the 4th month sleep regression

wolf sleep regression

Wolf has been a good sleeper for as long as I can remember.  honestly, I can’t even remember when he first started sleeping through the night, it was so long ago.  first it was 6 hours – yahoo!  then 7, 8, 9 and even one night he slept for 11 blissful hours.  like whoa.  he would fall asleep anywhere from 8:00-9:00, and stay asleep until I woke him up at 5:30-6:00 in the morning.  but recently, he’s begun waking up in the middle of the night again.  I feel kind of like we’re back at phase 1 in the newborn-itty-bitty-baby days where he’d wake up numerous times in the night.  except now I’m forced to get out of my bed as the sun peeks over the horizon to start my day and sleepily head off to work.

I was doing some research today and came across a blog post where someone made a comment about “the 4th month sleep regression” and it was as if someone smacked me.  I read her comment and could feel my head nodding in agreement.  3 month old baby sleeps through the night then WHAM that 4th month hits and something changes.  was it his vaccines last week?  or the fact that he just got over a little cold?  is it the change in the weather?  is it his desire to test out new tricks?  is it a growth spurt?  what gives?

I’ve just recently started a semi sleep routine.  we play after I finish eating dinner, then wind down with a little baby massage while I sing songs to him {mostly made up, they are pretty hilarious}, then it’s story time, bottle time, swaddle time and ocean noises that lull him to sleep.  but I admit, we don’t do it exactly like this every night.  {hello return of Dexter!!}  so I guess I’m asking your advice on a few topics.  the 4th month sleep regression – does it exist?  what could it be?  and I’d love to hear your thoughts on sleep training and how important is a routine?

last night however, I’m happy to report that Wolf slept from 8:45pm until 5:30 this morning.  thank you, Mister.

{picture by levi}



  1. 7


    jamie said:


    Hs pede says it is a combo of things. teething. growth spurts. learning new skills they are “practicing” at night. a new awareness that even though you are not there, you exist, so when they wake up instead of falling back asleep, they want to be with you!

    we were pretty much sleeping through the night, then right when i went back to work regression. now this is the fun we go through:

    -6ish start bedtime routine.
    -7ish asleep.
    -8ish H wakes up and has to be rocked or nursed to sleep.
    between 8:30 and 9 he wakes up again and one of us just end up going to bed. We co sleep, and when one of us is there, he will stay asleep.
    -Around midnight he wakes up to nurse.
    -Around once an hour until around 4:30 he moves so dang much he wakes himself up. Sometimes we can kind of half rock him back and forth on the bed and he doesnt wake up. sometimes we have to sit up and rock him back to sleep. or I slide him down to nurse back to sleep, then slide him back up when he is done. (i know, i am really lucky i have the chance to)
    -Around 4:30 this starts to happen every 1/2 hour until we give in and wake up. (or it is clear that he isnt going back to bed.) generally between 5:30 and 6:30.


    I know a few things- breastfed babies tend to wake more, as do cosleeping babies. I mean, they know they have access right there.

    So I guess it isnt so bad for us that we are willing to make any changes or do any sleep training. Co sleeping is kind of weird, like, I don’t know HOW we would deal with his crazy sleep if I had to get up/he wouldn’t wake up as much if he was in his crib?

    I have done nothing to help you, just blather on about my own experience. But i guess i mean to let you know that in my eyes, your regressed sleep isnt that bad!


  2. 7


    Jenny said:

    Our son Nolan is just a few weeks older than Wolf but was never a good sleeper. Actually I shouldn’t say that. He wasn’t a bad sleeper, but he woke up every three hours on the dot to nurse. And whoa was I tired all the time and I did crazy sleep deprived things like put my coffee in the fridge to heat it up (true story).

    Anyway, our pediatrician told me I could stop nursing him so much and we got into a good routine of putting him to sleep around 7/7:30 and he stayed asleep until 4ish to nurse and then went back to sleep until 7. In the middle of month four it stopped going so well. He was waking up three or four times a night, sometimes just fussing, sometimes inconsolable, ugh. And then after a week or two, it stopped! He still fusses occasionally but usually soothes himself or just needs a little back rub or butt pat.

    It’s amazing that when you’re in that week (or two or three) of terrible sleep it feels like the end of the world and then after a few days of being back to normal you think, “Was he waking up a lot? Gosh, I don’t even remember, it must not have been so bad!”

  3. 7


    Claudia said:

    My philosophy on the subject: just like adults, babies have moments when they might not sleep that well and sometimes we just have to accept it. It is not because there is something wrong. It is just a phase. Alice did a mini 4 months sleep regression thing and she is also doing a little one at the moment (6 months). I try not to stress about it…well, I must admit that I don’t work so I can take long naps with her in the afternoon. Yeah, I should just shut up ;)

  4. 7


    Amie said:

    I highly recommend the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. It has been my bible.

    • 10


      lynn said:

      What she said! That book has helped us keep it together after a million transitions and changes and warp-speed development.

      The bedtime routine is a wonderful segue to sleep now at 10 months, but we didn’t really fall into a set thing until 5 months when his patterns were starting to emerge.

    • 10


      Jo said:

      I third the Healthy Sleep Habits book. My little one was/ sorts still is a horrible sleeper, but 4 months nearly killed me.
      Hang in there!

  5. 8


    crobb said:

    we were RIGHT there with you.. our son is just a few months older than wolf and i hate to tell you that we STILL haven’t returned to the blissful nights of more than 4-5 hours of uniterupted sleep.

    when it comes to “sleep training”… i think that everybody is doing the best that they know how to by their child, their husband, their family, their sanity… so i think you can get WAY too caught up on what others did or how others feel about the subject. it is one of the most hotly debated (and, in my opinion, needlessly so) topics that EVERYONE wants to discuss and everyone seems to feel so passionately and personally about their chosen method that i’m afraid to even broach the subject anymore. (note the references to books about infant sleep as “bibles”)

    that said, if you DO decide to “sleep train,” no matter what method you use, i highly suggest reading “bedtiming”.. it explains what is going on in their mental and emotional development that will make it harder or easier to train them (or not) at certain times.

    good luck and keep us posted.. for no other reason than i’d love to commiserate (and not in a judgey way!)

  6. 9


    Cecelia said:

    I agree with Claudia- so much goes on in a baby’s development, that it really could be any number of things. I always try to remember that what ever it is with my kids, that it’s just a phase and usually by the time I figure it out, they are on to something else. For me, these sort of challenges are just reminders of how children can change me for the better- make me a more patient person through exercises like getting up at 4 am. It’s hard to tell yourself that in the middle of the night, but whenever there is something I have to do in my day to day that I really don’t want to do, I just think, “what is this compared with all the other hard things I have done? What is this compared with child birth?” It makes me feel very capable.

  7. 9


    mel said:

    Oh man, was I glad to read this as I stumbled across your blog! Levi was the EXACT same. Great sleeper up until the last 2 weeks (he’s 4 months and 2 weeks) and then BOOM – 1:30am, 5am, HELLO MUMMY! I, like most, have put it down to teething and a bad cold…but like most things over the last 4 months, it’s a complete guessing game! Just this last 3 nights has he started sleeping through the night again but after that blip, I now go to bed in the mindset that he’ll probably be up in a few hours. That way, if he sleeps through it’s a surprise bonus!

    Keep your expectations low of these little ones, that’s what I say! They are just figuring it all out themselves, who am I to expect them to know what to do!

  8. 9


    Rachael said:

    Of course we have to avoid reading too many blogs (esp. about sleep habits!), but this lady does have a nice extensive discussion of the fourth month sleep regression. Sounds like he’s going through all sorts of things.

  9. 9


    Diana said:

    Yes, it definitely exists! Read Sleeplady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight. CHANGED.MY.LIFE.

  10. 12


    celia said:

    oh man, we dealt with this BAD. cheech has never slept completely through the night, per se, but at around 3 months, she started sleeping from 8-4, bottle, then from 4-8. it was awesome. we also coslept, but felt she was getting too big, so right around that time is when we transitioned her to her crib. since she was sleeping so well in there, i was convinced that sleeping on her own gave her a better night’s rest.

    then, at 4 months, she mastered rolling from her back to her belly, but didn’t know how to roll back. that’s when the sleep regression started. she’d roll in her sleep and wake up frustrated because she couldn’t roll back. i kid you not, one night, i got out of bed every hour to roll her over. it was a nightmare and i was a mess. after about a week of that, i woke in the middle of the night to her crying because she was on her belly, and was so tired that i brought her into our bed. she ended up sleeping so soundly. we’ve tried the crib a few more times, but for us, she wakes up at least twice as much in her crib as she does in our bed.

    i read somewhere that babies go through SO many developmental milestones during months 4 and 5, that their poor little brains are on overload… which is why they have so much trouble sleeping. makes sense. we tried sleep training one night, and for us, NEVER AGAIN. it was horrendous, and i ended up sobbing myself. i don’t know, it just didn’t feel natural to me. i know cosleeping isn’t for everyone either, but it *might* be something you want to consider. like i said lucia has never slept through the night, but she’s back to waking once on good nights, and twice on bad nights… unless she’s teething, and that’s a whole other nightmare. ;)

    good luck! i know it sucks, but i keep trying to remind myself that this won’t last forever. my mom told me to not expect any sort of regularity in her sleep patterns until she’s at least 12 months. as awful as that sounds, i have a feeling she’s onto something.

  11. 12


    Cassidy said:

    I just had to drop in and say, “I hear ya!” I have the exact same story. My son slept through the night (11ish hours straight) for so long I just assumed we were in the clear. Then boom 4 months old and “like whoa.” I know have a 5 month old and we’ve had good stretches and sleepless nights. I’ve read the books mentioned and I’ve even gone to a “sleep consult.” Still that little love nugget of mine is struggling to get the quality/quantity of nighttime zzzz’s he once came by easily. Best of luck!

  12. 19


    Lora said:

    Our little one slept through the night (nearly 10 hours) at 3 months….by 5 months the party was over & it was uber-hard. He was up every 40 min at one point, always wanting to nurse- I had lost my mind at one point. My husband * I didn’t want to let our little man ‘cry it out’ as everyone was suggesting….however we did realize that he had learned how not to sleep & we had to help re-train him. That was a great combo of routine, pink noise (like white, but better- def look it up) and being dilignet. The book that helped us the most was The Sleep Easy Solution, http://www.sleepyplanet.com I’ll be honest it was not easy & there is some minor crying that does happen as your baby wants what they want…but we honestly never had him cry more than a few mins & within a couple nights we were in an amazing routine that has worked since– 10-12 hours a night. We even hired a sleep consultant from sleepy planet at one point (for a phone consult) and it really helped. Good luck.

  13. 29


    Sherrie said:

    Hi there,
    Did Wolf pull himself into this position in the cot?! If so WOW!! (Just a sideline to the actual discussion!).
    Am going through the exact same thing, although my boy went from 12-13hrs a night from 6-12 weeks then at 13 weeks started waking 3 hourly…20 weeks now and down to 1 or 2 wakings… on its way out?!