Most babies between 4-6 months old sleep a total of 15-16 hours in a day which includes naps and nighttime sleep. Typically, by 4months the baby has started to develop regular wake and sleep pattern and has dropped most of the night feeding.
However, it does not mean you should impose a rigid sleep program on a baby in the 4 to 6 months bracket. In fact, the baby has already developed a sleep pattern that fits well into your family life. Though, it is good to help the baby sleep longer and keep more regular hours by trying sleep training.
Note that every baby is on a development schedule that is unique. Carefully observe how the baby reacts to the sleep training program. If from your monitoring the baby is not ready, just slow down and try again in a couple of weeks.
Sleeping through the night
Babies between 4 – 6 months are capable of sleeping for longer hours at a stretch at night. When it happens, you can get through a few sleep cycles and rest more in the morning. However, not all babies sleep through the night. Many babies still wake up at least once at night for feeding during the 4-6 months stage. By 6months, the baby is most likely to be ready for night weaning if that is what you want.
Waking up again
If the bay is sleeping for several hours at night, enjoy it. However, babies who sleep through the night for months or weeks may begin to wake up. Therefore, don’t be surprised if your baby is waking up after some hours again. It is called sleep regression, and it is common during spurts in development but temporary. The baby may be increasingly socially aware and wakes up crying for your company. Alternatively, the baby may be working very hard to master new skills such as sitting up or rolling over that he/she practices them in their sleep and ends up waking up in the process.
Signs of 4-month regression
- Change in appetite the baby feeds less or more than usual
- Increased fussiness and crying both during the day and at bedtime
- Shorter naps or missing naps
- Frequent night wakings
How to establish healthy sleep habits. Below are a few tips you can use to help your baby sleep well at 4-6 months.
1. Establish a regular nap time and stick with them
Newborn babies are easy to predict as when they are feeling sleepy, they start to rub their eyes, pull their ears or so on. However, now that the baby is 4-6monthsold, you need to establish a regular bedtime and a consistent nap time to regulate the baby’s sleep patterns.
Some babies not off naturally by 6 pm every night. Bother babies stay awake up until 8 pm or later. Your household routine can affect the bedtime too.
Choose a reasonable bedtime that fits into your family schedule and stick to that time as much as possible. If the baby seems to want to be awake past their bedtime, the energetic late-night behavior is a signs that your baby is tired.
Start to plan naps for a particular time every day like 9 am, noon or 3 pm. Consequently, you can put the baby down for almost two hours after waking up as long as the baby is getting enough sleep opportunities.
If your baby is having a hard time getting some sleep or staying asleep whether at night or during naps, try putting your baby down sooner. When babies are too tired, they make it hard to settle down and have a restful sleep.
2. Start developing a bedtime routine.
Now is the right time to develop a bedtime routine. Your ritual should include giving your baby a bath or changing them up for bed or reading a bedtime story. You can also sing a lullaby and give a goodnight kiss.
Choose a routine that works best for your family as long as you do it in the same order at the same exact time every night. Remember that babies thrive on consistency.
3. Wake the child up in the morning to set the daily clock
It is fine to wake the baby up in the morning is the baby sleeps past the usual waking time. The action helps to set the daily clock. Your baby needs to stick to the regular wake/sleep pattern and recharge with naps in the day. Waking your baby up at the same time each morning helps to keep the baby on a predictable sleep schedule.
4. Encourage the baby to fall asleep independently.
Everyone including adults wake up several times at night for a brief period from a few seconds to a few minutes. However, adults put themselves back to sleep every time and do not remember doing that.
The ability to get back to sleep is important in snoozing through the night. Some babies can do it naturally. However, it the baby does not, then he/she require to master that skill. One way to do that is by putting the baby down when they are drowsy but awake. If the baby wakes up at night, wait for some minutes before you get up to feed or comfort him/her. Give the baby a chance to settle down on their own.
Sometimes the baby needs more sleep, and you think he/she is ready. Try a more involved sleep training method. The options include cry-it-out, no-cry, and fading techniques. Your parenting style will determine what works best for your baby. Consequently, the baby’s particular needs and your personal beliefs can play a role.
Babies at this stage start experiencing an increase in brain development and are learning their environment and social interactions. For the brain to develop best, the baby must enjoy a good nap and bedtime rest. It is important to take action and instill healthy baby sleep to help them develop better. You can try self-soothing by putting the baby down gently and let them fall to sleep on their own.