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4month sleep regression...is this permanent change or phase?

(40 Posts)
Tabitha1983 Sat 18-Feb-17 20:30:26

http://www.babysleepsite.com/baby-sleep-patterns/4-month-sleep-regression/?awtl=H4O7o&awtt_m=J0gIiyFZPuxETn&utmsource=autoresponder&utmm_medium=byage&utm_campaign=4months

After some help (again!) ladies...or clarification?!
..We've hit the 4 month sleep regression...and the hourly wake ups have returned ...sometimes 2-3 if I'm really lucky! DS settles immediately once dummy is replaced so I'm happy he's not hungry (obviously I feed him too at some wakes!)...but my question is if according to the link above this 4month sleep regression is a permanent change in sleep pattern does that mean that sleep training is unavoidable? I think I understand the theory that as he is cycling into light sleep every hour he requires the dummy to go back to sleep....however, this is ok if it's a 'phase' but not if it's forever and is a 'permanent' change?!
Really don't want to loose the dummy as it has helped massively with self settling and for naps (although tonight I'm not feeling the love for it lol!)
...any thoughts? Anybody been in same boat and just rode it out with the dummy and it turned out ok?! Or am in denial and need to sort this out? X

FATEdestiny Sun 19-Feb-17 09:18:05

Tabitha1983, in the gentlest way possible, you need to relax. I see all your posts on the sleep board. You seem to be forever searching for The Answer (to baby sleep) rather than just accepting that it's hard, making sleep as easy as possible for you and baby and realising there is no Magic Answer.

There is a million pound industry based around parental anxieties of baby sleep. The page you liked to is another business trying to make money out of you.

Yes, 4 months marks a change in sleep biology. The rest on the page slanted towards suggesting you pay then them to sort out your baby's sleep problems. You don't need to.

Keep using the dummy. Dummies are ace.

Set your expectations though - baby will need your help to get to sleep for a long time yet. Even with independant tools like dummies, young babies can't do this themselves. Babies can reinsert their own dummy by 8-10 months old. Certainly by 12 months.

Tabitha1983 Sun 19-Feb-17 09:49:05

Thanks Fate...you're right!...no more googling 😂 Guess im just fearful that me reinserting dummy every 45mins to an hour ALL NIGHT after midnight is hard to sustain...I like to cling onto it being a phase then I mentally feel I can cope with it if I think it will 'magically stop' (which it probably won't put don't tell me that!) x
...doesn't help that family/friends all tell me to ditch the dummy then he will sleep better (just waking for feeds) but I also think dummy is ace! Granted I wasn't saying that last night tho 🙈

FATEdestiny Sun 19-Feb-17 11:52:00

Just because it's a perminant change does not mean that 45 minute wake ups are forever. They don't happen at all for many babies, even though this biological change happens with every baby.

They will last as long as it takes for you to help baby adapt to sleeping in cycles.

Sleep cycles involve a period of deep sleeping followed by a period of lighter sleeping. You need to help baby learn to shuffle and go back to sleep on that light sleeping phase (as all adults do in their sleep cycles), rather than fully waking up.

The best way to achieve this is through.... sleeping. It seems odd. But basically more sleep means better sleep.

Take a baby getting lots of sleep, not much awake time between naps, frequent naps, and resettled back to sleep as quickly as possible at night (still waking, but fed or resettled quickly and effectively so that the nights sleep is less disrupted). This baby will sleep be easier to get to sleep, sleep more deeply once asleep and so be led likely to wake up in the light sleeping phase.

This is often summarised as "Good sleep = Better sleep"

(Baby going to sleep in the place they stay asleep also matters, but I don't want to over-do this post)

So how you get baby to sleep is less important at this stage. Just that it happens quickly, easily and as often as possible. Once into thid cycle (of good sleep promoting better sleep), then baby starts sleeping more deeply.

Back to the sleep cycles mentioned earlier - so a baby getting lots of sleep (anyhow, however that happens) and going to sleep where they stay asleep is less likely to wake fully between one sleep cycle and the next. Therefore the method you use to resettle back to sleep isn't especially relevant to reducing the frequent wake ups. As long as it's done quickly, consistantly, and is Some thing you foresee being a sleep trigger long term.

Cosleeping works just as well as a dummy for this, if that's your preference. Or feeding lying down and leaving baby there. I favour the cosleeper cot and dummy route - because I didn't want to cosleep long term. But this route will mean that at every wake up until somewhere around a year old, you'll be reinsertibg baby's dummy. The hope is, if you encourage good quality sleep, that such wake ups are infrequent.

Tabitha1983 Sun 19-Feb-17 16:15:43

Fate Thankyou so much for taking the time to reply...that is the best explanation I've had and now makes much more sense! Can I ask your opinion on 1 last thing? (That might be a slight lie 🙊) What would u do if u were me?....baby in a good bath, bedtime routine (around 7pm)...initially goes down easily but then wakes every sleep cycle for the first 3 cycles (requiring dummy run from downstairs lol!) and settles again quickly....so in view of what u have just said would u still dream feed at 11pm? It now seem crazy that once he has settled into a deep sleep I now go to bed and wake him to feed??! Maybe I should just wait for him to wake??
He currently feeds at 11pm (dream feed) then 2/3am and 6/6:30 am. Plus the dummy inserts in between where he quickly resettles x

FATEdestiny Sun 19-Feb-17 17:32:02

Under 6 months I'd call the sleeps that happen in the evenings "naps". They would be where other daytime naps happen - in a bouncy chair at my feet while I sit on the sofa, in my case.

Unsettled evening at this age are completely usual. You're fighting a losing battle expecting anything else.

What would u do if u were me?

What I did with my 4 was:

Any wake up that occurs between 7pm and 8pm, I'd call that "bedtime". I'd do a bath folkowes by a massage and change baby from day clothes into night clothes.

Carry baby downstairs, feed again (I would have also fed upon first waking, before bathtime) and now that my other children are in bed, settle baby in bouncy chair and cuddle up to my DH for some much needed grown up time grin

I'd bounce baby (with my foot) periodically, to help link sleep cycles. But I wouldn't expect it to be successful. At any wake up I'd
- first try dummy reindeer and bounce
- if not straight back to sleep, I'd feed.

At 3-4 months I'd expect a feed around 9pm and then whenever the next wake up happened (which I'd expect between 10-11.30pm), I'd carry baby upstairs, feed on my bed and put baby in cot. Brush my teeth and go to bed myself.

As we moved towards 5-6 months, I'd notice that baby stopped waking for the early evening (9pm ish) feed. It might mean that my bedtime becomes earlier, with a 10pm feed or so.

Over time I'd know that as well as not waking for the 9pm feed, the late evening feed would get later too. So maybe "bedtime" would happen 7.30pm and then baby sleep solidly in bouncy chair until 10.30pm, then 11pm....

Once it gets to the stage that baby wasn't waking up and I wanted to go to bed... so I was waking baby up to have to feed and take to bed... that's the marker I'd use for making "bedtime" mean upstairs in the cot at 7-8pm.

Once I knew there would be no wake ups between baby's bedtime and my bedtime. That has happened around 5-6 months old with my children. But I've know it take longer or shorter with other babies.

At that point, when baby was now being put upstairs early evening and staying asleep, I'd make a judgement on if waking for a dream feed is likely to be helpful, or not. It's not always useful.

In your situation I would have fed probably twice after "bedtime". Better getting feeds in while I am awake, rather than while I'm asleep. Any feed that happens after 10pm, I'd take baby to bed. Unless I'm knackered in which case of take baby to bed with me at the earlier feed.

I categorically would not be spending my evenings going up and down to baby.

Apart from that being too much hassle in my precious adult time in the evening, it's also against SIDS recommendations that baby should sleep in the same room you are, until 6 months old.

Tabitha1983 Sun 19-Feb-17 18:27:44

Thanks again for such a detailed reply...that's gr8 example and hopefully it will help others too.
I suppose when i say 'dummy runs' I mean every sleep cycle after 7pm bedtime...so say hourly at 8pm, 9pm and then he will generally be in a deeper sleep which is why I questioned whether waking at 10pm was a bit daft! I might be better going to bed at 9pm and just waiting to see when he's hungry 😊
Yes you are right it doesn't comply with SIDS guidelines to have him upstairs at 4 months...I do have a camera monitor and keep a close eye...but still...maybe should reconsider x

FATEdestiny Sun 19-Feb-17 18:35:45

Assuming you've got a 4 month old (? I'm not certain), it's only another could of months until 6 months.

That's no time at all, in the grand scheme of things.

It is often those stressing endlessly about making a rod for their own back, that end up with the rod for their own back because they make sleep so difficult.

FATEdestiny Sun 19-Feb-17 18:36:04

Couple*

Tabitha1983 Sun 19-Feb-17 19:58:25

Yea I hear what you're saying...that's why I'm keeping the dummy despite people trying to tell me if I get rid of the dummy he will sleep better...it's such a gr8 comfort to him generally and he nods off for naps quite happily with it most of the time so it's defo staying 😊 x

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Feb-17 07:09:07

OMG I need some reassurance....or told to get on with it?! 🙈
Every 45mins ALL NIGHT again .....this can't be normal surely?! Please tell me this is a short phase and I don't need to sleep train?.....don't feel capable of looking after myself today never mind baby and toddler!
..doesn't help that DH has gone off to work now after we've had a massive argument (both sleep deprived obvs) with him saying baby needs bottles of formula and put in his own room then he will sleep like DD1 😭

LapinR0se Mon 20-Feb-17 07:13:10

You need to lose the dummy. It is not helping, just perpetuating the habit of waking looking for it every sleep cycle

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Feb-17 07:20:48

Oh really 😕 don't say DH is right 😂 He blames it on the dummy as DD1 was a good sleeper (just luck) and never had a dummy as just didn't need 1.
He gets so much comfort from the dummy and naps are gr8 now during the day with it (short but regular)....but can't go on like this its crazy...and presumably not good for baby either?
...I value Fates advise and understand if I get rid of dummy I will need to replace the comfort...but at 4 months he's too young for comforter and I don't want to go back to breast feeding to sleep at every wake like in the early day 😕

LapinR0se Mon 20-Feb-17 07:28:57

No you shouldn't breastfeed to sleep. That will have exactly the same effect.
Your baby needs to fall asleep by themselves and then they will be able to get themselves back to sleep after wake-ups.
You might feel that 4 months is too young to try and aim for self settling, in that case you'll have to keep up the dummy and the wake ups every 45 mins

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Feb-17 07:54:06

Oh ok thanks...I see...so it doesn't really matter what it is it's just he doesn't know how to self settle 😞 U guess with DD1 she was formula fed (failed attempt at BF) and never had a dummy so that's probably why she slept?!
...so you think sleep training is inevitable then? No point being in denial thinking it will just pass 🙈😂

FATEdestiny Mon 20-Feb-17 08:22:59

How frequently through the night are you feeding? I wonder if you are using the dummy too easily, when baby is hungry. I used to use a 5 minutes / 1 hour rule.

At first waking I'd always give dummy. If baby was not asleep within 5 minutes, I'd breastfeed.

Then if baby did go to sleep within 5 minutes with the dummy, but was awake again within an hour, I wouldn't bother with the dummy that wake up and would go straight to a feed.

LapinR0se Mon 20-Feb-17 08:29:55

I think it is inevitable that you will need to teach him how to sleep without sucking on something at some point yes.

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Feb-17 08:31:47

Ok thanks that's helpful...so I fed last night at 10pm...he woke at 11, 12, 1 and quickly resettled with dummy then I fed at 2am, dummy again 3,4,5 and fed at 6am. So maybe I should have fed him at 12?

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Feb-17 08:35:09

I fed at 10pm, dummy insert at 11,12,1...fed at 2am, dummy insert 3,4,5 and fed at 6am. So maybe I should have fed him at 12? He does settle quickly with dummy tho? X

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Feb-17 08:36:05

Sorry posted twice! Thought it had failed to load x

LapinR0se Mon 20-Feb-17 08:48:03

How are the feeds during the day?

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Feb-17 09:38:33

I feed him 2hourly (or whenever he wants if sooner) in the hope of keeping him filled up...he only takes 1 side at a time tho...maybe need to encourage him to take both sides?
...I suppose him going 'up to bed' at 7pm means he doesn't cluster feed in the evenings?...he hasn't seemed bothered about doing that which is why I moved him from Moses basket in living room m to snuzpod in bedroom every evening x

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Feb-17 09:42:43

This morning I fed again 1.5 hours after initial wake...and he was very very drowsy but not totally asleep...however as soon as I swaddled him and laid him down he woke 😕 Quickly inserted dummy and he went to sleep and had over an hour (dummy fell out and he stayed asleep) so presumably he can do it some times?!! X

LapinR0se Mon 20-Feb-17 09:56:51

And how is his weight, which centile is he on and is he tracking?

Tabitha1983 Mon 20-Feb-17 10:31:14

He's 16 weeks today and last week he weighed 14lb...not big baby but that puts him just below 50th centile which is where he has always been seen birth...so yea...he seems to be following his curve, meeting expected milestones etc x

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