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We are a few days into month 4 and the night time sleep is quickly unraveling. We've gone from a baby who would sleep 5-6 hours at a stretch to one who is up every 3 hours and desperate to nurse. Please tell me this is temporary, I am back to work and feel like a complete zombie. I'm torn, I don't want to deny food/comfort if she really needs it but I also don't want to start any bad habits and encourage more frequent night waking (when she wakes she eats then goes back to sleep - she's not up to play). I'm very anxious to hear what those of you who are on the other side of this haze have to say!


at four months (well...four and a half) my kid woke up one night screaming, and hasn't slept through the night since. (he had done before that)
Hope everyone has better luck than me! gah!


I did not know there was a sleep regression at 4 months! Well, actually I guess I did know because I am in the throes of it. Max has been a great sleeper from day 1 but just in the past 2 weeks he has been waking up every 2 hours or so through the night and wanting to nurse. I started back to work when he was 15 weeks (he's 19 weeks now)and he's in daycare 2x per week, and home with dad the other 3. I was wondering if he's not getting enough calories during the day (taking 3 6 oz bottles of pumped milk) and so needs to bulk up at night. Prior to going back to work he was down at 7, up for nibbles at 2 or 2:30 and then up for the day at 6. One lousy side-effect of his being up all the time at night and eating is that he has been pooping at night, rather forcefully and it scares him. I feel bad for laughing but keeping a sense of humor about it is really helping me.


This is such a personal issue, but I am really of the camp that says "they need what they need." I remember 4 months as being a real struggle--it was naps more than nighttime for us, but she was up at night every 3 hours to eat and then go back to sleep just like your bug. (Of course, this was a huge step up from not sleeping at all, so we looked at it as a good thing!)

At any rate, we always just got up to feed the baby when she needed it. She'd usually have a heavy diaper anyway. And as she grew she ate more quickly, so it went from 45 minutes of lost sleep to 20 and then 10. And once we started her on solids (which you're probably getting close to now) she went from two wake-ups a night to one, which helped. And then when she was 7 or 8 months and at the top of the growth charts, we started giving her just water in the bottle instead of formula when she woke up at night (different if you're nursing, I know, but maybe you could give a bottle of pumped milk at night?), because really by then she wasn't hungry but just needed to check in with us. And we have sort of felt judged by people who thought our 23-pound 9-month-old should be sleeping through the night, but we know our family and we did it at our own pace, and by the time she was 5 months nobody felt like they were losing too much sleep, and now that she is almost 10 months she usually sleeps 7 PM to 7 AM without a peep.

Of course every baby is different, but I guess the point I'm trying to make is, 4 months is still really young to ask for a lot of independence, and it honestly will get better on its own, gradually but very soon.


I am so happy to see this post! My little girl is just passing 15 weeks and we have gone from sleeping 5-6 hours at a time with one wake-up a night to waking every 3 hours, not wanting to go back to sleep at 4-5am, and not napping!

Actually, I would love any thoughts on napping at this point - she will mostly nap 'in motion' - in the car seat, in the stroller, in the swing - but protests napping in the crib or pack and play. She also only naps max 45 min at a time most days! She is little for her age - just over 11 lbs, born @ 37 weeks 6 days - I figure she's just too small yet to figure some of this out. We are concerned about creating 'habits' if we keep letting her sleep in motion...


Robin, that sense of humor comes in handy, doesn't it?!? I laughed when you said your baby poops and it scares him! Newborn poops scared me, too!

Rachel, my DD exhibited about the same pattern as yours -- right down to size and everything! It was so weird to be SO PROUD of having a baby who slept for 5-7 hours at a stretch from 3 weeks to 4 months old (like I had anything to be proud of -- I had nothing to do with it!!), and then having to wake up 2x a night for the next 6 months ... that's so backwards!! But it's what happened to us, too.

At 9.5 months we're OFF the growth charts (both DH and paternal grandfather are 6'6" so we are not worried) and waking up maybe once a night, maybe once a week. Of course, this has only been happening for the past two weeks, so ...

Anyway, I agree with Rachel -- it changes gradually, but soon. I think I need a tshirt that says that, to remind myself.


My now 9 month old went from sleeping all thru the night from 6 weeks for 10 weeks,to waking at least 3 to 4 times a night at 4 months,and it was such a blow. Fortunately now at 9 months she is back on track with sleep and always manages a 10 hour stint and sometimes even 12. Whenever there was a developmental spurt, her sleep went down the tube, but as she is getting older, it is less worse every time. What worked for us was a little sleep training out of developmental spurt times, so when she was due for the next developmental spurt, she could generally get herself back to sleep when she woke in the middle of the night. Naps also benefit. Really 4 months was a nightmare time. I do remember that nursing also suffered with nursing strikes and generally lousy nursing patterns which I have since discovered is due to these develpomental spurts and fixed itself with time.


Two+ month lurker, first time poster. I want to thank Moxie and everyone here for the wonderful advice. I especially enjoy the helpful spirit of the commenters. Because of you guys, I ran out and borrowed "The Wonder Weeks" from my local library. I am embarrassed to say it is now 2 weeks overdue. Oops. Fantastic book!

I have a 5 month old (well, tomorrow she'll be 5 months) and although she has always been a great sleeper, she has slept worse this past month. Nighttime has been generally okay, but I just can't get her on a daytime nap schedule to save my life. I'm happy to say I think she is finally moving out of this phase and life it starting to get more predictable AND she is getting much better at putting herself to sleep. (Now that I've said this, of course everything is going to go to sh@*.) I work from home, so I didn't get a whole lot done this past month between lack of sleep and holding the Babe all the time. Thanks to you guys, I knew this would all pass and that certainly saved my sanity.

We have used the dreaded plug (pacifier) since birth. Starting around 3 months I was trying to reduce its use, but the Babe just seemed to want it more. I was bummed out because I didn't want her to be dependent on the darn thing until she was 10. Since she really seemed to want/need the plug, I relented and gave it to her whenever she wanted it. I am happy to say that during the past month she has wanted it less and less, and has, in fact, spit it out at us multiple times. I think in the past week she has used it for a total of 30 minutes. I had read somewhere, sometime, that babies tend to do this, but I didn't believe it until I saw it for myself. (This pacifier thing is my own issue and I don't think any bad thoughts of people or kids who use them longer...just like I hope those who don't use pacifiers at all don't think bad thoughts of me for using one.)

Thanks again, everyone, for all your help!


At four months, despite my reservations about co-sleeping, I learned how to nurse lying down. And when the baby woke up, he got a diaper change and then came to bed with me. He'd nurse on one side for a few HOURS and then he'd wake up and I'd flip over and he'd nurse on the other for a few more HOURS and then at 7, we'd all get up. He thought it was delightful - my husband and I less so, but it was the only way I could spend the hours between 3 and 7 lying down instead of in a rocking chair. And that doesn't even begin to address what I used to call the "middle of the night baby dance parties" where he'd wake up at say 2:30 and want to play for an hour or two before he went back to sleep. I was at home then and just gave in to that -- I'd take him out to the living room and get him some tummy time. It sucked, but it passed.


Well four months was definitely our hardest time. She had been sleeping 6 -7 hour stretches at night and then another 2 hour nap shortly after waking up. It was bliss. But it sure didn't last. We also had some not so normal things going on at this time, like a trip to the ER and learning of food allergies. I don't remember what her feeding schedule was like at this time. I always nursed her on demand though. In my head I did worry, like some, that I was creating bad habits and that maybe I shouldn't nurse her back to sleep but deep down my mommy gut was telling me to do it. I am happy to report that I continued to do this until well past a year, when she (on her own!) no longer wanted to nurse back to sleep at night. Yes, it took over a year but we were both also on a really restricted diet for her allergies and she was really just hungry a lot more often. After some time, she was able to tolerate soy and some other foods so once her tummy was getting more full during the day, she no longer needed to nurse as much at night.

I do remember how torturous naps and sleeping were though. It was also at this time I read "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" and so I had and idea in my mind of how she should be sleeping (Dr. W makes it sound like all babies are the same in his book, and I have learned that this is not true at all. Too bad I believed him then) So I did torture myself a lot and was always worried about her being overtired. It only made things worse. But what I did take from his book were some of the signs of being tired, avoiding overstimulation and letting baby get overtired, and just the overall importance of sleep. Ok, I am officially off track but here is what I did do eventually and it helped. I just watched her for a few days and let her fall asleep when she wanted to. If she wanted to sleep in my arms, ok. If she would lay down in her bed, ok. But I tried not to worry about all that. Sleep was sleep no matter how we got there. Before long I started to see a schedule emerge. (Let me stop to say that until then, I was trying to follow Dr. W's model and putting her down when I thought she should be tired. It was battle after battle and when I stopped trying to initiate, it was much easier). So once I started to have a better idea of when she was actually tired, I had a little more success with getting her down. It was still trying for awhile but it did get easier. Also, she always napped for about 30 min tops so I just had to accept this. Bottom line, staying on schedule has always been crucial to her getting sleep. If we got off track even by 20-30 minutes, it was very difficult. The other thing that I tried to do was go in her room, with her blanket, etc, every time I nursed to give her the opportunity to fall asleep. If she was tired, she would usually go right to sleep after nursing. If not, I wouldn't fight with her and I would just try again next time.
Well that was a lot of poorly organized rambling but yes, this time is hard. I would like to say that it will magically get better soon, and it might. But there are more milestones and times where it will just be hard. You just have to keep going and know that it really won't last forever.


My little guy is 11 months old but the first 6 months were such a disaster that all these comments are bringing up all too painful & vivid memories :P

I think its easy to laugh off the car nap and the Mom who is blithely driving around in a desperate attempt to get her little one to sleep. But that was me for 6 months.

I think Weissbuth is right in one regard - babies need sleep, even if they're temporarily unable to get it (due to a sleep regression, GI problems, etc.). At least for us, the car nap effectively forced the issue when nothing else was working. It may not have been the most environmentally friendly but it helped baby and Mom have a much happier day. Also others (in-laws are great for the car nap) could help out while I got some extra sleep.

At some point (for us it was 6 months) the car nap becomes needed less and less. But when nothing else works, its a decent fall back plan.

Satellite radio is a key accessory for the car nap :)

Good luck with the all-night feeding sessions . Its a grim time but you're almost done with the worst of it!


Suzanne - Oh do I ever remember this time. My son is now 7 months. I found around 4 months what worked was to give him a good solid feeding before bedtime, and try to figure out how long he could go before eating again. For us, this started around 2am (he went to bed around 7:30). So if he woke before 2am I would get hubby to go an comfort him, and then at or after 2am, I would go in and feed. He got it! Then as he started being able to sleep past 2am, I pushed up the time that I'd be willing to feed him (this got way better at 5 1/2 months when I started him on cereal for suppertime.) Now it's 4am is my threshold, and oftentimes he waits till 5am. It does get better - hang in there!


The Wonder Weeks from age 4 months to 7 months affected my son a lot more than most babies, with very little noticeable relief for those 3 months - I am blessed with a textbook spirited/active alert/high need child. He needed a lot of help to sleep from birth, but it took even more effort to help him fall asleep and stay asleep during those 3 months. I felt like I was failing as a parent and that everything I had done during his first 4 months had caused the downturn in sleep habits.

Luckily I found Moxie in a desperate google search when my son was 4 months old. The sleep archives here are so helpful. A few days after I found Moxie, "Your Comments on Sleep Regressions" was posted: http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2007/02/your_comments_o.html - I read that post in the middle of the night so many times that I almost memorized it. Those words helped me remain patient (most of the time) and keep going on 3-4 hours of broken sleep per night for what felt like an eternity.

During the 4-7 month time, I did whatever it took to help my son sleep (nurse, dance, bounce, walk, hold for hours, rock, sing, let him sleep on my chest). I didn’t worry about habits, I just wanted my child to rest. I knew, as the mother to my son, that the only way he could get any sleep was for me to keep helping him. He is definitely an “increase tension by crying” baby, so CIO was never an option. Despite all of the doom and gloom statements made by experts and relatives, the methods I employed to get him to sleep for those months are no longer required. No bad habits were formed. At 1 year old, I’m happy to say we made it through those dark days, and I have been getting about 8 hours of sleep almost every night for the past 5 months. Naps are now consistent and predictable. Still a few night wakings, but they last about 2 minutes and then I’m back to sleep – it’s heaven. Some nights are not so good (esp. during the regression 9-10 months), but it’s all been so much better than the 4-7 month time. It's not a fun time, but you will get through it, and it probably won't last as long in your house as it did in mine.

Cecily T

Groan...I can't contribute to the memories, but I'm reading b/c my baby is 3 months now.

All of you who had children that go to bed at 7 or 8pm, sooo lucky. My dear goes down from 9:30 at the very earliest and more often between 10:45-11:45, and only sleeps until 6:30 or so. I almost always get a morning nap, but only get an afternoon nap once a week or so. You'd think she'd be exhausted by 8pm!

Maybe she'll go against the grain and get *better* at 4 months...pretty please?


This is what we've been going through now for over 3 months!!! I think we may be coming out on the other side, but time will tell.

We also had a baby that slept through the night from 3 weeks until 3.5 months. Then it all went downhill. We've been through teething, wanting to nurse all night long, and rolling over, trying to crawl, trying to sit up, trying to stand in her sleep. Thank goodness for Moxie and her posters, who kept me sane as I re-read all the sleep regression and teething posts. It helps to know you are not going through this alone.

This is an exhausting stage that no one warned me about prior to entering it. Once her two bottom teeth came in (5.5 months), we got almost a week of good sleep again, but then it went to crap again, with occasional good nights. In the past few nights, we are doing better again. I'm hoping it will last, but it may not.

Some things we've tried (with varying degrees of success):
1. We feed on demand, but when she wasn't demanding to nurse, my husband would take the first "shift" and rock her or hold her while she slept. I would go to bed early so that I would at least have a chunk of sleep somewhere.
2. If (when) she woke up during the second "shift," I would nurse her lying down and we'd co-sleep until morning. If she woke up and couldn't go back to sleep, I'd nurse her more. I would do this in the guest room so my husband could get a chunk of sleep.
3. We tried loveys and pacifiers, but neither helped at all. And apparently my daughter thinks that pacifiers are posion.
4. I second this: "Let me stop to say that until then, I was trying to follow Dr. W's model and putting her down when I thought she should be tired. It was battle after battle and when I stopped trying to initiate, it was much easier"
5. We tried earlier bedtimes and later bedtimes. Sometimes one thing would work, sometimes another.
6. I think a consistent bedtime routine helped, but it's hard to tell.
7. We do not plan to CIO, but I was starting to look into Pantley's no-cry sleep solution. If we regress again, I will get it.

I'm sure we tried other things, but this comment is long enough as it is.

I really believe that the only thing that truly worked to get her through this was time. And as Moxie says, it will get better, then worse, then better, then worse, and then they'll go to college.


@Cecily -- Do not despair! Late bedtimes can be perfectly normal for far longer than you might initially think (certainly 3 months+). We didn't get to our 7pm bedtime until 9 months. That super-early bedtime often doesn't develop until well after 6 months. But (joy of joys) it often persists until school age.

Remember -- it's not something YOU are doing wrong. Your baby is who she is. Enjoy that morning nap ... (ours is diminishing and I miss it!)


This brings back vivid memories! 4 to 6 months were the worst for me; in all honestly, I often regretted the decision to bear a child, thinking I somehow just was not cut out for motherhood! ugh...

It gets a lot better. For all those who worry about creating "bad habits" my motto since our little guy was born has been: By Any Means Necessary. Nurse him, rock him, baby carrier him, whatever it takes to get him to sleep!

We eventually did try CIO too (at 5.5 months). The first night, he woke at the usual 1 or 2am, cried for 4 minutes and then slept until morning. The second night, he cried for 9 minutes and then slept until morning. He's been sleeping 12 hours straight since. I do NOT believe it is right for every baby, but some babies might be suited to CIO -- for our little guy he put himself back to sleep faster than I could nurse him back to sleep and has been sleeping so well since, that I feel ok about it.

Hang in there...


I remember that 4th month. That's when I went back to work. My little one, who had been sleeping 8 hours stretches at night, started waking again. He also started having evening meltdowns. My solution was the Baby Bjorn. I made a point to wear him for at least a half hour every evening, and it really helped. He started sleeping through on most nights, and he was much calmer in the evenings. This worked until 8.5 months when the 9 month sleep regression hit. (And made the 4 month one look like a cake walk).

As far as milk supply. I pumped every morning after the first nursing session and then 3 times at work. It really kept my supply up and took a lot of weight off. Getting up at 5:00am on Saturday and Sunday wasn't much fun though.


No time to read the other comments, but YES on the slower weight gain around that time when breastfed. I *knew* it was normal, and I *still* let the nurse freak me out.

Oh, and around four months I also got a ticket to Plugged-duct Central. About every other day for about a month. Cutting down on trans-fat (hey, never a bad plan) finally did the trick. Hard to give up cookies, but so worth it.


4 months? 4 months... oh right I don't remember that 'cause 1) not enough sleep 2) not enough excitement 3) clogged ducts, which let to being on drugs for mastitis, which then caused thrush and 4) that was when we started to experience the first wave of marital discord.

Well I do remember we put the futon mattress on the floor in front of the television and I made it through a whole series. just get through it!

pnuts mama

4 months sucked. there. i said it. nursing in general just had a whole lot of sucky parts to it (haha, pun intended). i love that i nursed, i plan on nursing my future child(ren), i'm not on board with nursing martyrs, but i did *not* think it was easy, and resented folks who did. probably due to the sleep deprivation. i wish i knew more people back then who would just admit how hard it was but it was ok.

i encourage all of you who are nursing to click on the link up in moxie's post.

cj is one of the most informed people i've ever run across on the topic of breastfeeding. i wish i had known her back when pnut was born, and i thank god that i found her old site when we ran into our bf issues when she was about 10+ months. she has so much knowledge, and shares it in a way that doesn't turn you off with any type of tone or guilt. alleluia!

i have become a much better mama and person when i embraced the mantra "it's just a phase, it's only a phase". hang in there, all you with the 4 month olds. it gets better. then worse then better. etc. then, they get married and have their own!


Does this *ever* suck. We're just over 3 months now, and my little monkey has learned to roll over from back to front but can't consistently go the other way. So he gets frustrated at his limitations and screams and screams and screams. And he has decided that his crib is the perfect place to practice this. Every time he wakes up during the night. He also increases tension by crying (by the way, one of the sanest distinctions I've ever heard -- it's been enormously helpful), so if I leave him it'll get worse, and he'll get more tired and less able to turn on his own, and if I help him he gets *really* mad. It's like he's a two-year-old already: "I want to do it myself!" -- frustrated that even though he is learning to do more things, he can't do *everything*, but unwilling to take anyone's help.

He used to wake up hungry every 3-5 (sometimes 7!) hours (born big and hungry -- anyone else have one of those? A lady at my gym said her 'big and hungry' baby never slept through the night until he was a year old), and I would nurse him back to sleep -- Daddy would carry him back to bed and we wouldn't hear a peep for another 3-5 hours. Now, he gets so mad rolling over that we have to spend hours soothing him after he wakes each time. And he wakes more often, since those little wakings that he would have been able to weather before now make him frustrated. No one's sleeping; we're all so tired we cry all the time.

We have to put him in his swing to get any sleep, because he *can't* roll over then. Unless he's going to turn out like his uncle, who escaped from his crib regularly as a baby. Even then, he wakes more than he did just a few weeks ago, and I'm worried he'll get too used to the swing and not be able to sleep when he's too big for it. It's good to know I'm not alone. I know I need to do "what works now," but I can't stop worrying.


This post could not have come at a more perfect time for me -- my 16-week old son (love of my life, bane of my sleep) has gone from sleeping reliably from 7-1/1-4/4-6 to waking up at 11, 1, 3, 4, 5...

He has also transitioned from waking up with soft adorable cooing sounds to waking up screaming at the top of his lungs. Meaning that even though my husband handles the pre-3am wakings, I still get to wake up for all of them. Joy. (I'm actually considering moving the Amby out of our bedroom so I can get 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep before 3am. I'd be worried about the change disrupting his sleep, but, well...)


We're in the throes of 4 month misery around here. The fact that we survived this phase with my older son gives me hope, but oy. It's tough.


This time is such a hard one because you FEEL like you've had your little one forever, so you'd better get busy - going back to work, getting on a schedule, eliminating all things that might cause "bad habits" later on......and it makes you basically feel like shit. About yourself, about why your baby won't sleep/nap/eat/etc. and the thing I think I remember the most about this time was after thoroughly beating myself up for a long time, I just gave myself permission to give up and give in. If he wanted to be held.....I held him. All day, some days. It just felt right to me at the time. I bought a sling and wore him around the house. I still spent a lot of time sleeping with him in bed.......and while you think you need to get to work with setting your little one up for "success" (whatever that might mean to you).....it's still really really REALLY early in the game. It's too early to do Dr. W's patented "early to bed, set wake-time" yet......but you are noticing that both you and your baby are needing some kind of structure. And you're noticing everyone else SEEMS to have a baby who takes 4+ hour naps 3-4 times a day AND sleeps through the night......I think those people should all go live together on an island and leave the rest of us alone (sorry if you're one of them - I'm sure you're lovely people).

And the naps.....argh, the naps. They seem to be "getting" it and then suddenly they start sleeping during the day for MAYBE 30 minutes. You try everything you know, read every book, ask every mother on the street, in the bank, in line at the supermarket......they all tell you something different and still your kid won't sleep longer than 40 minutes.

I have nothing to say except I've been there. It sucks. You're tired. You want to do it "right". You don't want to have to call the sleep specialists when your kid is 15 months to come stay at your house for a week, so you want to set something up NOW that will work but you just can't figure out what "THAT" might be.

Just stop. Breathe. Your baby's age is still measured in weeks, not months. You have lots of time. Go easy on yourself. It all works out. I know that won't help your baby sleep better now, but at least it might eliminate some of the pressure you feel to be "doing it right" that you're feeling right now.


It all sucks. I haven't read the comments yet (I will). I just remember calling my SIL when Alex hit 4 months and asking, "Were your kids possessed by the f@#$ing devil at four months?" She replied, "no". then paused and added "My kids WERE the devil at 4 months." We made it through the worst of it, Got a happy kid back, and now at five months were in a full fledged sleep strike. However, he's also trying to crawl (already! God help me!) and that's not helping.

I'm soooo glad you posted this - I can read it in the middle of the night while not sleeping!


4 months was about the time I started using the Ergo. I can't tell you how many days I spent walking around my kitchen with the little guy strapped to me.

But he slept in the Ergo - there was no other way to get him to sleep. (He's 9 months now, and he still doesn't sleep.) I got to be close to him AND get a lot of reading done at the same time. I was the only mom of a 4 month old I knew who had actually found time to read. Of course, I was (and still am) loopy with sleep deprivation, but you take upsides where you can get them...


My daughter will be four months on tuesday... I'm hoping her nigthtime sleeping stays as-is! I put her down at 8:00, then at 11:00 I get her up and feed her, then back down she stays until 7:00. She usually barely wakes up when I get her up at 11:00 and goes down so nicely afterward, and it seems to tide her over until morning time. If I skip the 11:00 feed she wakes up on her own at around 2:00 and then sleeps till 7:00... so same amount of sleep for her, but the 11:00 feed gives me 7.5 hours uninterrupted... what a difference that makes!

This is actually the only piece of advice from the Baby Whisperer books that I have had success with (the remainder of the Baby Whisperer's book ruined my life for several weeks, but we won't go there).


Not that I'm glad that anyone else is going through this too, but it does make me feel better! I was SO THANKFUL to have read this site re: the 4 month sleep regression before it happened- my daughter just turned five months.

We were not only battling the sleep regression, but also teething. She got her first tooth at 4.5 months, and we are still waiting for it's neighbor tooth to poke through. For a few days after the first one came (and she wasn't yet being terrorized by the second), she went back to sleeping decently- which for us, is until 4 or so, feed, back to sleep for a couple more hours.

If there's one thing that I have learned, it's that whatever is happening now- whether it be bad or good- will not be happening in a short amount of time. That's what has been getting me through the rough nights of late.


Oh noes! I've got an almost-three-month-old so I guess the Great Upheaval of Fourth Months is just around the corner. Thanks for the warning.


Oh my, me too--Mouse started sleeping through from 9 to 6 about 10 weeks (then back to sleep till 9AM) but around 4 1/2 months she started waking 5-6 times a night. Nothing would ever soothe her but the breast, nor would she sleep next to anybody, so it was lots and lots of rocking chair time for me. About 7 months, she got back to 1 wakeup and stayed that way until we hit the 11 month Carnival Of Teething And Winter Illness And Crawling. Hang in there, those of you who are in it! It will pass.

That said, I think 4 mos is particularly hard because everybody is trying to scare you. (Maybe they have good intentions, but sometimes I'm not sure.) When you go for that 4-month check-up, they tell you that "sleep habits are set by 6 months, so you have to get this dealt with now or your kid won't sleep through the night until college". If you're really lucky, they'll also tell you how few times a day your kid "should" be nursing at 16 pounds or whatever. Moms' groups and so forth are all focusing on sleep, which could be nice from a commiseration standpoint, but in my experience most of those communities aren't as helpful as this site. In my neighborhood, the group of moms I ran with ended up reporting every morning how many wakeups they had, what they did, whether they were seeing progress. Those moms who were following Weissbluth and having success told me I was a wimp; those who were cosleeping told me I was causing attachment issues (or as least that's how I heard it at the time--I'm sure they were just as insecure as I felt)...there was an overwhelming sense that I should be Doing Something about the sleep thing, and Doing Something about the fact that Mouse was a boob-only soother. I went to see a highly recommended lactation consultant about Mouse not taking a bottle and she said "it's time for her to do her comfort sucking with something that's hers--not yours. Take her off the breast after 10 minutes" Um, yeah, that worked. Ha!

Then that's right about the age when nursing in public becomes a hoot with the baby doing backbends to look around and leaving you flapping in the breeze.

Yeah. So, I think Moxie's advice about which kind of kid you have (cry to increase vs. release tension) is really really excellent...as is the advice to do what works, not worry about "habits" and get through it. The one thing that is pretty solid at this point is your child's basic personality. Think of the child as a person, and work with what you've got. To this day (3 1/2 years) Mouse is demanding, curious, and needs cuddling--she will go all the hell the way to the mat before accepting a second best option (much as she would for breast over paci or bottle) and she will not end an argument until we find some little piece she can win. She still smiles all the time and hugs and loves...and she still can't sleep unless her mind and body have been properly exercised. I wish to goodness I knew what skill her system was working on at the moment, because she is whining and throwing tantrums about ridiculous stuff this week, and asking an hour of questions before she can settle at night. I did just notice a big bump in hand-eye coordination though, and she's had zero nightmares the last two nights after finally running out of questions at 10:30, so maybe we're getting to the back end of this one.


3 1/2 - 5 months was hell. It was as painful, in a different way, as 6 weeks had been. We went back into lockdown survival we-have-a-newborn mode. No guilt about taking two or three naps a day if the baby wakes you up every two hours all night!

Yes, teething was a big part of it, as was learning to roll over. But the biggest problem was that she figured out that if she went to sleep, she might miss something exciting. She fought sleep as though her life depended on it, I believe because she didn't want to miss an opportunity to learn.

So, I slept next to her, holding her hand, or kept her in the Ergo carrier. She'd only let herself sleep if I was right there the whole time. If I snuck away, she'd wake up within five minutes. Even with me held hostage, she would fight sleep, screaming and whipping her head back and forth, for 90 minutes just to take a 30-minute nap.

But then, out of the blue, just as I was starting to scare myself with how close I was to losing it, she figured out that if she takes a nap, she has more energy to play when she wakes up. She still wants me to stay close by, and she often needs help going back to sleep when she hits the shallow part of a sleep cycle, but now, when I put her down in the co-sleeper, she breaks into a huge smile. It's like she's thinking, "Ah, yes, sleep! I love going to sleep! I love waking up!"

It's total bliss. Six months is AWESOME. I could freeze her at this age forever. (Having said that, now the baby gods are sure to smite me with teething and diaper rash and another sleep regression.)


Don't have much to add on the very helpful comments above except to say - maybe keep using the Happiest Baby on the Block methods? We swaddled baby A and played the white noise for a long time - I think we stopped with the swaddling (had to move up to the large sized kiddopotomus wrap) at 5.5 months. We still use the white noise (at 11 months). The doctor wanted us to phase out swaddling earlier, but A wouldn't be able to get to sleep any other way.

What was most frustrating was that the doctor said to just let him cry and not get up to check on him - and my husband just agreed. I didn't feel bad about checking on him (usually a soaked diaper) for his nightly wake ups. He eventually settled down again and by 6 months was fine.

I had a really bad 5 month period - mostly because of never ending ear infections/stomach bugs, but that's another story. Hang in there, it does get MUCH better!

G's momma

I think we lucked out on this one. We spent the majority of month 4 at my parents house. If you have the option of planning some help for around this time, I would highly recommend it. I never realized that she was having trouble sleeping because of her age. I thought it was the new place, but since I had my parents to take her in the morning. I was able to keep myself well rested. I know this is not an option for everyone but it worth considering.

Now the 10 month regression, that was a different story. Absolute nightmare. Didn't plan to have any help for this one and we went from one early morning wake (at about 6 and then back down until 9) to waking 3 and 4 times and having 16 ounces worth of milk - geez! The best advice I received about breaking this cycle was to start watering down the bottles (had I still be breastfeeding it would have been limiting the time) but then (and this is key) add those bottles back in during the day. Yes, my 11 month old does take a bottle 5 times a day, which I understand is a lot, but the alternative was that she would have 3 a day and then at least 3 overnight. I will gladly feed her extra during the day to get my sleep back. This might work for someone who is experiencing a frequent night feeder.

Good luck to all.

pnuts mama

i just wanted to say that if the next baby does this @ 4 months, i'll be happy to let him/her sleep in the swing all night long if it means i get more than 1 hours worth of sleep at a time. that shit nearly killed me, being up all night with her nursing like crazy. ugh.

i truly remember it was my lowest point with her- i felt my sanity and my self confidence crumbling, and just couldn't bear the sleep deprivation. for some dumb reason i was convinced that sleeping in the swing at night (vs. where she slept for all her naps during the day- uh, duh??) would ruin her for life. what an idiot i was. next baby, when you are conceived? you can sleep wherever you like for as long as you like, amen.


amen pnuts mama....same here. And as for tiptoeing around the house during naptimes, after bedtime, putting notes on the door saying "Do NOT knock come back later" as if the president is in the next room sleeping so he can have a clear head to decide whether to press the red button or not? Forget it.


4 months was hell. In a handbasket. On wheels. My perfect girl went from taking 3 bottles of 4 oz a day (pumping 12 oz per work day = a breeze) to taking AT LEAST 3 bottles of AT LEAST 6 oz each. (Pumping 18-24 oz a work day = NOT EASY) At the same time, she stopped sleeping all night, and started waking up to nurse several times a night, and one memorable night she woke up every hour on the hour to nurse.

I have no advice except what was posted above. BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Do what you have to do for 2-4 weeks to keep everybody safe and sane and fed. Bad habits can always be broken when everybody's caught up on sleep (if they can even be formed before 6 months old).

Also, I found Moxie by searching for 4-month sleep regression. I was desperate. This place kept me sane. Thanks Moxie and commenters!


For the six or so weeks between 4 and 5.5 months, my baby girl woke up every FORTY-FIVE minutes, around the clock. Occasionally there might have been a blessed ninety-minute stint. But mostly it was the pure torture of being jolted awake for another nursing session. We co-slept and that is the only way I managed to keep the smallest thread of sanity.

During this time, I was also taking my diet down to the bare 6-food minimum a la Dr. Sears' TED to ascertain what food sensitivities we were dealing with (read: everything).

No sleep, no comfort food. ..

I'm still not really sure how we survived that.

She's a happy one year old now and we've had really great results with NAET for her intolerances. On a good night she only wakes once.

But still, it's that damned 4-5 month pit of sleeplessness that makes me cringe at the thought of doing this over again!


Amen, indeed, pnut's mama.

Which is why B slept on us for naps on the weekends, I think until he was 2? DH and I used to pretty much call dibs on the nap (because whoever is under the sleeping baby also gets to sleep, and gets drinkies and snacks delivered. we called this 'trapped by the baby' .. as in, 'hey, can you get me some tea, I'm trapped by the baby!'). If that's where baby wants to nap, that's where baby naps. Period.

Y'all are making me glad we're done, though. I don't remember this stage with the twins. I think I blocked it out (either that or sleep deprivation prevented the formation of long-term memory). I don't really remember it with our second, either. I do kinda remember it with our first (another early teether, too)... that was the period where he looked like a moose and all the photos we have of him are of him in the swing. Sleeping in the swing, playing in the swing, I stopped counting how many hours he spent there, because I'd been told that it was BAD BAD BAD for him to be in there more than four hours total per 24, and certainly no more than 30 minutes at a stretch... well, I'm sure he was in there longer.

This was also the time period when a good friend put me on to the 'it's all a phase, it's only a phase' mantra. She told me that even the good stuff would be different in 2 weeks. Good, bad, indifferent, in two weeks, presto-change-o, and new baby. New issues, new problems, new joys, new everything. She was right.


To all the mamas (and Dads) out there of 4-month-olds: hang in there! You're doing a great job. It's hard and confusing and you doubt yourself. You wear different colored shoes to work and almost fall asleep at the wheel.

If your kid is like mine was, he/she doesn't fit any description in any sleep book (who ARE the children in these books??). What works for your MIL/friend/pediatrician doesn't work for you. But don't stop trying new things. What doesn't work today might work tomorrow. Drive around, use the sling, use the swing...white noise (rather loud when he was an infant) and a dark room are the ticket to a (pretty good) night's sleep for my DS.

I was a member of the "By Any Means Necessary" club, and still have a 21-month-old who doesn't sleep through the night. He does, however, only wake up 1 time, around 4 am, and this is my version of heaven. :o)

Jen in Redwood City, CA

Cecily T: yes, it can miraculously get better. At the beginning of month four, my guy went from waking up five, six times a night to sleeping from 7 to 6:30. That completely spoiled me, even if he wouldn't nap during the day. Then, at the end of month five, night sleep went back downhill, but with reliable half hour naps. We're now at nine months and waking up four, five times a night (except for two nights ago when he only woke up once. WTF??), the only thing that soothes is the boob, but we have two forty to ninety minute naps.

He builds tension as he cries, so CIO is out.

I'm going to go re-read all the nine-month sleep regression stuff now...and try to remember it's not my fault.


THANK YOU!! I've been sitting here wondering why my easy-going, 8-10 hr a night sleeper is suddenly screaming for no reason and waking up 3 times a night to eat. The answer? He's 16 weeks old. I knew about the 4-month sleep regression, but knowing that everyone else's child seems to fall apart right now too just makes me feel so much better. I can hunker down, do whatever it takes to get through, and know that we can get through it. Moxie & company, you've done it again. Thank you.


You know, with both my kids it was less a "four month" sleep regression and more of a "rolling over one way" sleep regression. With my daughter it was closer to 5 months and with my son it started a little earlier than 4 months. They would both roll over onto their tummies and not be able to get back over.

It was especially frustrating with my son (who is near 7 months now) because he was starting to be able to settle himself to sleep without nursing when he started to roll. That all unraveled and I had to start nursing him down again and even running in every twenty minutes during naps to help him get back to sleep. Yes, my older daughter watched some TV during this period. It took two months for him to master rolling from tummy to back but once he did, things improved again rapidly.


We're at 4.5 months... it's 10:45pm... and I can hear him screaming... nuf said.


We are also in the throws of the four month upheaval. Though I knew it was coming (daughter number one was difficult from day one until she was 5.5 months old), I find that I'm really, really dragging.

While daughter two isn't waking with increased frequency, she has decided that 3:45 am is an appropriate time to start her day. With the three year old no longer taking naps (thus no nap for me when both are asleep), I am DEAD.


It definitely all went to hell at 4 months. Not the nighttime patterns, which were pretty OK, but the daytime - screamed in the stroller, screamed in the car, tolerated the bjorn. I remember having a friend over for coffee and the baby had been fine all day but during the visit I had to turn the vacuum on three times to calm him down (it was the only thing that worked) while my friend just stared at me.

We adopted "whatever works" as our motto so the baby napped on us till 10 months, got strolled to sleep during the day if need be. The alternative was a baby who didn't have enough sleep and who went from 0 - CRAZY in 20 seconds flat so we figured we could always "break" any habits later. And we were right. He's 15 months now & takes a nice nap in his crib almost every day. A year ago I would never have believed this would happen.

I also sang "It's a phase, it's a phase, it will pass, we'll be happy" to the tune of Lullaby and Goodnight... That helped. And this website also helped.


Just this morning I was reminiscing about the 3-5 month period. Remember when we had to get up all through the night? Remember breastfeeding & dinner? Or walking the room and dinner? Remember NEVER napping in the crib, but only in the car seat or in the stroller and only when it was in motion? Remember feeling crazy and wondering if I'd figure it all out? Now, at 6 months, those things are memories. 98% of the time I get a cry-free dinner. 95% of the time we sleep through until at least 5:30am.

I had to admit: things got better!


"..there was an overwhelming sense that I should be Doing Something about the sleep thing, and Doing Something about the fact that Mouse was a boob-only soother."

Yes. That was me at 4 months - and T. is just like Mouse in that arena.

In general, I repeatedly get that Doing Something feeling - and I've learned to banish it, because, well, my kid is sweet, social, brilliant, intense, and a lousy sleeper. The boob works, and halelujah for that - got us through both the 4- and 10-month sleep regressions, and is currently getting us all through a combination of recurrent bronchitis and the aftermath of severe antibiotic reaction.

Do whatever works for you and your kid - you'll survive and the stage will pass. When you get to an easier patch, you can adjust as needed.


My baby's right in the middle of this too. He has never been a particularly good sleeper, but for the last few weeks he's been waking every time he hits his light sleep cycle. We seem to have turned a corner in the last couple of days. Now he's doing great for his daytime naps - passes out like clockwork and no fussing - but still has some trouble at night. He had been napping no longer than 20 minutes at a time, and in the past couple of days he's actually done a few two-hour naps! At night he had been up every hour or less demanding to nurse, but we've had a couple of three-hour stretches of sleep these past few days, so I hope that's a good sign. My poor little guy got his first tooth at the end of three months, and I think teething has been part of the problem with this sleep regression.

I'm really glad you included the link to the site about the breastfeeding/growth stuff. Wesley's weight gain seems to have slowed in the last little bit, and I was a little bit worried. Sounds like it's pretty normal around this time, and I just need to keep doing what I'm doing (giving him more opportunities to feed during the day to encourage milk production).


I'm so glad to have found this! We don't struggle to much with night waking (usually only once per night) but oh the going to bed with our 4 mo can take forever. It seems no matter how long we hold, feed, whatever...he can be sound asleep and will be awake 10 minutes after we put him down. Our pediatrician recommended Ferber and we've tried that the last few nights with no success...he screamed the second night for almost 2 hours until I finally gave in and picked him up and fed him back to sleep. And then he was definitely exhausted enough that he stayed asleep. If anyone has any advice, I'd hugely appreciate it...

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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