Understand your baby’s sleep when she’s grown out of the newborn stage
Looking at your baby now, it’s hard to believe how quickly time passes – it feels like only yesterday she was a tiny newborn.
And like many aspects of her development, her sleep style will go through some significant changes during this three to six-month period.
‘It varies and depends on how she’s feeding but, on average, your three month old will sleep for around 10 hours at night and five in the day where she’s awake for an hour or two and then goes back to sleep,’ says Maryanne Taylor, baby sleep consultant and founder of Child Sleep Works.
Her sleep style will go through some significant changes during this three to six-month period
The four-month regression
At the four or five-month mark, there can be a big shift, where you suddenly find her sleeping pattern changes completely and starts waking constantly throughout the night.
‘We’re not completely sure why this happens, but there’s a big development and physical jump around this time which could explain it,’ says Maryanne.
‘Your baby’s also becoming more aware of her surroundings, so if she wakes in her cot when she fell asleep in your arms, she’ll recognise that she’s somewhere different and may take longer to settle back to sleep.’
Fortunately, this phase tends to calm down after a month or so, and around five months you can start putting a daytime nap and gentle bedtime routine in place.
At night, some babies will need a couple of feeds, while others won’t. If yours does, you could try a dream feed while she’s half asleep, although this unsettles some little ones, so see how you get on.
What her sleep will be like
From about four months, your baby starts to show sleep behaviour like an older child - so she’ll probably be quieter and those funny little newborn noises and snuffles may well go. You could also see her moving in her sleep a bit more.
‘At this age, there are more pronounced gaps (partial awakenings) between her sleep cycles,’ says Maryanne. ‘Think about times you half wake in the night – you might be aware that you’ve woken, but then you drift back off. Any movement is just her settling back to sleep during these transitions.’
When your baby reaches six months, she’ll be on solids and should be able to sleep through the night, although this varies and depends on her health and size, so you may find she still needs a nighttime feed.
Our top sleep tip
The four-month regression can be so tough, but try not to fall into sleep habits that are hard to break later such as always rocking your baby to sleep. Try our tips for getting through sleepless nights.