Having a baby is such an exciting moment in one’s life. Some might even say it’s the most exciting moment. When your baby is first born, adrenaline is pumping and you’re worried if you know how to take care of her, but somehow you make it through those first several weeks. Most new parents know to expect to sleep very little when their newborn comes into their lives. Newborns eat every couple of hours and no one gets much sleep, but somehow you’re on cloud 9.
However, as days turn into weeks, and your baby is growing, you may be wondering just when you might sleep more than 3 or 4 hours in a row.
Today, I would love to share with you 5 things you should know about your 4 to 6-month old’s sleep:
Most new babies love to be swaddled as if they are still in the womb. It is comforting and keeps them more settled, usually resulting in better sleep. However, your baby will quickly learn to roll, which is unsafe while swaddled, and may even begin to protest being confined, even if she sleeps better that way! Most babies should not be swaddled by 3-4 months old, but many parents are confused by how to stop swaddling.
When you first have a baby, you may be anxious to have your baby wake up more rather than sleep on and off all day. You’ve waited 9 months to meet her, no doubt you want more time to get to know her now that she's actually here! At 4 months old, you might be a bit disappointed that your baby still needs to sleep after just 1 ½ to 2 hours. But, by 6 months old, it’s likely he can stay awake 2-3 hours at least a couple of times a day!
This is a common “argument” among parents and doctors. Some say babies can sleep all night (11-12 hours) without any feedings by 4 months old while others say not until a year. Who’s right? The answer is ...everyone! All babies are unique and it’s more common for breastfed babies to need night feedings for a longer amount of time than formula-fed babies. There are a variety of factors to consider in order to determine whether your baby can go longer periods or through the night without eating.
Around 4 months old, your baby’s brain and sleep fundamentally changes. Instead of spending most of his time in deep sleep, he’s now cycling in and out of sleep cycles more like an adult. This means that it may be harder to keep him asleep. We call this period the 4-month sleep regression.
Unfortunately, frequent night-waking tends to be very common for 4-month-olds, 5-month-olds, and 6-month-olds. This is partially due to the sleep regression mentioned above and partially due to the sleep habits, they may have learned when they were younger. This is a common time for parents to stop thinking it’s normal for babies to wake up so much and start thinking about how to fix their sleep problems.
Do you have questions about your 4 to 6-month old’s sleep? Do you need help with any of these things you now know about your baby? Please check out our live broadcast on these topics:
Nicole Johnson is a married mother of two wonderful boys and owner of The Baby Sleep Site. When her eldest son was born, he had a lot of sleep problems – he would wake every one or two hours, all night long! She got busy and thoroughly researched literature and scientific reports until she became an expert in sleep methods, scheduling routines, baby developmental needs, and more. She overcame her son’s sleeping issues in a way that matched her own parenting style, and knew it was her mission to help other tired parents “find their child’s sleep”. If you have your own sleep issues, Nicole and her team at The Baby Sleep Site® can help! Download the popular free guide, 5 Ways To Help Your Child Sleep Through The Night, to get started today.
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