Last Updated on May 25, 2023
As your little one is approaching 4 months old, you may have noticed they are finally developing sleep cycles that are more defined—which means you're a step closer to the proper sleep you've been missing! But, as with all things baby-related, this stage can also bring new challenges. So what exactly can one expect with 4-month-old sleep schedules?
As a baby sleep consultant at Luna Leaps, I have created this guide on the ins and outs of the 4-month sleep schedule to provide some insight into this exciting period. While we offer this sample schedule below to guide you through typical nighttime sleep and daytime sleep patterns at this age, remember that each baby is different and adjustments may need to be made.
Contact us for a more personalized sleep schedule that fits your baby!
At last, your 4-month-old is starting to get into a sleep pattern that's really working for you. You're finding they have finally figured out their days and nights and are sleeping longer stretches. Ideally, you can expect a schedule for a 4-month-old to look something like the following:
|Wake up and diaper change
|Playtime and engagement activities
|Wake up and diaper change
|Wake up and diaper change
|Quiet play and gentle stimulation
|Evening feeding and bedtime routine
|Night feedings and diaper changes as needed
Some days your baby might stick to the schedule like clockwork, and other days may seem like they have other plans. This is okay! Adjustments may need to be made depending on changes to baby's routine (I.e. sleep regression, teething, traveling, etc.).
Periods between sleep or naps are often referred to as wake windows. They are the amount of time a baby can go before needing to sleep again. These wake windows are crucial because they act as a rough timeline for when it's time to help your baby wind down for sleep.
Also, when trying to sleep train, these wake windows are your best friend! They help you anticipate when your baby's ready for bed. This makes it easier for both of you to stick to a routine.
For most babies, wake windows will last about 1.5 to 2.5 hours. But remember, every baby is different. So while one might be rubbing their eyes after just an hour, your baby might be all giggles and wiggles for a bit longer.
On a typical day, you might find that your baby needs around 3 naps per day at this age. The first couple of naps could be longer, while the last nap of the day is often just a short snooze to help them make it to bedtime without getting overtired.
It's a delicate balance, though. Too much awake time and too much daytime sleep can both disrupt a nighttime routine and schedule.
If you've noticed your little one taking shorter naps — often called "catnaps", that's totally fine. It's quite common around this age, especially when babies start to experience sleep regression. This is just a sign that your baby's brain is growing and changing.
While sleep regression can temporarily throw off your nap schedule, it's just a phase. Keep an eye on those wake windows, and try not to let those last naps run too late into the evening to avoid disrupting that precious nighttime sleep.
At this stage, most babies are on the brink of nailing their sleep routine, but the key is balancing awake time with their feeding schedule to find that perfect rhythm.
We're here to answer common FAQs parents have about their 4-month-old baby's sleep. From when your little one's developmentally ready to stretch out those naps, to syncing sleep needs with feeding times, we have expert advice to ensure your baby's brain gets the rest it needs.
In a day, your tiny one should ideally be getting about 14 to 15 hours of sleep. This includes both nighttime rest and daytime sleep.
If your little one is getting less sleep than the 'average' but still seems happy and healthy, they might just be setting their own pace. We recommend checking in with your pediatrician should you have any questions about their growth or development in relation to their sleep.
Your baby should be napping around 3 times per day at this age, with the possibility of a 4th catnap in the evening if they need it.
The first two naps are the main ones and are usually longer. Then comes the last nap of the day, which is often a short one. Think of it as a little power boost to keep them going until bedtime. Some babies do need an additional 4th catnap in the evening, though this is very dependent on your baby's needs specifically.
There's a lot of hustle and bustle happening in their little heads, and YES, it's normal for your 4-month-old to wake up during the night. It's all part of their development!
Your 4-month-old's sleep routine is still a work in progress at this age. They're solidifying the difference between night and day, and their wake time is often when they're processing all the new things they're learning.
Remember, this phase is just that—a phase. It'll pass.
Establishing a bedtime routine is like setting the stage for a solid sleep session.
For your 4-month-old, start by dimming the lights and quieting down the house as bedtime approaches. We recommend implementing calming activities into a bedtime routine, such as a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to soothing lullabies.
Remember, your goal is to create a predictable series of steps for your baby. It's not just about them closing their eyes - it's about the gentle journey going there. Whatever you choose, make sure the routine stays consistent each night to create predictability for your little one.
Typically, night sleep becomes more predictable around the 4-month-old sleep mark. This age can be a very good time for you to introduce formal sleep training to your baby.
Around this age, babies are usually able to self-soothe and might not need night feedings anymore. Plus, when they hit about four months, their sleep cycles start getting more regular and their internal clock really starts to kick in.
Sleep aids can be a real help in getting babies to drift off to sleep. For instance, pacifiers aren't just for soothing – they've actually been linked to a lower risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
White Noise mimics the consistent whooshing sounds babies hear in the womb, and often helps to mask other household noises and promotes longer periods of uninterrupted sleep.
With this being said, it's important to remember that leaning too much on these sleep aids can create a bit of a crutch. If babies get too used to them, they might start having a hard time sleeping without them. It's all about finding that balance, so they can get the rest they need without becoming too dependent on these aids.
If your 4-month-old is resisting naps, ask yourself "How many naps are on the docket?". You may find your little one is getting too much daytime sleep and could need to drop a nap, especially if they are taking a 4th catnap in the evening.
Additionally, check that they're adhering to appropriate wake windows. Sometimes it's just about tweaking the routine—maybe pushing back a nap by 15 minutes or so, or ensuring there's enough play and stimulation during awake time to really tire them out.
If it is neither of these things, nap resistance is also common during the 4-month sleep regression. If it is related to a regression, know that things should be back on schedule within a few weeks.
Start it by introducing the crib during nap times, so it becomes a familiar place. This should help to ease the transition of sleeping in their own crib.
Keep the bedtime routine consistent, cuddly, and calming. Gradually, your baby will learn that their crib is a safe space for sleep, just like snuggling with you.
Yes, it's perfectly normal for your 4-month-old to have shorter or inconsistent naps.
One nap might be longer, and another might just be a quick recharge. These little variations in nap time are just part of their development. Naps should get longer and more consistent as they mature.
It's pretty standard for a 4-month-old baby to be a bit of a restless sleeper. So, no, not at all! That wriggling is just them getting comfy or transitioning through sleep cycles. Babies can be very active sleepers!
Yes, this is the reason we founded Luna Leaps. We want to help parents like you understand your little one's sleep routine to set the foundation for healthy sleep habits. If you're finding yourself moving towards a later bedtime more often than you'd like, then it's time to bring in some help from an expert sleep consultant.
Let's tailor a bedtime routine that syncs with your little one's rhythm, ensuring sweet dreams for your baby—and more rest for the entire family. For peaceful days and nights, contact me now!
Hi, I'm the founder of Luna Leaps. As a certified sleep consultant with the Institute of Pediatric Sleep and Parenting, I bring expertise and compassion to helping families establish healthy sleep habits. As a mom of two, including one with special needs, I understand the struggles of sleepless nights and the toll it can take on the whole family. But with a personalized plan tailored to your child's unique needs, we can work together to improve sleep and overall well-being. Let's start this journey towards better sleep together.
Located in Los Angeles, CA and helping families nationwide.