Amanda talks about why the hell your baby isn’t sleeping and how that relates to the 4-month regression.
If you need to survive this time–this is your episode.
She does a deep (non-boring) dive into baby sleep that can likely explain most baby sleep problems. A MUST listen.
For more information on the 4-month regression check out the blog:
Hey everyone, it’s Amanda. You came back. Thank you. Uh, this is my second podcast. I’m so excited to be doing this tonight. When I was doing the dishes, I was thinking of myself as Janet Lansbury, which is kind of the inspiration for my podcast. People write into Janet’s podcast and they have these questions and she answers so beautifully and eloquently and I like to think of myself as a much less fancy Janet Lansbury–who may also might swear. But– I’m way less put together than Janet Lansbury and this is really so far just become a giant plug for her podcast, which you should totally listen to. It is awesome. I love her. I love her parenting tips and I use a lot of her approach in my work with toddlers and preschoolers. Um, but this isn’t Janet’s podcast, although she is my inspiration.
It’s my podcast and we are here having a slumber party for the second week in a row. Woo Hoo. There’s a lot of things we’re going to talk about on this podcast. I want to make sure that you know that this isn’t only baby and child sleep related. Okay? We’re going to be talking about everything. Your sleep, baby, sleep, your family, sleep, how you guys as a unit can get more sleep, period. So ideally you are getting more sleep, for the whole family and not just for those mini people that we have in our lives. That’s my goal for you. Okay. So this week, um, I got a lot of questions last week. The number one thing that has come up so far is the four month sleep regression.
And it truly is a real deal guys. Like it’s, it’s not a good time. It is the shittest of the shit and it exists. It’s real. Uh, I, I often kind of joke that everyone who calls me tells me they’re in the middle of the regression or a regression. And if you Google sleep regressions on the Internet, you’re going to find regression for every single month possible. You can find a reason why your baby isn’t sleeping at all times. That’s just the long and short of it. But if your is in a constant regression, they probably aren’t in a true regression. A good way to figure that out is to download the Wonder Weeks App. Regressions are usually age linked and developmental. And the Wonder Weeks App does a great job of identifying periods of time when your child is going to go through a bit of a sleep disruption.
But all that to say, the four month regression is the worst. It’s truly goddamn awful. And a lot of people are thrown by it, but we can’t talk about the four month regression unless we’re talking about a little bit of Baby Sleep 101. So that’s my goal for this podcast for you today. I’m always going to be referring back to this guy because it’s going to explain all the things that I’m going to say and I’m going to try to make this sciency thing a little less boring, and a little more understandable. But you can’t understand what’s happening in a regression or during that four month regression unless you understand baby sleep. Otherwise they can just basically tell you a magic evil sleep fairy comes and screws with your kid and that’s why they’re not sleeping. And that’s not true.
So I’d love to tell you the actual reason why. So this week’s podcast question comes from Laura. She emailed me last week when I introduced the podcast and this was honestly my number one question. So I felt like I absolutely need to talk about it. So Laura says, Dear Amanda, thanks so much for doing this podcast. I follow you on Instagram and you’ve been pretty dead on about most things as far, but I’m in the midst of the fourth month regression hell and I need help. Like yesterday. This one isn’t easy (she’s right!). It sucks. My son Leo has always been a champion sleeper. By eight weeks he was sleeping 12 hours every single night. That’s amazing. Literally overnight, Leo went from sleeping all 12 hours, to waking every two to three hours. Each time he wakes, he refuses to go down without a boob. And after months of sleeping well, I’m just not coping with this.
This has been going on for weeks and isn’t getting better. I know you said not to rock to sleep, but we did it because it was working for so long while now nothing is working to get him down at bedtime and then basically human pacifier overnight. Any help is appreciated. Laura, Laura, you are in the shit. Girl. This sounds not great. And I want to explain to exactly what happened there. So, okay. Uh, the first thing I’m going to do, I’m going to talk about sleep. I’m going to talk about baby sleep and our sleep because it’s all the same thing. When, when babies are born, we are born with uh, two stages of sleep. Okay? So I actually, there are two things I’m going to define quickly. There are, there are stages of sleep and their sleep cycles.
So we go to bed at 7:00 PM or no, we don’t go to bed at seven, but for an adult, let’s say we go to bed at 10 and we get up at 6:00 AM okay overnight, we don’t actually sleep a full eight hours in a row. Nobody does. Through that night you’re going to wake shift and put yourself back to sleep. And every time you do that, that’s called a sleep cycle. So if you want to envision in your brain that your whole eight hours overnight is actually a linked rings, right? A ring being a cycle and every time you can connect to the cycle, you continue sleeping through the night. So, within those rings, we have stages of sleep within that sleep cycle. Okay. So there are, there are two stages of sleep basically for babies when they’re first born. The first stage is basically super deep sleep.
That’s the like very sleepy baby won’t rouse, you can’t feed that baby if you wanted to that sort of thing. And then the other sleep is REM sleep. So that’s super active. That’s the twitchy, smiley, happy baby in their sleep, sleep. So those two stages exist at first and basically if you can get your baby to bed, they’ll sleep if they can do it. Which is pretty awesome. Uh, so what I think Laura was experiencing early on was, was that two stages of sleep. And for many people, I hear this, you know, my baby slept so well and then they stopped. This is why the four month regression is so awful because they generally do pretty well if they can and then they just stop. So there’s, there’s that. Now at the four month mark where they have this huge developmental milestone.
So I’m taking a look at my Wonder Weeks App right now, just to get the exact weeks right. But, yeah. Okay. So the, the fourth leap and development can happen anytime between 14 and a half weeks and 19 and a half weeks, anytime between that time. So, during this time, there’s a huge shift in sleep. Aaby goes from having two stages of sleep to having many more in their cycle. One of which is called light sleep and light sleep is, everyone has it. So you can think of times when you’ve been in it now light sleep, it actually can look like we’re awake. We can be drowsy, kind of tired, half asleep. It’s the sleep where you’re sitting on the couch and you kind of close your eyes in your wake and then suddenly like you’ve jolted yourself. Like that’s light sleep.
And what happens is if there is any help to sleep in that light sleep stage for a baby, they start to remember it. Which can have good and bad things. So if you’re not helping them to sleep, it’s no problem and they’re going to sleep well. But if you are helping them to sleep during that remembering stage, every time they wake up in the middle of the night to link a cycle or almost every time they are going to need, in Laura’s case that human pacifier or the bottle or the rocking or the pacifier or whatever is making it work, right, they’re going to need that every single time they wake, or, or most of those times, maybe not every single time they link a cycle. Um, but generally what you’re probably going to see is a longer stretches of sleep in that first stretch between seven and eight.
And then every waking after being harder and harder to soothe the baby. And there’s a lot of good biology behind that as well. so what happens with that is at dusk, a baby’s four months and older, they start producing Melatonin. So melatonin goes through our bodies. It makes us feel sleepy and tired. We have the ability to fall asleep easier. We can connect sleep cycles easier. Everything’s a lot easier. Then at around, you know, three or four o’clock in the morning, that Melatonin production stops and our stress hormones start rising to get us going for the day. Um, so it’s, you know, these are all good things are the things that help us wake up in the morning and feel alert. So when those start pumping and the Melatonin stops, that’s where we’re going to get harder and harder wakes later on in the night.
Okay. So this is a really good explanation of probably of every single one of your, uh, sleep issues. By the way, I’m sitting on a leather little couch here and if you’re hearing farting noises, I swear as a coach. Um, so yeah, it all comes down to can baby fall asleep by themselves? Um, uh, a huge disclaimer. I should have said this early. Um, these are, you know, obviously their opinions and preferences. Maybe you want to help your baby connect their sleep cycles. Maybe you want to continue co-sleeping I’m totally cool with that. I’m all about sleep for your family. Um, so whatever works for your family. I work at helping people ci achieve independent sleep. So it’s probably where a lot of my slant is going to be. Um, but I’m a judgment free zone. I’m only here to solve problems. If you are enjoying your sleeping arrangements, carry on.
Carry on. Um, yes. So if you are having troubles it achieving independent sleep, you’re going to want to look at how that baby’s falling asleep. Um, are they being rocked? Are they being fed? Are they doing something that makes him too drowsy before they go to sleep? Because that is another super bullshit thing that a lot of, um, sleep books will say is put the baby down drowsy but awake. Well, let me tell you, drowsy but awake actually means that baby is, is half asleep there in light sleep. If you are drowsy or your baby is in drowsy, it’s a decrease in sleep pressure. Not a lot, but it is. And anything getting you to that drowsy or calm state is going to be required every single time to get that baby calm and drowsy to fall asleep again. Um, so unless you’re cool with doing whatever thing that you’re doing, um, every time your baby wants to connect to sleep cycle during the day or during the night or to fall asleep, um, you may want to think about removing that.
So at this kind of answers, the four month sleep regression issue and why really out of all of the regressions, there’s not too many people who come out alive. Um, you know, even me, I think about my daughter, my second daughter. So she was a champion sleeper. Awesome. Like it was a pretty much a pro. By the second time around, she went down awake all the time was a newborn. And even her, she went waking every two hours on the dot, which is normal. Those that, um, that regression is normal, uh, you know, even for the best sleepers. Um, but what really needs to happen is we need to make sure that we’re not over assisting during that time were comforting. We’re being with our children, we’re doing whatever we can to sue them, but not helped asleep. Um, I’m never going to get into too much detail but exact methodology because really that should be suitable for your baby, your situation, your comfort level.
There’s lots of methods. I know all of them. Um, I’m going to suggest the best one based on your profile. Uh, if you ever decide to work with me. Um, but it’s, it’s, um, I’m not really into Internet diagnosing things, but if you are doing this work on your own, find a plan and a methodology that feels really good too. Um, so Laura, I hope that kind of answers your question. I think for most of you, what I would say to you, Laura, is think to how your child falls asleep. What are the steps that need to happen in order for Leo to fall asleep? Um, Desley yo need to be rocked, bounced, fed, all of those things. If the answer is yes, and you know what it is, you’re going to have to remove it. That is the part two, that’s challenging, right? Because when we remove the thing, uh, there’s likely going to be tears and you want to plan of action.
That’s really going to support you and your child through that. And we want it to be respectful. I’m, this is a true Shutta to Janet Lansbury. Um, if you are taking away something from your child, do you want it to be respectful of their emotional needs? Taking away that thing is tough and it’s hard. It’s hard to learn that new skill. I always encourage my parents to do the research and find something that feels right to them. Um, I think that anytime you’re going to take away something from your child that they need to sleep and there’s going to be tears. Uh, you need to feel good about it. Cause Age, you don’t feel good about it. You’re going to put all sorts of bad juju out into the universe and babies feel that, right? So if you’re freaking out and you’re having a stress response, your child is going to have a similar stress response.
If you’re freaking out, they’re freaking out. Especially babies and toddlers and nonverbal children. I mean this is the only way or kids are communicating with us right now is non verbally. They feel our feelings are so connected to our nervous system. Um, so whatever it is, it needs to feel right to you, need, feel like you’re doing the right thing in order to have success. So Laura, I hope that answers your question. I hope that answers a lot of people’s questions about what’s going on with their baby sleep stuff. Um, and I’m going to be referring back to the these concepts all the time. So this is a muscle. Listen, I think, um, and I’m really excited to talk more about all of your crazy sleep stuff. Send me your emails, email me and Amanda at baby’s best sleep.com. I’d love to hear from you.
The weirder the better. Um, we’re also going to have some cool guests. Covey gone. I have a great guest lineup. Um, next week I will be talking about room sharing. This is a really common question I get. I can’t wait to tackle it. Um, I’m also going to link up to my four month sleep regression blog. That is going to give you a little more detail into what I’m talking about, those, those sleep stages. And some of the science behind it. Um, definitely take a look at that. That’ll be my show notes this week. Um, and if you have any time, maybe, you know, three to five minutes, I would love if you can go on iTunes and rate and review me. Um, it makes all the difference guys, and I’m just a small fish in a big old pond. I would love to get two more people, free them of nab jail and get them sleeping again. Okay. That’s all for this week, folks. I can’t wait to talk to you again. Have a good laugh.