Every mother wants her baby to eat well, sleep well and grow well. So do I. But it doesn’t always work. In different periods, my baby experienced different kinds of sleep regression which made my life in such a mess. What impressed me most is the 5 month sleep regression, it maybe appears in 4-5 months. That was the fist time we experienced the infant sleep regression.

Why baby experiences the sleep regression? Does the baby feel uncomfortable? Is that because my baby is lack of calcium? Is that affected by the teething? How long does the infant sleep regression last? I am sure that many of mothers have the same questions. And also sure that plenty of mothers are suffering from it. How did I survive it and how to improve the quality of the baby’s sleeping?

I will take my experiences to the baby sleep regression as an example and hope that it can make some help to you.


What is Baby Sleep Regression

Baby sleep regression is a common phenomenon in the field of sleep science which means that a baby used to have a continuous and long sleep but now wakes up frequently and not easy to comfort.

The signs of a sleep regression include:

  • fussiness
  • frequent night wakings
  • sleep less than 2 hours at a time
  • changes in appetite
  • couldn’t sleep unless held

Baby sleep regression is very common and will not cause any problems to baby. It is caused by the brain development as well as the development of gross motor.

It is widely believed that sleep regression appears in 4-5 months, 8-10 months, 12 months, 18 months and 24 months which often lasts for 1 to 4 weeks. Though it will not hurt our baby, it will change baby’s habit if parents don’t take any measures to it.

The Reasons Causing 4-5 Month Sleep Regression

1.The Change of Sleeping Mode

The sleeping of new born baby can be divided into two parts: Active sleep, just like adult’s REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and Quiet sleep, just like adult’s NREM(Non-rapid Eye Movement), an equal split of baby’s sleeping. When baby’s 3 months, their NREM (quiet sleep) will develop into deep and light parts. When baby’s 6 months, they will have a mature NREM which means that the deep sleep in NREM will be less and the light sleep will be more.


2.Merged Sleep

A new born baby will stay awaken only for a very short time. They will repeat eating and sleeping every 2-3 hours both day and night. With the growth of the baby, the baby learns to distinguish the day and the night. Also, they will stay awaken for a longer time. Gradually, the baby will sleep for about 3 hours in day and have a long and continuous sleep at night.

If parents continue to get the baby to sleep relying on the old time table, the baby will resist it strongly. Also, the baby with 3-5 months is too young to go to sleep again by himself which needs the adults to help.

3.Cognitive Development

When the baby is about 5 months, he begins to learn about the conception of causality. For example, he will know that the bell rings if he shakes it, or the bed shakes if he kicks it. The baby will find it interesting and keeps trying on it. If the baby knows that having some milk or being held in adult’s arm can make him go to sleep much easier, he will definitely cry for it.

4.The Development of Gross Motor

When the baby is 3-5 months, he begins to know how to turn over himself. They will practice not only in day, but also at night. Sometimes the baby will turn over himself and wake up at night.

How to Survive the 4-5 Month Sleep Regression

1.Do not Feed Easily

The baby in this period wakes up frequently is often because of the brain development or the development of gross motor. Hunger is not always the reason the baby awake. So parents don’t need to feed the baby every time the baby awakes. Too full is not good for baby’s sleeping.

Also, it is important that the parents ensure the baby get enough milk in the day as well as before the baby sleeps at night.

2.Do not Rely on the Milk to Sleep

No matter by bottle-feeding or breastfeeding, mother should not rely on the milk to let the baby go to sleep. Mother should help the baby sleep independently but not relying on the milk. Sleeping independently can also solve many sleeping problems in the future.

3.Build up the Circle of Eat-Play-Sleep

Parents should spend more time on their baby. After feeding the baby, parents should play with their baby for a while. Playing is good for the baby’s development. It can not only discharge the baby, but also improve the relationship between baby and parents. Most importantly, it’s easier to fall asleep when baby feels tired.

4.Do not Wait to Get Baby Sleep until Too Sleepy

Parents should pay attention to the baby’s sleepy signs, including yawn, rubbing eyes, glazed eyes, biting heavily, shaking head and screaming. Once parents find the sleepy signs from the baby, they should let the baby sleep as soon as possible.


For the 4-5 month sleep regression, there is no any shortcut. What parents can do is to accompany the baby patiently until the baby get used to this change and learn to overcome it.

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  1. Play or pray? Cause for now I’m praying for it to not happen!
    We’re just after sleep training with this amazing method: HWL from How to teach a baby to fall sleep alone from this site: http://parental-love.com/shop/baby-sleep-training and I think I might got obsessed with the Regression topic now. I cannot see the sign, method worked perfectly (in just 3nights!) but I am so soooo worried… So thanks a lot for those tips if it is happening any time soon!


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