Understand what is happening with your 4 month old baby. There are many shifts in your baby at this age, which contribute to sleep issues and fussiness.
A large percentage of parents find four months old to be a difficult time period. For me, four months old was been a “golden age” for both Brayden and Kaitlyn, but a fussy time for Brinley. I have often wondered why so many parents find four months to be difficult.
I mused over potential reasons in my earlier days of parenting (see 4 month sleep problems ). I have had my theories.
While reading The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Hogg lists many major changes that happen at four months of age (starting on page 33).
Major Changes at 4 Months Old
Hogg talks about how your baby is now more aware of her environment and more interactive. She engages with toys and has a better memory. She is a more efficient eater and nurses or finishes a bottle much faster. She can stay up longer than she could as a newborn.
These are all things I have noticed (though both Brayden and Kaitlyn became much faster nursers around three months old). These are things that make four months really enjoyable for me.
There are other things Hogg talks about that I think can be contributors to common four month problems parents run into:
4 hour Schedule
Your baby might need to move to a four hour schedule and you aren’t realizing it. See four hour schedule tips here.
Early Morning Waking
Hogg says around this age many babies will wake around 5 AM. BW also mentions this. Hogg suggests you not go into the room too fast. Baby might settler herself back to sleep if given the chance. Read my post on 5-6 AM Night Wakings for more on that.
I listed this above, but if your baby needs a longer waketime and you are not recognizing that, you will have sleep problems.
You will also have sleep problems if you see baby needs a longer waketime and add too much.
When adding waketime, add very little at a time until you get to optimal. I personally added only 5 minutes at a time with Kaitlyn. That often was literally all she needed. I wouldn’t do more than 15 minutes at a time, but would actually stick closer to 10 if you think baby needs more than 5 additional minutes.
Because of my success in adding 5 minutes with Kaitlyn, tha is all I added with my other girls, also.
See optimal waketime for guidance on figuring this out. I give full tips on how to find the waketime length as well as averages for waketime lengths.
Dropping the Dreamfeed
This isn’t listed by Hogg, but I thought I would add it. Your baby might be ready to drop the dreamfeed around this age. Often times, if you keep the dreamfeed around and baby doesn’t need it, it can interfere with restful sleep in the night. See: Dropping the “Dream Feed” for more on that.
If you are having difficulties and your baby is close to four months old, look into these possible reasons.
Wonder Weeks and the 19 Week Wonder Week
This is not listed in the Baby Whisperer books, but it is a huge help in understanding 4 month old babies. The 19 week wonder week is another huge reason for sleep issues, grumpiness, fussiness, and other behaviors from your little one at this time. This is a huge time for cognitive change, and the Wonder Weeks book goes into that. Read all about Wonder Week 19 here.