I have avoided writing this article about setting up a 4 month old baby schedule for years.
Because this is, by far, the hardest part of babyhood.
See? It’s not just you.
What’s so Special About 4 Month Olds?
Something epic is about to hit your baby between 16 and 20 weeks. That newborn you’ve been cuddling for the past few months is going to disappear.
These are the weeks where that tiny brain leaps ahead. Just check out what’s happening:
- She doubled her birth weight. (Usually. Talk to your doc if that’s not the case.)
- He can lift his head up all by himself, making the world suddenly a whole lot more interesting.
- She has figured out how to use those fingers to bring objects to her mouth where she can explore them.
- His vision has sharpened significantly, letting him see beyond your face.
In other words, your newborn has been replaced by a baby. This baby doesn’t want to snooze all day in the car seat.
This baby wants to see, touch, slobber, and discover everything.
And sleeping? Who has time for sleeping when the world is just waiting to be explored?
That’s where good parenting comes in, my friend. Despite what she may want, she needs those naps and long nighttime snoozes.
3 Things You Can Do to Help
Your 4 Month Old Sleep
Your 4 month old doesn’t want to sleep.
“Oh, well.” Is not an appropriate answer. You’re a parent now. And parenting means stepping in and guiding our kids in the right direction.
Sure, you may not get your child to sleep like Bobby Junior down the street, but there are some minimums you should definitely be shooting for. Here are three ways to help that along.
#1) Bore Him to Sleep
Remember what I said about him being super interested and fascinated about everything? You have to overcome that excitement in order for his brain to settle down to rest.
- No more mobiles on the crib. They’re too exciting.
- Make the room as dark as possible. At one time I had three blankets hanging from the window. It was worth it.
- Put black electrical tape over the monitor light. Yes, we’ve had newborn clients who fixated on it.
- Replace any character crib sheets with plain ones. I once had a newborn client who was too excited to stare at the tiny elephants to sleep. We replaced them with a solid green and he napped ten times better.
#2) Make Sure He’s Getting Full Feedings
Babies who snack all day long will want to snack all night long. Try to encourage him to get full feedings, each time.
This may mean feeding him in a dark room, so he can stop being distracted and focus enough to get the job down.
Or, it could mean touching his face with a warm washcloth or stripping him down to his diaper to help him stay awake for the entire feeding.
However you need to do it, make sure he’s completely full before you set that bottle (or breast) aside.
Free Sleep Schedules
#3) Don’t Let Him Get Overtired
The 4 month old age is around the time where your baby’s brain starts producing melatonin, the sleepy hormone. Yay!
This is also around the time your baby’s brain produces cortisol, the stress hormone. Boo!
Your child is going to waver between these two hormones all day long. The first will help your day, the second will ruin it. 🙂
So. What to do?
Find your baby’s natural rhythm. Learn how to predict when your baby is going to switch from being sleepy to being super super pissed.
I’ll give you a clue. For a 4 month old, that means you should be putting him down for a nap 1 to 1.5 hours after he wakes up.
Yes, I realize this is inconvenient. But that’s how it goes in parenting. We love our children, caring for their needs, even when it is inconvenient. (And, honestly, kids are amazing and wonderful, but very rarely convenient.)
Remind yourself: this isn’t forever. He will grow. Get bigger. And have a wider Waketime Window. Just not yet.
I’ve created a free worksheet to help you create your own 4 month old baby schedule. Subscribe below and I’ll give you an an entire year’s worth of sleep schedules for free as a thank you!
Free Sleep Schedules
How to Get Through These Transition Weeks: We’re Here to Help
If you find yourself floundering, know that as a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach (yes, that’s a thing and I have the education credits and paper to prove it) I am here to help.
I have two options for parents who feel they need a little extra help during this difficult period in parenting.
Option #1: My Online Secret Art of Baby Soothing Class
These are not your mother’s soothing techniques. These are things I’ve learned in the past decade as a Gentle Sleep Coach. They’ve never let me down.
I guarantee you will learn at least one technique in my class you’ve never heard before, or I will happily refund your $14. (Because that’s seriously how much it costs. $14. Fourteen bucks to learn what your baby is asking you for. Worth it.)
The class includes a workbook, so you can start experimenting and implementing my techniques right away.
Oh, and since it’s online, you can watch whenever is most convenient for you. Still breastfeeding at 3am? Plug in some ear buds and settle down for some tips!
Option #2: Talk with a Sleep Expert One-on-One
Sometimes it’s just helpful to jump on the phone and talk over your 4 month old baby schedule with a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach. That’s what a Newborn Sleep Session is.
Just you, talking through your unique situation with someone who’s been trained to spot the things that need spotting.
Together, you will walk through a Sleep Shaping Plan designed to help improve your baby’s sleep, without actually asking her to do anything.
And yes, I realize I just said earlier that your baby was no longer a newborn…but when it comes to sleeping, she’s not quite old enough to self-soothe. So that’s why we develop a Sleep Shaping Plan, instead of a Coaching one.
That said, we’ve got 60 minutes to fill, right? Once we’re done, your Gentle Sleep Coach will walk you through the sleep coaching methods, so when she’s finally ready, you’ll know exactly what to do.
Click here to get on the calendar for this week!
We Love Citations
Sleep Training at Four Months? Why it May Be Better to Wait. SleepLady.com
Baby Development: Your 4-Month Old. WebMD.com
Melatonin and Children’s Sleep. HealthyChildren.org
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