I keep nursing him each time, but equally I don't want to deprive him if he is hungry. Although he was a big boy at birth (9lb2) he has since dropped a couple of centiles. HV's not overly concerned as he is alert and happy. Just very active and never still which I think might mean he burns off the calories.

Can I ask you to share your experiences? If this is the 4mth sleep regression how long will it last? Should I stop nursing each time? I just don't know what to do for the best.

I know this subject crops up all the time so thanks for reading this far.

MediumOrchid Fri 22-Feb-13 09:06:02

Sounds like it to me. Dd would sleep 5-7 hours most nights, but a week or so after she turned 4 months she started waking every 2 or 3 hours. So depressing when she'd been so good before! She is now 24 weeks and last night slept 7 hours then another 3 - so I'm hoping we're out the other side of it. Keep going and it will get better! I think it all ties in with what they're doing developmentally at this time.

MediumOrchid Fri 22-Feb-13 09:10:44

Sorry she's actually 22 weeks now - so it lasted about a month for us - assuming that the last few nights weren't a fluke!

Gintonic Fri 22-Feb-13 09:37:52

Yes sounds like the 4 month regression. My LO was clearly very hungry when he was waking in the night. Your LO could also have teething pain, and if so the BF will be comforting for him.

Some people will warn you about "bad habits", but personally I think you should feed the baby - a quick BF and you can be back to sleep in 20 mins. Better than a fruitless hour trying to stop him crying! And at this age he probably isn't old enough to be "manipulating" you.

Focus on coping strategies, eg sleeping in the day, taking it in turns with your partner etc

waterrat Fri 22-Feb-13 11:16:00

yep, its horrendous isn't it. 4 month sleep regression - seems as I found from my own Ds and friends that it happens to almost all babies.

Its a tricky one with the feeds because people (midwife/ hv/ friends) told me to feed baby whenever they wake - but for us, that created a really bad cycle where he started waking more and more .....

I think a middle ground would be to feed on demand for another month or two (i know it seems a long time - but go to bed early/ keep baby near your bed) then once on solids, move into own room and do some gentle sleep training - so you feed every four hours (for example) and other wakings you stay by cot and settle by patting/ singing but dont pick up -= that really worked for us, some tears yes but we didnt leave him and he started sleeping longer stretches quite quickly.

waterrat Fri 22-Feb-13 11:17:30

if you really are struggling - one thing I would recommend is to introduce a bottle of formula at dream feed - I know not everyone thinks its a good idea - but Im still BF at 10 months so it certainly hasn't affected my ability to feed - and it really really helped me with sleep.

my partner gives a bottle of milk at about 1030 / 11 - then if they wake at 1 for example you try to get them back to sleep without a feed - see if they can at least make it to 3. that way if you got ot bed early you get a good stretch

waterrat Fri 22-Feb-13 11:18:18

sorry - one last thought! for me, I wish I had known it wouldn't last forever - and it doesn't. But I think it doesn't get better really till they are settled on solids - so - 7 months? better to be prepared for the lack of sleep I think!

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