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Why a 4-month-old baby doesn’t sleep well - reasons, doctor’s recommendations

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Author of the article

Lyudmila Sergeevna Sokolova Pediatrician of the highest category

Reading time: 4 minutes


Article last updated: 01/03/2019

Even full-term babies are born with a nervous system that is not fully developed. And every child has problems with sleep. For good and proper development, the baby simply needs to get enough sleep. Only then will he be cheerful and development will go faster.

The appearance of diaper rash

A 4 month old baby spends a lot of time lying down.
He hasn't really learned to roll over yet. And some don’t even try to do this. If you like to wear diapers often, this is an additional impetus for irritation on the baby's skin. The baby may not sleep well during the day precisely for this reason. Putting on diapers means maintaining hygiene. But many parents think that using such a magic trick frees them from frequent washing of their butts. This is not entirely true. Rather, it frees you from frequent washing of clothes. But the main function of diapers is convenience for the child. It is correct to wear this attribute while the baby is sleeping or on the road. During home wakefulness, you can remove it so that the child can take air baths.

All the same, when the baby poops, you need to change the diaper and wash the baby. After all, a newborn’s stool has an acidic environment and quickly corrodes delicate skin. And it’s unlikely that anyone will be able to sleep with severe diaper rash.

What to do if your child doesn't sleep well?

In order for your baby to fall asleep easily, the home environment should be calm and comfortable. Optimal temperature and humidity in the room, ventilation during the day, bathing and a hearty dinner no later than eight o'clock in the evening will allow a 3-month-old child to sleep as long as it takes to rest.

If you put your baby to bed later, he will most likely be more capricious and tired, and the process of falling asleep will take an indefinite amount of time. Therefore, the child’s activity should not be a priority for a young mother. By putting your baby to bed at the same time, you can avoid many sleep problems.

Children who have confused day with night need to be shown the difference in the day. A lot of light and noise indicate hours of wakefulness and short sleep; dim light and silence indicate the onset of long rest.

If your baby sleeps a lot during the day and doesn’t want to go to bed at night, you don’t need to follow his lead. Let there be more light in the room in the morning, the TV on, household members talking loudly, and in the evening, on the contrary, soothing music will be turned on, communication is conducted in a whisper, and the room is illuminated only with the help of a table lamp.

Of course, solving the problem will not be easy. It will take a lot of time and patience for a baby to stop confusing day and night. But the benefits of the achieved regime will have a positive impact on the well-being of both the baby and his parents.

Knowing the answer to the question of how much sleep a baby should sleep at 3 months is too little. It is also necessary to take into account the needs of your baby, since all children are individual. Some are born bright fidgets, others, on the contrary, are ready to sleep a lot day and night, becoming real “sleepyheads” for their mother.

How much sleep per day does a 3 month old baby need? On average, the duration of rest at this age is 14-17 hours during the day. To get closer to this figure, parents must provide their baby with a comfortable environment for relaxation and try to establish his routine. Sufficient walks in the fresh air, regular bathing, established breast or artificial feeding and a calm atmosphere in the family can help with this. Under these conditions, a healthy, cheerful child of 3 months will not have problems sleeping well during the day or at night.

How to help your child

Why does a child fart often - tips for parents

It is important that moms and dads understand: it is impossible to avoid regression. The only thing you can really do is survive it, endure it. Here's how you can help your baby:

  • Remain patient and optimistic. This is not easy when you want to sleep on your own, but it is extremely important for a little person who is completely dependent on his parents. Adults need to understand: these are not whims, but a real difficulty that the baby cannot cope with on his own;
  • Prevent children from lack of sleep and overwork. We need to do everything to ensure that the baby gets enough sleep. You may have to resort to those methods that you wanted to avoid: rocking on your arms, sleeping together. If you don’t want to accustom your baby to them, alternate these methods. The main thing is that the baby gets enough rest, otherwise the load on the nervous system will increase.


  • Develop a sleep ritual. This is a set of actions that will help the child understand that it is time to rest. For example, give him a bath, give him a massage, read a book, put him to bed and sing a lullaby. So - every day at the same time, in the same sequence.
  • Adjust your rest regime. If nap time is scheduled at 12:30 p.m., but the child is already lethargic at 11 a.m., it is better to put him to rest early. Moreover, during periods of regression, sleep becomes shorter. It is better to fall asleep at night between 19.00-20.30. It is at this time that the production of the sleep hormone (melatonin) is increased.

If the baby does not sleep well for a long time, and the help of parents does not have any effect, you should consult a doctor. Perhaps the little person needs specialist help. You cannot turn a blind eye to this - inaction will have a bad effect on the baby in the future.

Why does a child refuse to sleep?

A baby's sleep changes at 3 months. At this age, babies begin to become interested in everything that happens around them, as a result of which their daily routine may change. From a recent “sleepyhead”, by the age of three months a baby can turn into a fidget who sleeps poorly during the day and is capricious at night.

Sleep disturbances in infants occur due to various reasons.

If a child at 3 months begins to sleep poorly during the day and at night, the reasons may be as follows:

  • disease;
  • family situation;
  • organization of recreation;
  • mode failure.

If day or night sleep is ignored and there is no effect from motion sickness, the child’s well-being should be assessed.

Need to analyze:

  • whether his appetite has changed;
  • how many hours did the baby sleep last night;
  • number of awakenings.

If a 3-month-old child sleeps poorly, regardless of the time of day, he may have a fever, a tummy ache from colic, or teething. Health problems primarily cause sleep disorders. Therefore, if a 3-month-old child sleeps restlessly at night and hardly rests during the day, you need to contact a pediatrician, who will try to find out the reason for what is happening and tell him what to do.

Some babies strive to sleep on their stomach almost from birth. Many young mothers follow the lead of their baby, believing that this position soothes stomach cramps. But experts are categorically against this approach.

The method of lying on your tummy for a few minutes during the day, but not sleeping in a similar position, solves the fight against flatulence. Of course, all children are individual, but a child should not sleep on his stomach at 3 months. This prohibition applies to all children under six months of age.

If your baby sleeps on his stomach, he may not wake up from a lack of oxygen caused by inhaling vomit or nasal congestion. This position also negatively affects the formation of his spine.

In case of frequent conflicts in the family, the baby begins to experience anxiety, which also affects his daily routine. What to do if a 3-month-old child sleeps little or poorly during the day? Perhaps think about the home atmosphere. In a family where calm and peace reign, all conditions have been created for the harmonious development of the baby.

Also, the fact that the baby does not sleep well at night is affected by the microclimate in the children's room. High ambient temperatures, dry air, too warm bedding - all this leads to restless sleep. It is not difficult to solve this problem by creating conditions for a comfortable stay. A mother will not encounter the fact that her 3-month-old child sleeps poorly and anxiously if the room temperature is about 22°C and the humidity is more than 50%.

And another reason why your baby’s sleep suffers is a busy day or overstimulation. For example, a baby may sleep restlessly because of guests who arrived the day before or a large number of new impressions. Active knowledge of the world consumes enormous resources of the child’s body, so it is not surprising that against this background, a child’s daytime or nighttime sleep at 3 months will be temporarily affected.

Additionally, the problem when failures occur in the mode appears due to the fact that the baby has confused day with night. This situation is familiar to most parents. If a child at 3 months sleeps a lot during the day and rests in the form of intermittent sleep for 40 minutes at night, then he does not feel the difference between the times of day

In this case, it is important to show him this difference by establishing the baby’s daily routine.

How long should a child under one year sleep?

There is such a thing as a “flexible child”. Almost from birth, he develops his own sleep and wakefulness patterns. Feeling tired, he will sleep as much as his body requires. Such babies do not have problems sleeping, and when they wake up at night, they fall asleep on their own. They don't need outside help.

But not all kids are like that. Most people need help in organizing rest, and for this, the mother must know the recommended sleep standards.

In a newborn, the average duration of sleep is 18 hours a day, decreasing during the development and maturation of the central nervous system by the year to 12–14 hours.

For the first 4 weeks of life, newborns sleep almost all the time, waking up every 1-3 hours for 15-60 minutes to feed. The duration of daytime and night sleep is approximately the same, 8–10 hours each.

By two months, the duration of daytime sleep in relation to nighttime sleep begins to decrease; now the baby sleeps 6–7 hours during the day, and 9–11 at night, waking up to feed. At this age, you can begin to accustom your baby to a daily routine, and then many of the possible causes of sleep disturbance will disappear.

Starting from 3 months, the number of daytime naps gradually decreases, from 4 times every three months to 1–2 times a year. As a rule, most babies begin to take one nap during the day by the age of 1.5 years.

By the age of one year, the baby sleeps 13–15 hours a day, of which 2–3 hours during the day and 10–12 at night.
*On a mobile device there is horizontal scrolling at the bottom of the table

Sleep norm for a child from birth to one year
AgeTotal sleep duration, hours
NightDaily / Number of timesTotal per day
0–4 weeks8–108–10, sleep 1–3 hours with short wake intervals of 15–60 minutes16-20
1-2 months9–116–7 / 4–5 times17-19
3–4 months10–124–6 / 3–4 times16-18
5–6 months10–123–4 / 3–4 times15-17
7–9 months10–122–4 / 2–3 times13-15
10–12 months10–122–3/2 times12-14
13–18 months10–11,52–2.5 / 1–2 times12-13,5
1.5–2.5 years10–111.5–2.5 / 1 time11,5-13

The table shows average sleep standards for full-term healthy babies. Depending on the type of feeding and temperament, some babies will sleep a little less, while others will need more time for proper rest. The main criterion for “norm” is the child’s well-being and curiosity.

The dangers of regular sleep deprivation

Sleep affects a baby's growth, learning, and emotional development. Lack or poor quality of sleep in an infant can lead to the following:

  • retardation in physical and (or) mental development;
  • overexcitement, manifestations of aggression;
  • chronic fatigue, nervous system disorder;
  • weak immunity.

Austrian scientists conducted a study and found that children with chronic sleep deficiency have decreased brain activity, they become irritable, prone to hysterics and aggression.

The sympathetic nervous system of such babies does not relax, this leads to problems with the gastrointestinal tract, the baby’s body reacts poorly to medications, and there is a predisposition to gaining excess weight.

To prevent the risk of chronic sleep deprivation, you need to understand the reasons for your baby’s poor sleep and eliminate them. This must be done as early as possible to avoid serious consequences.

Sleep norm

How much sleep does a 4 month old baby need to get proper rest? It is believed that every month the number of hours spent on sleep decreases. And a 4-month-old toddler spends about 16 hours on this. At night, rest lasts approximately 9 hours. But many wake up 2 or even 3 times during this time to feed. During the day, the child sleeps with breaks for about 5 hours.

If your child sleeps little during the day, count how much time he sleeps at night. It may take him up to 12 hours to sleep at night. Then it is not surprising that in the daytime it is applied to the pillow 3 times for 40 minutes. This is quite enough for him.

But if in total it turns out that the child sleeps no more than 12 hours a day, you should think about it and take a closer look at the child. Most likely, something is bothering him. And if there are still problems with how to put the baby to bed, these are additional difficulties. Let's try to understand the reasons for such poor quality sleep.

Bad feeling

If your child begins to have trouble sleeping during the day, monitor his health. Often the cause may be illness or poor health. Adults will not always be able to catch the first signs of the disease, because there is no sniffles or fever. And the baby began to be capricious, perhaps his nose was already itching. These first signs of a cold infection make it difficult for a 4-month-old baby to sleep. But an attentive parent will definitely notice additional symptoms:

  • The child began to eat poorly, maybe even refuse food.
  • The playfulness and mood disappeared.
  • The gaze is fixed on one point, the child is not interested in anything. In this case, it won't hurt to use a thermometer. After all, temperature often appears first, while there are no other visible reasons.
  • Look into the baby's mouth; perhaps the first tooth is the culprit. In this case, the temperature often rises, diarrhea and excessive salivation occur. In rare cases, vomiting and liquid sniffles from the nose (not colds) occur.

If the reason is a tooth, purchase a teether and cooling gels. The temperature begins to drop after 38 degrees. Watch for its increase if it occurs. A strong high surge can lead to seizures. Remember this.

Don't forget about plenty of liquid. Let the baby drink a little, with a teaspoon, but often. After taking the right measures, the child will be able to sleep.

But there is another problem that falls under the “health” category. And nowadays it is very common. Most children are born with neurological diagnoses. This occurs due to oxygen starvation in the womb. Therefore, if you cannot put your 4-month-old baby to sleep, seek help from a specialist. But there is one distinctive feature. If for other reasons the child can sleep at least at night, then with neurology, especially severe ones, there is no sleep either day or night. The baby sleeps in short bursts. And this is not enough for a good rest. Constant screaming accompanies lack of sleep. Contact a good neurologist if your child behaves this way.

Problems with the gastrointestinal tract

Bloating and gas are a serious problem for which a complete solution has never been invented. The baby's digestive system is very imperfect. She is not adapted to environmental conditions, because after birth the child begins to eat. By six months, complementary foods appear in the diet, which also carries an additional burden.

Those children who start complementary feeding at 4 months deserve special attention. Of course, these are artificial. The already immature digestive system suffers, and light purees add problems. But nothing can be done; the only option is to choose the right diet.

If the child is breastfed, the mother must monitor her diet. We must remember that the intestines absorb milk well, which is why this reaction to nutrition occurs. A nursing mother should stop eating foods that cause bloating.

If a 4-month-old baby does not sleep, crying from pain when taking artificial formulas, you need to think about changing the formula. Fermented milk and enzymatic options usually help out in such cases.

Why does a child sleep little during the day, because his tummy can hurt at night? The fact is that up to 5 months, babies start crying at about the same time. After all, their diet occurs on an hourly basis. The body has simply chosen certain hours for screaming and crying. How can you sleep if it’s time to cry from stomach pain?

And remember Helpful Tips

  • Once you establish sleep, your baby may change dramatically. As a rule, growth spurts and teeth change your usual routine. You just need to get through this period, returning to good habits will not be difficult.
  • You should not react to the slightest cry of the baby, perhaps he dreamed of something and he himself is able to calm down and fall asleep, as a rule, this is a short, fading cry. Learn to recognize your baby's cries. There is also “mantra” crying, it is quiet, mournful, subsiding at the end of each session - the child does not start yelling, does not express indignation, does not call. Many children calm themselves down by crying like this.
  • Don't let your baby stay awake for too long.
  • Your child is an individual, do not go against his natural rhythms. For some babies, a strict daily routine and certain rules are suitable, but for some it can turn into stress.
  • Change mode smoothly. “Small changes in the routine are often unnoticeable to the child, but a serious disruption can negatively affect the child’s condition. A child who lives according to a routine gets used to the predictability of actions and, if something changes unexpectedly, he can become very upset.”
  • After a year, children tend to hide signs of fatigue and often do not look sleepy at all in the evening. But since the child still gets tired during the day, the body helps him cope with drowsiness and fatigue with increased activity, producing the “activity hormone” cortisol. Cortisol triggers activating processes in the body, including in the brain, which is why it is so difficult for a child who has had too much fun to calm down and fall asleep. And having woken up at night, the baby cannot fall asleep due to the excitement “undigested” by the body.

Your child is a living person; before he falls asleep, he needs time to calm down and get ready for sleep. He cannot fall asleep immediately at your request! Prepare your child for bed with gentle words, explain to him that now is the time to rest, restore strength, kiss him, sing a song in a quiet, calm voice, read a book. It is advisable that these are repeated actions day after day - a “ritual” and the child will understand that now is time for sleep.

Very often, nerves are at their limit and it seems that the baby will never learn to fall asleep on his own, to fall asleep without crying, to fall asleep without crawling on his mother)) Don’t despair, continue to help the baby fall asleep, teach him useful habits. It takes time to see the result, do not deviate from the plan you have outlined for yourself, in 100% of cases stick to it, your little one will definitely test you for the strength of your intentions))

Very often, parents note problems with night sleep that arise in a child at the age of four months. The baby, who previously slept well for the allotted time, suddenly becomes capricious, cries, sleeps poorly, and constantly wakes up. What happened and what should be done in this case?

When the baby's sleep is disrupted, the parents' quiet rest also disappears.

Causes and solution to the problem

There are a number of possible reasons that provoke insomnia in a baby.

Features of age. It is believed that the baby sleeps at night, waking up only to feed, but this is not so. Sleep consists of two alternating phases: deep and superficial. The ratio of their duration in adults and newborns is different. In adults, deep sleep predominates; in children, the phases are the same. Such sensitivity does not allow the child to fully rest; he wakes up from every rustle. By the end of 4 months, the baby's sleep becomes deeper. Some experts recommend taking your child to your bed so that you can immediately hear if he wakes up. However, others are categorically against such a decision, because there is a danger of accidentally strangling the child. You can purchase a special add-on crib. It is placed next to the parents' bed. Mom does not need to get up at night and go to another room to calm the baby. Wrong daily routine. You cannot adjust the baby’s routine to your own. It is also not recommended to increase his daytime sleep

It is very important to put your child to bed and wake up at the same time, even if he doesn’t feel like it. In addition, it is recommended to organize active games during the daytime.

At 4 months the baby begins to roll over. He can be encouraged to turn with toys. During the day he will get tired and sleep better. Child's temperament. Character is formed in the womb. A baby can be emotional, very impressionable, and demanding of attention. At 4 months, children often “lose” their mother, and they so need to feel protected. You need to devote a lot of time to the baby. Unexpected changes in life. Insomnia can be caused by any event, such as moving to another place. The flow of information received during the day overloads the child's nervous system. He feels anxious and wakes up frequently. To calm the baby, you can add herbs to the bath when bathing, or give a relaxing massage before bed. Uncomfortable bed. It is better to choose an elastic mattress so that it supports the back. Soft down pillows should not be used. Bed linen should be made from natural fabrics. Not enough air. The recommended temperature in the nursery is not higher than 20°C, humidity up to 70%. If the room is stuffy, the child’s nasal passages will become clogged with crusts formed from thickened mucus. Overheating. Newborns get colder than adults, but this does not mean that they need to be wrapped up tightly or dressed too warmly. The child should not be allowed to sweat. Otherwise, you can provoke not only sleep disturbances, but also the occurrence of miliaria and dermatitis. Tight swaddling. It is recommended to swaddle your baby only in the first couple of months of life. Later, the baby begins to actively move his arms and legs. Tight swaddling causes protest. Diapers should be loosened or discarded. Low quality diaper. A bad filler does not absorb moisture; a too tight fit will injure the skin. Diapers should be purchased from trusted manufacturers. Hunger. If the mother's milk supply has decreased, the baby should be given formula in the evening. Before going to bed, you should feed with breast milk that has accumulated at this point. You can check that the baby is not eating enough using control weighing. Binge eating. This problem rarely occurs. To avoid this, do not feed your baby formula before putting him to bed. Bad feeling. The cause of poor sleep can be either a common cold or a more serious illness. It is necessary to contact a pediatrician to make sure that everything is in order with the baby’s health.

A child at 4 months is just beginning to get used to the world around him. He reacts sensitively to any external stimuli, but cannot yet communicate what is preventing him from falling asleep. In addition, the newborn is very afraid of “losing” his mother. Therefore, the main task of parents is to pay as much attention to the baby as possible, then not a single detail will go unnoticed by them.

Why does my baby wake up at night?

Why does an 11-month-old baby sleep poorly at night and wake up frequently?

Even an adult, not just a child, can wake up in the middle of the night. This is normal up to a certain point. A baby's sleep may be interrupted for the following reasons:

  • He was awakened by an external disturbance. If, for example, something falls from the closet in the room, both the baby and his parents are likely to wake up. A sharp and loud sound is a signal to the human brain that “something is wrong.” Therefore the dream will be interrupted. The same can be said about a push, a blow, a bright light.
  • The pain bothers him. If your baby wakes up abruptly and cries for 4 months in a row, it may be colic. For some, they last longer, up to six months. If not colic, then the teeth can make themselves felt - sometimes they torment babies for a long time, breaking through the gums. Or, as an option, the baby gets sick, his nose is stuffy, and he has a headache.
  • He had a vivid dream. Children dream about them too. The dream can be frightening. They say that babies remember their birth, and this is a rather difficult and scary process not only for the mother. Even if the sleep is more peaceful, it is important to remember that the baby still has a fragile nervous system. He can be awakened by trembling arms, legs, his own crying or laughter.

baby crying

Interesting. When a child learns to roll over on his stomach, sit down or stand up, he can change the position of his body in his sleep. Then he will begin to roar when he wakes up - it is not clear to him why he suddenly woke up. He still doesn't know how to control himself.

  • Sleep regression. Everyone knows that children grow and mature not at a constant speed, but in fragments and periods. Each such leap (progress) is accompanied by regression, a rollback, including in relation to sleep. This is a complex phenomenon, which is discussed in more detail below.
  • Hunger. Babies eat often.

Why does your baby often eat at night?

An adult can go 8-10 hours without eating at night and still feel fine. This is due to the fact that during sleep the body goes into an energy-saving mode. People don’t load their brains with work tasks and don’t move, so their energy is spent sparingly, and they have enough dinner until the morning.

In the case of children, everything is a little different. The fact is that babies under one year old grow especially actively. The average increase in height during this time is 30 cm, which is a lot. The functioning of internal organs is improved, the nervous system is strengthened, and the brain develops. A child will not grow and mature so actively in any other year of his life. That is, energy consumption both during the day and at night is very high. Therefore, it is considered normal for a baby to wake up to eat every three hours. If, of course, after eating he falls asleep normally again.

Night feeding

Some children can sleep for a long time without waking up - 5-6 hours in a row. This doesn't happen often. Usually these kids are quite calm, their parents adhere to a strict daily routine.

Note! In very exceptional cases, the baby is able to sleep the whole night without waking up. This is also a variant of the norm. There is no need to wake up your baby specifically for feeding. If the mother is afraid of losing milk (although lactation is already established by 4 months), then she should use a breast pump.

Sleep regression and its signs

Previously, the topic of regression was touched upon as one of the causes of poor sleep. If a 4-month-old child often wakes up abruptly at night and has difficulty falling asleep, this may also turn out to be normal. The point is an important hormonal change that affects the entire body. Including the nervous system, changes in which occur not only during periods of wakefulness, but also during sleep. This causes him to regress. The symptoms of this phenomenon are:

  • The quality of sleep has deteriorated, both at night and during the day. It is more restless, often interrupted, shorter than usual;
  • It becomes very difficult to put the baby to bed. He cannot fall asleep for a long time, he does not want to do so;
  • The baby is generally more capricious and roars a lot. Both stress (stress on the psyche) and poor sleep as the inability to rest normally play a role here;

The child does not fit well

  • The baby becomes completely tame and needs more attention from his mother. It's simple - he doesn't feel well, he feels more protected in his arms;
  • The child's appetite increases. Firstly, a growth spurt means increased energy consumption, so food is needed more often. Secondly, toddlers are calmed by the sucking process itself.

Briefly, this regression can be described as follows: a sudden and causeless deterioration in sleep. It is not associated with any external conditions, the child and his mother are healthy. It lasts from a couple of weeks to 1.5 months. The period depends on the individual characteristics of the baby himself and on how his parents help him.

Other reasons

But more often than not, a 4-month-old baby does not sleep well at night, not only because of sleep regression. Mom has not yet mastered all the intricacies of caring for the baby and, quite possibly, makes mistakes that significantly reduce the quality of night's sleep:

  1. Uncomfortable bed. The baby should not be placed on soft mattresses or feather beds. The mattress should be firm enough to provide good back support. No pillows, especially down ones! There is no need to teach your child to sleep in a cradle or stroller, otherwise it will be difficult to transfer him to a crib. Bedding is made only from natural fabrics.
  2. Stifling air. The air in the baby's bedroom should be cool, with a temperature no higher than 18-20 ° C and humidity from 50 to 70%. It is difficult for a baby to breathe in a stuffy room. His narrow nasal passages become clogged with crusts formed from thickened mucus. The child experiences a catastrophic lack of oxygen. It is quite natural that he wakes up and cries.
  3. Overheating. Many mothers are very afraid of “freezing” their baby and wrap him up endlessly. Indeed, infants get colder and should be dressed warmer than adults. But if the baby sweats all the time, then he will get sick even more. Overheating overloads the cardiovascular system, disrupts thermoregulation that has not yet fully formed and provokes the appearance of miliaria, and later dermatitis.
  4. Binge eating. An increased appetite does not mean that the baby can’t be limited in food. Night feeding should in no case contain complementary foods (if you are already giving it) or a high concentration of the formula. It is difficult to control how much milk a baby has sucked from the breast, but overeating during breastfeeding is extremely rare.
  5. Hunger. And this problem is more often faced by nursing mothers, whose milk supply decreases due to overwork and constant lack of sleep, and it is no longer able to satisfy the child’s growing appetite. This can be checked by control weighing. And if it turns out that the baby is malnourished, then it is better to replace evening feeding with formula. And at night let him suckle at the breast, in which more milk will have time to accumulate.
  6. Tight swaddling. Every day the child becomes more and more active. He already quite consciously controls his arms and legs and is able to turn around in bed at night. If in the first months of his life tight swaddling reminded him of lying in a cramped womb and calmed him down, now it can cause protests. Try loosening the diapers at night or avoiding them altogether.
  7. Poor quality diaper. The source of many problems: frequent awakenings at night, diaper rash, dermatitis. There are no small details in this hygiene product: a bad filler does not completely absorb moisture or does not do it quickly enough, a loose fit of the elastic bands allows urine to come out, too tight - it injures delicate skin, low-quality material creates a greenhouse effect. Therefore, if you use diapers, then buy them only from trusted manufacturers.

But all these reasons are relatively easy to eliminate. And if you take the necessary measures, then even against the backdrop of ongoing sleep regression, the baby will fall asleep faster and rest longer.

Unfortunately, there is another factor that immediately affects the quality of sleep - illness or pain.

The baby is 4 months old, what is happening with sleep?

One of the frequent requests for individual consultations with me: a child at 4 months began to sleep poorly.

This is not a very easy period and every child goes through it.

The reason for this: the child begins to sleep like an adult. Previously, after falling asleep, he immediately entered the deep sleep phase. And now he first falls asleep in a shallow sleep, when “he can wake up from every silent rustle” and only after 20-30 minutes does he enter the deep phase of sleep.

Nowadays you can increasingly come across the name - sleep regression or sleep crisis (read the article Sleep regression at 4 months>>>). But I don't like this word.

Immediately there is a feeling of a problem, of difficulties that mothers urgently run to solve.

But the child is constantly growing and going through crises.

  1. Started crawling?
  2. Learning to sit?
  3. Taking your first steps?

All this affects the child’s character and his sleep. But you don’t run to the hospital to be prescribed medicine to treat crawling, do you?

So it is with sleep crises. They are closely related to the psychological characteristics of a child’s growing up.

For example:

At 4 months, the child fell into a shallow sleep, he has not yet fallen asleep deeply, and you, out of habit, have already put him down and are in a hurry to leave the room to do housework;

The child wakes up immediately.

He already understands that you are gone, but he does not know how long you will be gone. Therefore, every departure is regarded as “I was abandoned.” This is another reason why a 4 month old baby sleeps poorly.

  • At 6 months, a child often does not get enough sleep due to teething, and during the day he gains new impressions (read the article on the topic: What should a child at 6 months be able to do?>>>). Therefore, the sleep schedule goes to hell again;
  • At 9 months, the baby actively explores the world around him, learns to speak, communicate with loved ones and peers. Every day of the little restless one is filled with emotions that the child’s psyche is not yet able to cope with (article on the topic: What can a child at 9 months do?>>>);
  • At one year of age, the child begins to develop his first childhood fears (darkness, loneliness, sharp sounds). He already understands and experiences a lot, but he cannot explain everything. As a result, sleep suffers again.

You will learn about the peculiarities of a child's growing up, his rhythms of sleep and feeding, the rules of upbringing, from the online course My Favorite Baby: Secrets of the Development and Raising of a Child up to One Year>>>.

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It will not be possible to overcome the sleep crisis at 4 months unless you work through a moment of psychological calm.

And this includes care, development, education and communication with the child.

It is not difficult to understand that you are faced with a sleep crisis at 4 months and that it is the cause of poor and sensitive sleep, because obvious signs appear:

  1. The child actively resists being put to bed - be it during the day or at night (read the article on the topic: Baby does not sleep well during the day>>>);
  2. He no longer wants to sleep in the crib alone, he constantly demands your presence;
  3. You can put the baby to sleep with “auxiliary tricks”, such as rocking or breastfeeding, but it’s not possible to put the baby to bed. Wake up immediately;
  4. He began to sleep lightly in a car or in a stroller, during walks, and wakes up from the slightest extraneous noise. For example, from the barking of a dog, the sound of a horn or a ringing mobile phone;
  5. A 4-month-old child sleeps poorly at night, begins to wake up frequently, and becomes capricious when put to sleep again. This is especially noticeable if such a baby previously slept soundly like an angelic sleep all night;
  6. Morning awakening can become extremely early - 5-6 am, and the child is already awake.

By the way! This first sleep crisis may begin later if the baby was born premature - in proportion to the period of prematurity. For example, in seven-month-old babies, regression may occur at about 6 months.

Sleep routine

At any age, parents of a newborn encounter certain difficulties, and the explanation for this is intensive growth and development before the age of one year. The baby continues to grow after a year, but it is in infancy that the nervous, digestive system and some centers of the brain, which are imperfect after intrauterine development, are finally formed. A one-month-old baby is significantly different from a newly born one; by 4 months, development allows it to acquire many functions that it did not possess at an earlier age. In one month, he often goes through more transformations than at other ages in a year.


Although there are certain pediatric standards for sleep in infants, these are the results of an average generalization of the research data obtained. During the day, a baby can sleep from 3 to 4 hours:

  • long rest 1-2 times, about 2 hours;
  • short-term – also 1-2, from half an hour to an hour.

The mistake of many mothers, especially young and inexperienced ones, is the desire to fit a 4-month-old baby to the standards, without taking into account the characteristics of his individual growth and the specifics of the nervous system. Sometimes at 4 months a child does not sleep well during the day due to the fact that he slept more hours at night and did not have time to get tired enough in the morning.


The process can also have the opposite impulse: a 4-month-old child does not sleep well at night because he slept a lot during the day. At this age, the baby can sleep on a different schedule, but the total number of hours of sleep should be 15-16. Whether he will sleep for the allotted time of two hours, and doze off for half-hour breaks during the day, and get the rest of the time at night, depends on the feeding schedule.

The feeding schedule also changes by this age, and infants tend to fall asleep after eating, which requires a larger volume. During this period, some children sleep all night without food and wake up at night, which naturally leads to a shortening of daytime sleep. If you put him to bed according to the previous schedule, falling asleep will be difficult, and the baby will sleep worse.

Night sleep should have a duration that makes up for what the little person did not receive during the day, or be reduced if more time was spent resting during the day. No desire to rock, no violent measures can change this. But there is parental love and ways of gently transferring to the prescribed routine, intelligently arranging the day and thereby calming the night.

A child who needs additional feeding at night will wake up from a feeling of hunger, and sleep more during the day, because the night's rest was shorter and was accompanied by breaks.

If we add here the peculiarities of formation and the onset of age-related changes, a restless age will receive a completely logical explanation. There are no particular reasons for parental concern if waking up outside of school hours is not accompanied by pathological signs indicating the presence of a disease.

Early child awakening

All babies and young children enter light sleep between 5:00 and 6:00 am. Some calm down and fall asleep for another hour, but many do not. I believe that whether a child will wake up early depends on two factors. The first is the darkness in the nursery. I place a lot of emphasis on keeping the nursery very dark, but I truly believe that is why most of my children quickly fall asleep again when they enter light sleep at 5:00-6:00 am. When the door is closed in the nursery and the curtains are drawn, it should be so dark that even the outlines of books and toys are not visible. The sight of these things can be enough to wake a child from his nap and make him want to start the day.

How parents feel about early awakening in the first three months determines whether the child will then get up early. In the first few weeks of life, a baby who wakes and eats between 2:00 and 2:30 may wake up around 6:00 in the morning and be really hungry. But this feeding must be carried out as a night feeding. It should happen as quietly and quickly as possible, by the light of a small night lamp and without conversation or eye contact. Then the child must be put to bed again until 7:00-7:30. If possible, try not to change the diaper because this usually wakes up babies.

When a child begins to sleep and eat closer to 4:00, at 6:00 he usually wakes up not from hunger. This is the only situation where I recommend parents help their child fall asleep. At this point, the most important thing is to get him back to sleep quickly, even if that means cuddles and a pacifier, before 7:00.

Here are some tips to help prevent your baby from waking up early:

  • Don't use a night light or leave the door open after you put your baby to bed. Research shows that in the dark, the brain produces different chemicals in preparation for sleep. Even the slightest ray of light can be enough to wake a baby as he enters the first stage of light sleep.
  • Children up to six months old can wake up because the blanket has been thrown off. I can tell you from experience that at this age children sleep better if they are properly covered and tucked. The sheet must be laid across the crib so that there is at least 20 cm tucked in on the far side and 10 cm on the near side. I also recommend rolling up a small towel and placing it between the wall of the bed and the mattress on the near side.
  • Babies who climb in and out of the crib will sleep better if they are placed in a lightweight 100% cotton sleeping bag and tucked with a sheet as described above. Depending on the weather, blankets may not be needed.
  • Once your baby begins to move in the crib and learns to roll, I encourage you to remove the sheets and blankets and use only the sleeping bag. This will give your child the opportunity to move freely, and you won't have to worry about him getting cold at night. Choose a sleeping bag that is appropriate for the time of year.
  • Don't stop feeding at 10:30 pm until your baby is six months old and starting to eat solids. If he goes into a period of rapid growth before he starts eating solids, he can be given more milk at this time. This reduces the chance of waking up early from hunger, which can happen if you stop feeding too early at 10:30 pm.
  • Once your baby is over six months old and you stop feeding at 10:30 pm, he should be encouraged to stay awake until 7 pm. If your baby enters deep sleep earlier, they are more likely to wake up before 7:00 am.
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