The 4 month wakeful period is a real thing, people. I’m living it now for the 2nd time in my life. It’s hard. With our first baby Braden? It was harder. What is it, you might be asking….? Oh, I’ll summarize it for you:
- Baby turns 4 months old and is suddenly aware there is a world out there that is exciting and interesting!
- Baby gets very distracted during the day and could care less about wasting his precious wake time eating and even napping
- Baby makes up for lost calories at night time by waking up multiple times throughout the night
That pretty much sums it up. Also known as The 4 Month Sleep Regression. So many babies sleep wonderfully up until they turn 4 months old. Braden went from sleeping 8-10 hour stretches to being up every 1.5-2.5 hours around the clock. I’m not even exaggerating, I wish I was. Ethan has slept up to 10 hours, but it’s a rarity, and he usually sleeps 6-7 hour stretches at max. Now Ethan is in the midst of the 4 month sleep regression and he’s up every 2 hours on the dot. I feel that at least this time, I’m prepared for it. I know what it is, I know that it still sucks, but I’m doing so much better with it.
- This Too Shall Pass – it might be cliche, but it’s true. This phase does not last forever. Try to cling to the fact that baby is growing up so fast and they’re only little for so long. You may be thinking “easier said than done” but this has been my mantra and has really helped give me a reality check to cope, especially with my 2nd baby.
- Strive For Quiet Daytime Feedings – it might not always be possible, especially with multiple children to care for, but feed baby in a quiet, dark room when possible
- Start Teaching Baby to Self-Soothe – I have found in this stage in particular that baby is not always needing to be cuddled or soothed to sleep as much as they want it, and it’s the perfect time to start to encourage them to self-soothe. Wait an extra 5, 10 minutes to see if baby will settle to sleep – you might be surprised!
- Spend Extra Time With Baby During Wake Time – they say during this 4 month wakeful they are so distracted during the day and want to see more of mama at night – get on the floor and love on that baby. Give them extra attention so as to *hopefully* trick them into not needed to see you at night every 2 hours!
- Give Lots of Play Time – this is such a big developmental stage and milestones are happening left & right. Babies are silly and they want to practice their new milestones (rolling tummy to back, back to tummy, grasping toys, chewing on things) all the live long day. Try to give them as much floor time and play time as possible and limit days and days in the car seat/stroller at this age
- Extra Sleep for Mommy – if at all possible, which I know it’s hard to, try to grab a nap during the day or get your husband/partner to get up with baby in the mornings – even just on weekends. An extra hour or two of sleep has truly helped me survive this time around
- Sleep Train – 4 months is a great time to sleep train, as long as your baby is big enough (14 lbs+) and not ill, cutting a tooth, or right in the middle of a new milestone. This option will not work for everyone, a lot of people are against it…but this is what I eventually did at the end of my first baby’s 4 month wakeful. His sleep was improving but he needed help to learn how to sleep better and it’s a decision I’ve never regretted
These are tips from my personal experience on the 4 month wakeful period and I recognize that every baby is different! What tips and tricks would you add to the list?
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