WITH the newborn phase coming to a close, many parents find themselves exhausted when baby hits 4 months old, and often sleep is getting worse, not better! Never fear- there are many things you can do to help set up healthy sleep habits for your little one, and start getting the sleep you all need!
Baby Sleep Tips 4-9 Months
Ages 4-9 months are a perfect time to make sleep adjustments. A baby goes through a developmental leap around 4 months that causes their sleep patterns to become more adult-like. This is perfectly normal and healthy, but can also cause a regression because baby is suddenly cycling through more light phases of sleep, and therefore can start waking up more often, looking for help getting back to sleep. At the same time, at their young age they have usually not become too attached to their sleep habits, and therefore can make changes fairly easily. Implement the tips below to help baby sleep their absolute best in the coming months!
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Make your child’s sleep space a haven of comfort and calm! First, do a safety check to make sure there are no hazards in their room.
Use the ABCs of safe sleep- Alone in their sleep space, on their Back, and nothing besides baby in their Crib.
I love putting my babies in a cozy sleep sack to safely help them feel more comfortable and keep them warm at night. Secondly, use blackout shades or curtains so that street and car lights cannot come through the windows. Even a small amount of light can suppress melatonin production! If you don’t have blackout shades, you can even tape aluminum foil or cardboard onto the window for a budget-saving solution!
Next, use calming sound machine on a steady sound setting (think less “lullaby,” “thunderstorm” or “ocean waves” and more “static” or “white noise.”) If you don’t have one, there are a ton of great apps you can use. Finally, I love to use lavender essential oil in a diffuser in my child’s room. Studies have shown that lavender promotes calm and sleep.
CREATE A SOLID SLEEP ROUTINE
A good bedtime routine should be no more than 20-30 minutes long, and consistent every single night. I love to start our routine out with a bath, followed by the final feeding for the night (bottle or breast), jammies, and a song or prayers. Following this routine, lay your child in bed drowsy but awake. Nap times should also follow an abbreviated routine, about 5 minutes to allow them to wind down.
FOLLOW A FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE
Children sleep their best for both naps and nighttime when they are awake long enough to be tired, but not awake long enough to get overtired. Sound stressful? Not to worry. There are straightforward wake windows that work well for the vast majority of children that you can follow as they grow. For instance, most 4-5 month olds do well with about 2 hours of awake time at a time. I have a sleep schedule calculator that can give you a great schedule custom tailored to your child’s adjusted age, as well as your preferred bedtime!