4 month old who wakes 4 times a night
Bronwyn has a 4 month old baby who can’t yet self-settle and wakes on average 4 times a night to be fed back to sleep. Mum is confused about whether or not he needs these night feeds based on what she has read.
Baby is awake for around 1.5 hours and has a top up before a nap to get to sleep.
He is settled in the evening between 6.30-7.30pm and has had average wieght gains of 200-500 grams a week!
Baby is un-swaddled and has some white noise for naps, and a sleeping bag. He has a dimly lit room.
Baby Sleep Consultant Answer
At 4 months your baby now has the ability to learn to self-settle and this is a great time to start to teach him if he has been previously fed to sleep.
Your baby sounds like he is thriving with those weight gains and you should be very proud!
At this age and with these weight gains, if you are ready to drop a couple of those night feeds he definitely doesn’t need them.
Lots of breastfeed babies have 2 feeds a night until they are established on solids, this is not to suggest you rush into solids but just to normalize the fact that he might be genuinely hungry for 2 feeds between 7pm and 7am. The best way to know is how well he feeds at 7am after a feed after midnight.
If he is not hungry at 7am you can probably drop your 3am feed successfully.
I feel this baby has a feed to sleep association due to the feeds before naps and the short naps indicating he can’t string sleep cycles together yet.
His night sleep cycles are 2-4 hours long and he is waking at the end of each sleep cycle looking to bed fed back to sleep, as he is fed to sleep before his naps and in the evening.
I suggest mum teach him to self-settle with a sleep training method she feels is suitable for her parenting style. Taking into account her babies temperament and her own temperament.
(No point choosing in the room no cry training if you are a highly anxious mum with 4 other children to look after, and no point choosing a version of cry it out if you are an attachment mum who feels the need to protect that bond).
We also need to teach her baby to have at least one consolidated nap a day to get on top of some of this over tiredness he is probably feeling.
He needs around 3-3.5 hours of day time sleep over 3 naps and 11-12 hours at night (broken by feeds).
I always suggest tackling naps and night training at once, so there is no inconsistent reinforcement which prolongs how long you need to sleep train for and means more stress and more tears for all involved.
Consistency is always your best defence against any sleep issue.
Have you experienced the 4 month sleep regression?
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